For 18 years, Mew has been a band with arena rock tendencies and indie rock workmanship that has uplifted fans all over the world. The much-lauded Danish trio spent six years crafting their previous album +- but surprised fans by releasing Visuals in April, a much quicker two-year turnaround. While Visuals did away with some of the glossy production of their previous album, their desire to create dazzling sights and sounds that convey hope and joy hasn’t gone away. In fact, on the visual front, they were as strong as ever at 9:30 Club.
For all the intimacy of a 9:30 Club show, Mew showcased all the grandiosity of an arena rock show, from the relentless energy to the visuals. As director of the visual accompaniments for the tour, vocalist Jonas Bjerre ensured that their anthemic and cathartic songs were coupled with trippy sequences that were just as unforgettable. It’s hard to listen to many of the songs again without thinking of the trip that Mew crafted to accompany their catchy and larger-than-life songs. They were undeniably strange at times (like the masked and robed figures dancing during the bouncy “Twist Quest”), but ultimately they were a gorgeous sight to behold, especially on “Nothingness and No Regrets.” Bjerre’s vocals conveyed just as much joy as they ever have, and as the band tore into the song’s anthemic highs, the crowd was taken through an arresting whirlwind ride through a colorful forest as rays of light shimmered throughout the club. With an album title like Visuals, the expectations for the live show were high. But when the back-and-forth energy of guitarist Mads Wegner and bassist Johan Wolhert was combined with the dreamy falsettos and artistic mind of Johan Bjerre, the performance became a triumphant show of force for the long-standing trio. Visuals is out now through Play It Again Sam.
Opening for Mew was Chicago-based MONAKR, a synth-pop trio that not only laid out their pop tendencies bare with soaring vocals and a strong presence, but they also gave their influences a shout-out with a haunting cover of Massive Attack’s “Teardrop.” Their latest release is the single “Ophelia,” out now through CandyShop Recordings.