After a two-year break Mystery Jets are back to promote their hotly anticipated, Erol Alkan produced second album. With cavernous rooms and dingy unisex toilets, Electrowerkz is a bizarre hybrid of youth club and torture chamber. Something of a derelict warehouse, it seems an unusual venue for Eel Pie Island’s young charmers.
Lights dip on the tiny sweat-filled space. Masonic-like chants of “Zootime” slowly build from the crowd, coming to an abrupt halt as Blaine Harrison emerges, the lights silhouetting his electrified hair. Once a five-piece, the Mystery Jets’ most distinctive member and father to Blaine, Henry Harrison, has now sadly departed from the band. Despite his choice to leave, he can be seen supportively cheering right at the front.
The newly-reduced quartet parade through treats from the forthcoming second album including the beautiful Flakes, which demonstrates they’ve not lost what made them special. They still possess that eccentric charm that enables them to live up to their hype with ease. The crowd roar as Blaine requests a welcome for special guest Laura Marling. The elfin-like singer provides a beautiful accompaniment to Kai Fish as he takes his first turn at lead vocals for forthcoming single Young Love.
Despite tonight ultimately being a promotional set for the new album, the crowd are treated to old favourites Purple Prose and Diamonds In The Dark. Comparatively, new track Half In Love With Elizabeth really exhibits Blaine’s distinctive and haunting voice.
Dennis or Agnes? This seems to be the emerging debate among the crowd as Blaine and co brings this rather brief set to a close. All are wrong as neither are the choice. The treat comes in the perfect shape of The Boy Who Ran Away with which the packed room erupts into chanting in favour of yet another old favourite.
Although this is superb, it leaves the crowd wanting more, an appetite that will be satisfied only with the encore. Except that there isn’t one. No encore, no Agnes and no Dennis. This break from predictability could be deemed disappointing, as it seems that tonight is purely about plugging the new album and not necessarily about pleasing the fans after the long wait. As the lights come up, the crowd seem somewhat bewildered that they have not been given quite all that they expected. The loitering crowd wait for their return, but it doesn’t happen.
Yet this disappointment is relatively short-lived, as the set was so charming, in true Mystery Jets fashion, it is difficult to leave without a smile on your face. They may have sold-out on promotion, but they still provide a perfectly formed slice of their own folksy pop-punk.