Live Music + Gig Reviews

Mystery Jets @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London

9 February 2011

Mystery Jets

Mystery Jets

Mystery Jets are a totally different band to the one that emerged on the scene in 2006. Back then they landed the coveted opening act slot on the NME Awards tour, but the metamorphosis from a quirky and slightly ramshackle indie rockers into something far more fully matured that can write sweeping pop songs with big hooks has done them the world of good. This headlining gig in London, another NME Awards show as fate would have it, is another step up in their oh-so-gradual ascent in popularity.

The night starts off though with two support slots of varying styles and also mixed success. Tribes are first on and they overrun (their last song is performed with the house lights on) but their slightly grunge-tinged sound is deep and heavy with basslines rumbling through the building. Fiction are a bit more poppy but they sound like they’re trying too hard to ride the wave of Vampire Weekend‘s success and they’re on for considerably shorter than anticipated; they only play a handful of tunes and then it’s an abrupt finish.

This is the last Mystery Jets show of their current tour and they get on with things in a celebratory fashion; the next 80 minutes or so bring out a carnival atmosphere, with friends randomly joining the group for a spot of impromptu dancing among other shenanigans.

The set mixes material from their most recent albums – Twenty One and Serotonin – shuns their debut Making Dens entirely; not that it matters much, as this astonishingly young and energetic audience were probably too young to have heard it when it was released. Dreaming Of Another World and In Love With Elizabeth blend beautifully. In the middle of the evening is the The Count & Sinden song After Dark, which they featured on, and the mood turns instantly from indie gig to club rave; it ends up being an overwhelmingly euphoric moment.

Following something as upbeat as this is a challenge but such is the flow of their set they remain very watchable. Blaine Harrison doesn’t need to tell the audience to sing along to Two Doors Down – they’re singing along to most of the words of most of the songs anyway – but he still does it, if anything encouraging them to shout louder. The rest of the band also promptly egg on the youthful masses with William Rees utterly charismatic on lead vocals. Both he and Kai Fish go down to the barrier a few times either to allow fans to strum the guitars or just to crowd-surf. There’s even a circle pit involved. It’s fair to say that the people in the stalls are delightfully unhinged.

It’s smiles all round as they wrap up with smiles beaming from their faces. This is an evening of many highs. It seems that Mystery Jets’ rise is unstoppable when they earn such rapturous responses as this.

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