Mystery Jets - O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire

Over the past two years, February has become my favourite month for gigs as it is when the NME Awards Shows roll into London town. Not only do I get a chance to watch my favourite artists but the supports are generally hyped as the ‘Next Big Thing’ and have turned out to be so in the past. I’ve witnessed Black Kids, Glasvegas (bizarrely supporting The Wombats) and Cage The Elephant to name but a few on previous tours, unfortunately the majority of tonight fails to continue this trend.

Stricken City turn out to be nothing more than a generic female-led indie/dance band that is just becoming a bit too common nowadays for my liking. Amazing Baby must surely have researched irony before they came up with their band name, although they did boast an amazing guitarist who clearly deserved to be in a better band. To put it bluntly, they wheeled out lad rock songs that even The Courteeners would turn down. However the one bright spark came in the delightful and hotly-tipped form of Little Boots, whose 80s influenced dance music certainly cheered me up given the dross beforehand. Unlike certain dance acts, none of their music sounded the same thanks to the rather awesome instrument that use called the Tenori-On, you won’t regret YouTube-ing it, which guaranteed that every track sounded fresh and exciting in its own way.

Luckily I knew that Mystery Jets would be worth wading through whatever NME threw at me, and they definitely cemented my opinion of them being one of the most exciting bands in music today. Coming on stage to the distorted air raid sirens of opening track Hideaway, dressed in what can only be described as hideously sparkly clothes, they raced through a set combining the old with the new and the brand new.

Overcoming some early technical issues with Blaine’s voice being overpowered by the instruments, although that could have been exacerbated by my position next to the speaker stand, the band unleash the big gun with one of the tracks of 2008, Young Love. They even bring on Laura Marling to sing her guest vocals on the track which throws the crowd into delirium the instant she appears from around the stage curtain. It creates a party atmosphere which rarely quietens throughout the set with the band not even having to encourage sing alongs.

Rather than just play live versions of recorded tracks, Mystery Jets utilise some creative license with a lot of the tracks, such as beefing up Flakes to make it sound like an epic rock stadium track, and including a crowd-baiting stop into Hand Me Down. They even feel confident enough to play a new track that Blaine claims to have only once before, and it’s good to see that the band seem intent on carrying on down the dance floor route that served them so well on their second album.

After a combo of tracks from the first album and the second album’s biggest hit, Two Doors Down, with added gentle ribbing from Kai about Blaine’s repeated description of each song as a ‘love song’, the band finish their set with a brilliant version of Behind The Bunhouse which wouldn’t seem out of place in a hoedown. But the band still have one last surprise up their glittery sleeves by bringing out Blaine’s dad, Henry Harrison, for the opening song of the encore. Henry still writes and performs with the band but no longer tours, so his appearance is greeted with football chants of ‘Henry, Henry’ and is all too short for most of the crowd’s liking.

A personal disappointment was the lack of the typical Mystery Jets set closer Zoo Time, but it’s not like Veiled In Grey is a poor substitute by any means. There’s rarely such a thing as a flawless gig, but the Mystery Jets certainly come closer than most bands can ever dream of.

Set List

YOUNG LOVE (w/ Laura Marling)
LADY GREY (new track)
21 (w/ Henry Harrison)

Last updated: 18/04/2018 20:50:59

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