Live! Mystery Jets @ Komedia, Bath 14/10/16
By Paul Slater
Following a three-year hiatus, the Mystery Jets toasted the release of their long-awaited sixth album The Curve of the Earth with a nation-wide tour. Before their curtain dropping gig in Hackney however, they travelled to the intimate Komedia in Bath, an unusual setting for the penultimate gig of a such a long tour, but one that promised a good reception. The Komedia might not be the biggest of venues, but it more than makes up for that with its undeniable charisma. Opening for Jets was Hoo Haas and then The Big Moon, an all-girl indie-rock group who rather deservedly look set to grab a lot of attention this coming year. With new releases Cupid and Sucker already earning the group an ardent following, a debut album in 2017 must surely be in the offing following their string of well received EPs.
The Mystery Jets opened the night’s proceedings rather sombrely with “Telomere” from their new album which is very much a slow burner and hardly one to get a crowd moving. It was a deliberately delicate way of introducing themselves to an audience that in truth they didn’t need to introduce themselves to. They followed this up with “Serotonin” and “Flash a Hungry Smile”, two firm fan favourites from their fourth album. This began a flow of momentum which would continue to grow uninterrupted until the end of the show, including tracks from the new EP The Whole Earth, notoriously difficult to integrate into a set. “Midnight’s Mirror” signals the true start of the show, the warm ups are over, here are the Mystery Jets performing at their absolute best, the artists in their milieu. “Midnight’s Mirror”, arguably the strongest song from the The Curve of the Earth, is a unifier. Mystery Jets are a band that have undergone numerous stages of transition, with fans who enjoy their earlier pop sound and fans who prefer their newer, somewhat more serious music. “Midnight’s Mirror” is a lovely middle ground, with fans of both sounds linking arms and swaying throughout. “My Centurion” followed, a brilliant track from the aforementioned The Whole Earth EP released little over a month ago. This decision was immediately ratified, with every word to the chorus being belted back by an increasingly enthusiastic crowd.
Throughout the gig there was a near perfect blend of old and new material, but done so fluently that the newer music didn’t feel remotely contrived or forced upon the audience. Each song flowed into the next and the opening line to “Half in Love with Elizabeth” earned a near euphoric response. The Mystery Jets have over the past 10 years undoubtedly become masters of their craft, managing to perfect their live performance into what is essentially an improved version of their studio releases. Bombay Blue perhaps best illustrates this. Frontman Blaine Harrison carries the song until the opening chorus which is a breathless crescendo of drums, guitars and vocals. Every aspect of this song was repeated flawlessly, not one member of the band missed a beat. “Candle”, “The End Up” and “Someone Purer” ended the set in the same calm and measured way as it started. Of course that wouldn’t be it though, The Mystery Jets leaving “Two Doors Down” and “Flakes” out of a live performance just wouldn’t do really, would it? They returned to the stage and added polish to what was a fantastic concert with the performance of two fan favourites, a few stage dives and with Blaine bringing his dad and fellow founding member of the band on stage to sing “Flakes”. In closing, the Mystery Jets have undoubtedly matured gracefully in between the release of their last two albums, but they still retain the fun pop sound which made them so appealing to begin with. Whilst they may produce music which is now a touch more on the serious side, they are still and forever will be the same group who created “First to Know”, “It’s Too Late” and “The Hale Bop”.