Posted at 13:30h
For those Mystery Jets fans amongst us that just couldn’t wait to rock out to some of their catchy-pop-rock tunes, both old and new, Wednesday night’s performance at The Corner Hotel really hit the spot.
After being thoroughly warmed-up by Northeast Party House’s atmospheric synth stylings, smooth vocals and high energy bass lines, the half an hour wait for Mystery Jets was spent getting pushed further and further into the middle of the room as patrons packed in to mark out some dancing room in anticipation of some serious shoulder boppin’.
The Mystery Jets, over-dramatic as usual, eased us into it with the slow starting “Someone Purer”, one of their bigger hits from their latest album, Radlands which got a lot of tripple j play when it came out in May this year. It wasn’t long until they had everyone singing along to the Woah-oh-oh style chorus and mantra “give me rock and roll”. What a great way to start the show!
After a charismatic “hello Melbourne” from frontman Blaine Harrison, whose stage presence definitely isn’t affected by his Spina Bifida, they kicked straight into the catchy title track from their 2010 Album Serotonin, before throwing back to Radlands for “The Hale Bop”. This song really shows off the depth Mystery Jets have acquired in their music since their last album.
Hailing from the poetically named Eel Pie Island in London, a lot of their sound, particularly their earlier albums, owes much to their UK pop rock heritage. It’s impossible to miss The Beatles circa Revolver influence in their sophomore album Twenty One from which hits like “Young Love” and “Two Doors Down” had their birth. Radlands however, was recorded and produced in Austin, Texas and brings a new kind of country, Neil Young vibe to their sound. Songs like “Sister Everett”, which, we were told, comes from lead guitarist William Rees encounter with a missionary who tried to convert him to the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints, were obviously directly influenced by their Midwest US experiences, and their music is the better for it. This song also showed off the Rees’ vocal talents, as a break from the Kooks-esque sounds of Harrison.
Loads of bands out there are trying to sound retro, but it’s rare to find one that actually succeeds in sounding like they could have played in the 80s or 90s (or even 60s). Part of Mystery Jets’ appeal is the constant references to artists who have influenced their music. Every time I listen to them I hear something new, from The Beatles or Bowie, to Elton John or The Carpenters, their music has a depth that gives them a timeless, if ephemeral, appeal.
The highlight of the night was when Blaine announced he would sing us a love song, namely the song “Flakes“, from Twenty One. This was a veritable ballad, and had the crowed chanting along and joining in with a slow iPhone wave (the modern version of holding up a lighter). The chorus is so earnest and the feelings conveyed so transparent that it wasn’t hard to believe that Harrison’s dreams really were falling through his fingers, even though it’s clear they’re just taking off.
The band ‘finished’ after this one, going back to a nostalgic note with the “Lost in Austin” reprieve ‘take me to the end’, but for true fans it was obvious that it wasn’t the end and they came back out to play what is arguably their biggest hit, “Two Doors Down” (‘I think I’m in love with a girl’). This emphasised my only criticism for the night- a slightly disingenuous note, evident in clichés like ‘you’ve been the best crowd of the whole tour’ and their obviously planned encore.
For me, their song “Greatest Hits” summed up the tone of the night. Mystery Jets is the type of music you listen to on a Sunday while making breakfast as a happy reminder of the best times you’ve spent with a person. They delivered what I expected of them – a fast and furious charge of finger snapping merriness full of exuberance, romanticism and a whole lot of British pop rock.
REVIEW BY AL PRICE
PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRANDON JOHN