Live Review: Mew, Closure In Moscow

12 September 2017 | 1:20 pm | Lewis Isaacs

"Their sound is big enough to fill major arenas, but on the night the relative intimacy of Manning Bar was a luxury for those attending."

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It took almost 20 years for Denmark's Mew to make their first visit to Australia in 2015.

Perhaps realising the error of their earlier ways, two years later the indie outfit returned to bring their stadium sounds to Sydney's Manning Bar.

Melbourne's Closure In Moscow continued their run of shows in support of the Danes, fitting the bill with their technical ability and big sound. The five-piece waltzed through a set littered with songs from First Temple and Pink Lemonade with the tightness they have become renowned for. The band's sound is rooted in prog-rock elements, with quick changes between keys and time signatures, and vocalist Christopher de Cinque proves to be the ultimate foil for his fellow musicians - keeping pace with their movement and lifting the sound when needed. The live show also represented an opportunity to showcase new material in a performance that wasn't broken up by the usual stage banter, save for some talk when one of their guitarists broke a string.

With projections of images from their appropriately named recent album Visuals appearing on a screen behind them, Mew opened their show with In A Better Place from the aforementioned record. The crowd was then treated to Special and The Zookeeper's Boy from fan favourite album And The Glass Handed Kites as a taster to the career-spanning performance.

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Illuminated against the backdrop of galaxies, nebulae, multicoloured fractal patterns and animations of animal heads playing instruments, the live five-piece line-up worked through layered songs like off-beat Introducing Palace Players and Snow Brigade; Jonas Bjerre's falsetto vocals counterbalancing the low-end guitar noodling. Their sound is big enough to fill major arenas, but on the night the relative intimacy of Manning Bar was a luxury for those attending.

After continuing to draw from their catalogue of mid-2000s favourites, including a tense rendition of Apocalypso, Mew closed their initial set with Visuals' finale Carry Me To Safety.

Returning for a four-song encore that included Am I Wry? No and 156 from 2000's Half The World Is Watching Me, Mew reward the crowd with closer Comforting Sounds. It's anthemic, and the perfect way to draw the curtains on the night as Bjerre heads to the front row of the crowd to shake hands with fans in a move that comes off as strikingly honest and grateful.