Live: Provinssirock

Seinäjoki, Finland (June 14th, 2013)

It’s been three years since Mew have played in Finland and that happened in June 2010 on the main stage of Provinssirock and that daylight show with partly bad sound was not very good, to be honest. This time they performed in this massive 10,000 capacity (YleX) tent where they also had their 2005 show and which was a big turn for the band’s success in Finland. One could say that they became BIG after that show. In 2013, the whole festival only saw 14,000 people on its first day Friday, and some major acts (most notably the British indie sensation Bastille attracting similar type of audience) clashed with Mew, so I would guess that maybe just 5,000 people showed up and this is not that impressive for the band in this particular Nordic country. The tent seemed pretty crowded at least – when looking back from the front row.

Provinssirock was held for the 35th time in a row, so it sure has a history of great bands playing there, even when the town of Seinäjoki is some four hour drive from the South where capital city Helsinki lies. It had rained quite a bit before the show so festival-goers were not in the warmest of moods, but the first rows showed a lot of dancing still. It was not pushy anywhere, because the tent was not full. The setlist was similar to the one of Hultsfred Festival’s just a day earlier. The whole show’s running time was only 65 minutes and thus being the shortest Mew show on Finnish soil in a decade. Actually the festival had given them an hour only, but Mew played a little overtime. Something you must be careful with at festivals where schedules must be kept.

As they had done during the two nights prior to this, they opened with Making Friends which – according to the band – looks like to be the final title for the song which still has unfinished lyrics. Klassen is not the final title (as you already knew), but the song is also not ready yet. The band promises it to be even bigger and more epic. More epic than what it already is? Awesome. I witnessed a few crying spectators during the finale of Klassen. It’s gonna work so well. Making Friends just two nights earlier was something that needed time to really grow on you, and now I can’t get it out of my head. Usually the best Mew songs are the ones that require tens and tens of listenings before they really open up. Those are the ones with actual staying power.

In between Making Friends, Jonas Bjerre once again said “welcome to our show” and this is what they want to do on this mini-tour. A show relying on their old hits and doing it – apart from flashing lights – without any visual animations. It’s their stripped “farewell” to the old Mew. They even – very commonly – finished with Comforting Sounds. That’s something I don’t expect to happen often once the new album comes out. Bo Madsen jumped on the massive loudspeakers locate close to the stage and the audience, and people loved it. Now… I think the band is about to renew themselves in an unexpected way. At Provinssirock they also had very limited stage time, so no speeches were made in between songs. Just hits after hits – spiced up with a couple of new tracks. Also, there was no time to let people wait for the encores. There was no gap, so let’s call this show “encoreless”.

The sound was very good overall even when the band had technical problems with their own gear and had to use rented equipments that didn’t quite work either. New Terrain apparently didn’t have the bass they wanted, but no-one noticed.

I think
I thought
Maybe you could change me
I know
You and I
Clinging to a bad dream
And in between
The shades on your screen
They come and go
Sometimes they never show

Above are the actual lyrics for Medley’s bit of an unknown song. Little chat with the band revealed that the upcoming album will probably be a little difficult for many, but that it will also contain the “easy” pop songs in the style of Special and Beach. And when is the album coming out? November, the EARLIEST, but the release date may very well jump into Spring 2014. Who knows? Now they have no deadlines as they had with the previous three studio albums. So, let them have all the time in the world. Do not expect a proper Nordic tour for 2013 either. That will happen after the album is out. Producer Michael Beinhorn is returning to Copenhagen studio soon-ish, as Mew have recorded a little over half of the songs at this point. No serious mixing has been done to any of them yet.

I will leave you with a thought: do you think our beloved Bamse the Bear is dead and buried? Finland’s national animal is a bear and they are protected. Still, we couldn’t find him.

Text: Tero Heikkinen
Photos: Dabo De Lira

Provinssirock setlist:
Making Friends / Special / The Zookeeper’s Boy / Snow BrigadeApocalypso / Saviours of Jazz Ballet / Medley (of Koor, The Zookeeper’s Boy and The Seething Rain Weeps For You) / KlassenAm I Wry? No / 156 / Circuitry of the Wolf / Chinaberry Tree / New Terrain (new version) / Comforting Sounds

PS: People with Finnish language skills, read this recent interview with Jonas.

9 thoughts on “Live: Provinssirock”

  1. If they’ve been in the studio since April and have completed over half the songs, they’ll be finished by September won’t they? And there’s a single out in August?

  2. They went to studio in early May. Had about three weeks there and will continue soon. Single (maybe just a promotional thingy) should come out in August, yes, but the album itself is not expected until November or later…

  3. Ah OK, cheers.

    Surprised they say the new album might be “difficult”. The songs they’ve played so far have sounded very straightforward and I remember Bo said in an interview last year that they wanted to make pop songs that’d work well live.

  4. “Single (maybe just a promotional thingy) should come out in August” – Is it possible that the song, in the video, maybe not is the “real” first single, and might not end up on the album?? Since “promotional thingy” ??

  5. They’ve said themselves on mewsite, “the full version will be launched (free of charge) leading up to the first single off our album in the making, later in the summer”, so it’ll be something from the album. I don’t they’d promote sensory spaces so much if it didn’t involve new music fairly soon; their fans would be too disappointed by that.

    Also if they feel they’ll be ready to release something from the new album in August, I doubt the new album will take so much longer after that.

  6. I think we should be happy if the album comes out this year. It’s Mew, they are slow and now with NO deadlies whatsoever, maybe even slower. Nick Watts – personally – predicted February 2014.

  7. On one hand, it would seem weird that the first single comes out in the summer, then the full album only comes out in February, say (that’s like a 6 to 8 month gap)!!!

    On the other hand it makes sense, since they are no longer on a major record label, hence no executives to hurry them to complete the album.

    On this album being “probably be a little difficult for many”, the songs debuted so far doesn’t seem like it. “Klassen”, “Medley” & the song on the Sensory Spaces website sounds so catchy while being ethereal; meaning classic Mew.

    But I think Mew has produced many “difficult” songs before. IMO songs like “Louise Louisa”, “Cartoons & Macrame” & “Jazz Ballet” could be considered “difficult” songs. So i guess the new album will be a mix of “difficult” and catchy songs; meaning classic Mew!! 🙂

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