Live: Pumpehuset

Copenhagen, Denmark (November 13th, 2014)

The Danish capital is the city where I’ve seen Mew live the most. Duh!!! Outside my own hometown Helsinki, it’s the Nordic beauty I am most familiar with, yet I still always get lost at some point of the evening. Those top-secret nightly strolls are some of my favourite things… and… Mew is one of my favourite things. So, when you can combine the two, a trip to Copenhagen is always worth it. This time my trip was a bit longer to get there, as I saw four other Mew shows in Finland, Sweden and Norway before the fifth concert (I skipped the Bergen show) that was held at Pumpehuset. It was a bit surprising that Mew would play their hometown in a venue that was probably the tiniest of the whole Winter Tour. Yes, compared to a few I saw just a couple of days prior, it was small with just 600 spectators. But that was the whole point, wasn’t it? The intimacy, the exclusivity.

Some people were expecting this show to be nearly as long as the Helsinki show (the unbreakable record of 123 minutes, it seems), but surprisingly it was nowhere close to that, and since the band didn’t have much stage banter, the 20-song setlist was 100 minutes tops. I didn’t clock the actual length, because I was too busy dancing. I may have also held a beer in my hand. Who knows? The atmosphere was great here, but it’s also the band’s hometown, so it should be. This show was filmed and maybe it will be released on a Special Edition of the upcoming album. Hoping for Blu-ray, because DVD – let’s face it – just ain’t good enough for a band that sounds this good. You need the lossless sound, high definition picture quality and region free coding, so that anyone anywhere in the world can enjoy the content of the disc.

Mew has been goofing around with their setlists a little bit – as was expected. In Stockholm it felt odd that Am I Wry? No and 156 were not played at all, but here it was okay again. You don’t have to play all the hits if you want to include the new ones. Hard to play two-plus-hour sets night after night, I’d imagine. Before this tour, those two aforementioned tracks have been played in every single Mew concert for at least a decade, so it’s fun to have these surprises.

Coffee Break opened the show, as it had been the first number in all shows except in Helsinki (which was the only one without Witness on the setlist, btw). People seemed to have been checking the setlists from previous shows, because the Copenhagen audience didn’t look too surprised about this A Triumph for Man closing track being played. From the same album, I would’ve placed a considerable bet that Panda would be heard at Pumpehuset, but it wasn’t. Saved a few bucks there, but as this show was filmed, I would’ve gladly lost that bet.

In my Helsinki review I mistakenly said that Bo Madsen played the special guitar riff in My Complications (still then known as Russle) differently, but that was not the case. The guitar was just out of tune and in Copenhagen it sounded just like it had in other shows. And do I even have to add that it sounds frickin’ awesome?

Which songs will be the highlights on the filmed recording compared with the And the Glass Handed Kites -era Live in Copenhagen DVD? I think the new version of New Terrain, for sure. It sounded bloody great at Pumpehuset and it is one of the best tracks on No More Stories anyway. They played four songs from that Johan Wohlert-less album here, and material from other records quite evenly, too. Some shows have been more Frengers than others, though. From the upcoming album they played all the songs they could have. Making Friends, as heard last year, is something new now, so they want to keep it hidden until next year. Boy, from even prior to that, makes the album only a little bit (or so I have been told). The proper evolution of a song we’ve only heard with Klassen – now known as Satellites. Mew seems to hint that the first single (probably out in January) will be either Satellites or Witness (which may still not be the final title) and not Waterslides which everyone is singing in their own made up words days after a concert. All good choices for first single.

As Bo already said in Helsinki, they sometimes would like to play something else as the closing song (and they actually have), but if they don’t play Comforting Sounds, people get mad. So it’s a bit of a dilemma with that track. Hey, it’s a good dilemma.

Text: Tero Heikkinen

Setlist: Pumpehuset:
Coffee Break / Witness / Satellites / Snow Brigade / She Spider / White Lips Kissed / Hawaii / New Terrain / Apocalypso / Saviours of Jazz Ballet / Medley / Symmetry / Beach / My Complications / Silas the Magic Car / Waterslides / Cross the River on Your Own —– Special / The Zookeeper’s Boy / Comforting Sounds

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