Mystery Jets / Peace @ Norwich Arts Centre, Norwich
Peace flirt with their 'next big thing' tag while Mystery Jets ease their fans into an Americana-tinged new album. It's all in a night's reviewing for Alex Nelson...
It’s two ‘church gigs’ (and indeed, ‘Arts Centre’ gigs) in a row for Mystery Jets as they take in the ever majestic Norwich Arts Centre after a ‘pleasurable’ gig the night before at Cardiff’s Gate Arts Centre.
But before all the commotion of the main band, it’s up to support act Peace to keep us occupied. Taking to the stage in a haze of swirly guitar effects, the Birmingham band treats us to a set of their psych-tinged indie-math. Think Foals but with more delay pedals and the soundscapes of Glasvegas.
During the set, one avid (drunk) fan exclaims to me that ‘"These guys are gonna be big!", before running off down the front to awkwardly fling himself over the barrier in an enthusiastic attempt at one man crowd surfing. Whatever your take on the music, it’s hard to argue with him. The four-piece seem to have all the ingredients it takes to make a ‘dent’ in the music world (I say dent in the ‘record sales’ sense of the word, not the ‘revolutionary music’ sense); group harmonies, tinkly guitar bits you can dance along to played high up the fretboard, and droning squalls of atmospheric guitar noise.
It’s fairly familiar by-numbers stuff (although performed excellently) to the point when we’re left wondering whether some of the songs weren’t actually covers, but it’s in no doubt likely to get a fair few people in a trippy tizz.
Mystery Jets take to the stage in front of a now rabid Arts Centre crowd a little later than planned, and launch straight into new Youtube favourite ‘Someone Purer’, the first song of tonight’s set to be lifted from upcoming album Radlands. It doesn’t quite go off as you might expect (at least until the song’s ‘woah-oah!’ main crux), but it seems the crowd are only saving their energy for the more established songs in the set.
Indeed, the ‘woah-oahs!’ come in thick and fast in typically Mystery Jets fashion for the early part of the set, before the pace is diminished somewhat by a second airing from that new album. It’s obvious the guys have spent some time in America; the tiny American flag hanging languidly from the back of the stage, William Rees’ cowboy attire, the damp squib of a country infused song they play next. Yes, this Americana tinged track sticks out like a sore thumb next to the first half of the set, and we hope the boys haven’t let their recent American excursions go to their head too much.
The first part of the set is closed with ‘Behind The Bunhouse’ - which also closed their 2008 album Twenty One - and it sends the crowd into a skiffling frenzy. Top marks too, for the encore of 'Serotonin' (the title track from their last album), the skronking ‘Alice Springs’ and the breezy whistles stops of ‘Flash A Hungry Smile’.
Mystery Jets’ toe-tapping tuneage lifted the Arts Centre’s congregation to dizzying pogoing heights this evening: some of the newer material might be raising alarm bells with fans right now, but we’re sure that it’s nothing to worry about. Let’s just hope Radlands turns out that way. Rad