A milestone gig
Mystery Jets - Live At The O2 Academy, Brixton

A warm Friday evening sees hoards of hipster kids piling into Brixton Academy for Mystery Jets’ headline show. The excitement is palpable. A swarm of twenty-somethings jostle for prime position, unknowingly sloshing their overpriced cider on unsuspecting passers-by. Such anticipation is not limited exclusively to fans, as singer Blaine Harrison states on the band’s website: “Brixton Academy is the show we have been waiting to play… As a band of London boys, the feeling of walking from the wings out onto that stage will be one of euphoria and we will do everything in us to make sure you feel the way we feel.” Tonight, Mystery Jets are committed to the cause.

An epically mountainous landscape provides the backdrop to tonight’s show and as pulsating music hypes the crowd, whipping them further into a frenzy, a beam of light makes the sun appear to set behind said mountains. Finally as the intro reaches its peak, the band takes their places and begin with ‘Radlands’ track ‘Someone Purer’. Gentle picking first fills our ears as Harrison’s voice rings out with an earnestness that the lyrical content deserves. Kapil Trivedi plays a simple drumbeat, which grows in force whilst the audience are propelled in a flurry of movement, bouncing and flailing as the chorus takes hold.

Mystery Jets knock out a string of classics including ‘Half In Love With Elizabeth’ and ‘Serotonin’ and once they have the crowd in the palm of their collective hand, they return to ‘Radlands’ with ‘Greatest Hits’ and ‘Hale Bop’. The songs aren’t as catchy as some of the back catalogue classics and a nearby punter mutters to his friend “It’s not been the same since (2008 album) ‘Twenty One’”. Despite this, the band maintains a fantastic energy throughout and this can be felt in the audience too. It’s impossible not to dance.

‘Sister Everett’ gets a great response. Guitarist, William Rees, sets the song up with the story of a religious woman that the band met on a flight from Austin, whose name became the song’s title. The opening keyboard chords are reminiscent of a church organ, perfectly complimented by the guitar line. The crowd stand with arms held open and aloft in an almost religious fervour.

‘Young Love’ and ‘Two Doors Down’ are predictably fabulous and played exactly as their recordings sound. Mystery Jets aren’t very adventurous when playing live. Anyone hoping for guitar parts to be elaborated and lengthened with the premise of no two live performances being the same will be disappointed. Fans that crave familiarity and enjoy singing each song word for word, on the other hand, will be delighted.

‘Show Me The Light’ is dedicated to an audience member: “a very special person… someone who will always be a Mystery Jet… Kai Fish.” The sentimentality doesn’t stop there as Harrison welcomes a special guest onstage for ‘Behind The Bunhouse’: his father, Henry Harrison. Choosing not to play live these days, Henry’s appearance is a rare honour. He plays tambourine and bops around the stage with such dynamism. One could easily forget the generational gap between him and his band mates.

An encore sees the band hammer through ‘Alice Springs’, ‘Flash A Hungry Smile’ and finally ‘Flakes’, which is met with ecstatic applause and a simultaneous sense of disappointment that it’s all over.

Those lucky enough to be at this milestone gig will agree that they have witnessed something very special, because tonight Mystery Jets have done all that they can to live up to their promise and make us feel the way they feel: euphoric.

Words by Becci Ride

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