Relatively and undeservedly unknown, the Mystery Jets have contributed to the indie genre from the shadows since 2003. The band have released six studio albums; the most recent and arguably the best being Curve of the Earth, with psychedelic rock influences such as Pink Floyd and Tame Impala. With a galactic, almost alien sound, coupled with the impressive lights display, the performance at the O2 Academy was literally out of this world.
The first supporting act, HOO HA’s, was a very interesting addition. Combining Britpop and blues, their ‘freak-rock’ was somewhat reminiscent of Blur, maybe if Blur hadn’t slept or shaved in a few days, smoked like a chimney and drank whiskey from dirty glasses. I had seen the lead vocalist, Jamie Handover, drinking a beer or two outside the venue maybe an hour before the gig, and judging by his Ian Curtis-esque dancing and yelling down the mic, maybe he’d had a few more since that time. Still, a rousing performance that warmed the audience up. It was only a shame the alcohol was so expensive; I would’ve joined him.
The Big Moon was up next. After being greeted by, “you all look fit”, I can safely say I remain unbiased. Straight away, their energetic appearance lifted up the spirits of the audience after the first somewhat sombre performance. They had a riff-heavy, harmonious sound, and a stage presence of pure electricity, dancing with each other in complete sync, guitars in hand, between choruses. With songs such as Cupid, which started softly but quickly exploded into a cacophony of instruments, all fighting for dominance, The Big Moon definitely had the crowd dancing along in no time at all.
Finally, Mystery Jets appeared on a smoky stage, filled with blue and green lights with synthesisers blaring in the background, as if literally emerging by spaceship. Immediately beginning a high-pitched electric guitar riff, followed by Blaine Harrison’s haunting vocals, the band burst into a beautiful performance of Telomere, the first song of their new album. Mystery Jets has the rare quality of sounding even better live, with the surreal lyrics and ethereal noise, full of synthesisers, phasing and solos, running away with your senses and imagination.
After showing off their new style for the rest of the night, the band dipped into their classics from over the years, such as Serotonin and Someone Purer, harkening back to their more indie roots, while throwing in the occasional new song to spice things up. Overall, a very beautiful performance, with underappreciated and pure passion erupting into the audience from start to finish.
The highlight of the night was definitely two very intoxicated fans, who certainly had no issues in remembering, or yelling, for that matter, the lyrics of any song Mystery Jets played. They certainly weren’t shy in cheering their heroes on at any given opportunity. At one point, the bassist, Blaine Harrison, asked the crowd, “Why aren’t you guys in bed? Isn’t it a school night?”. To which, their biggest fans belted “Yeah, but f!@k it!”
F!@k it, indeed.