Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mystery Jets @ Hi Fi Bar

Taken at the risk of being "that girl taking photos with her iPhone"

"Hey, is that the drummer?" I asked Erin, trying to look nonchalant.
"Yeah, it's the drummer. Over there, the guy - OH SHIT, IT'S ALL OF THEM!"

I don't usually get all squealy star-struck, and I try to make a point of remaining (somewhat?) cool while in the presence of people that I admire/lust after but unfortunately on this particular occasion I could not. Sitting at Three Below with Erin and a couple of her pals, I clutched my Bulmers in an increasingly tightening grip as the members of the Mystery Jets sauntered past us. My mouth gasping like a dying fish, eyes wide, I turned to Erin. "Should we say hi? Oh, SHITthey'regoing. EUUURRHHHGHGHH. SHIT." and so on. And so forth. Until they were out of view. Blaine and Henry Harrison, William Rees, Kai Fish and Kapil Trivedi walked back towards the Hi Fi, where they were to play in about an hours' time, oblivious to the two hyperventilating females left in their wake.

Why suddenly turn into squeaky, freaking-out dudd, something I steadfastly try to avoid? I'm not entirely sure to be honest.

Yours truly.

The last time Mystery Jets were in Australia (the first day of 2009, and a hungover one at that), I was walking to the Hi Fi along Swanston and saw guitarist William having a smoke, standing around ever so stylishly. I wanted to say hi, tell him how much I loved Twenty One, their second album. Unfortunately, I decided that I didn't want to seem a squealy fangirl and decided against it. Flash forward to the fifth day of 2011 and again I kick myself for pussying out. Oh well, win some, lose some. I guess it doesn't help that the members of said band are all incredibly good-looking.

At any rate, The Holidays provided the support. I saw them in 2008 supporting Little Red (I think) and I don't remember being super impressed. Enjoyable but not mind-blowing. We actually missed half of their set on this particular occasion so I can't give a complete report on what it was like but from what I saw it was much the same. Enjoyable, not mind-blowing. Erin had been looking forward to hearing "that bag of bones song!" (their album having been the feature on JJJ, I think that one's got some airplay) but we were too busy having a drink and ogling the various Mystery Jets and missed it. Speaking of ogling and drinking actually, immediately after visiting the bar at the Hi Fi proper, I spotted William and Kai standing near the merch stand watching The Holidays. Erin's pal Sachini immediately offered to ask them for a photo. "Uhhhh..." was my reply, and off she scampered. The resulting photo is hilarious (let's not kid ourselves), with Erin and I sporting nigh-on delirious grins contrasting the boys' significantly less excited expressions. Is it bad that the smile Kai flashed at me as I thanked him for the photo sent me nearly sent me into a conniption? Perhaps. So much for always keeping it cool.


After recovering from the laughter caused by reviewing the photo just taken (as soon as Erin puts it on Fakbok I'll post it up here), I noticed a few things that were already apparent about the night ahead of us. Namely, things that had changed since Mystery Jets '09 (and that's not counting Blaine Harrison's ever-morphing hair). Firstly, the crowd. I've been on this earth twenty-two years, and I like to think that (NYE notwithstanding) I've gotten most of my drunken obnoxious antics out of my system. Unfortunately, the average age of the crowd - or at least, those in the moshular area - was around the 18-year old mark. I tell you, the sheer amount of obnoxious kids was incredible. Now, I'm all for having a great time at a gig but if your hulking frame has a jumper tied around your shoulders and you continually yell "I AM LOSING MY SHIT! I AM LOSING MY SHIT!" whilst flailing around, then frankly you can suck my dick (so to speak). A similarly-aged group of guys were to my right, and didn't spare a single opportunity to take photos of themselves falling over each other wearing oversized glasses adorned with flickering lights. Gooooooooooood. I could go on about the other dudds surrounding me, but I don't want this to turn into a tirade about exactly how much 17- or 18-year-old wannabe hipsters irritate the living snot out of me. Suffice to say, it's quite a bit.

I was lamenting to Dave about the drunken pseudo-hip teens and he dryly remarked, "What a startling coincidence. Drunken teens at a Mystery Jets gig..." but I swear, it wasn't like that last time! Is it because I'm two years older now? No, I think it's more a case of the band having acquired a bit more fame (which is quite good for them) in the past couple of years, and also a result of the sound of the band becoming significantly more electro-y and synth-y of late. That in itself doesn't bother me in the slightest as I like the most recent album, Serotonin just as much (in fact, perhaps more) than their first offering, Making Dens. That's certainly not to say I was raging at the entire crowd throughout the entirety of the gig. Not at all! Anyway.

Obnoxious jocks aside, I was getting more and more excited as the time for Mystery Jet-ing grew closer. Despite the paying out I receive from my more metal-orientated (read: non-indie) pals, I absolutely adore the band. Their tunes are energetic, to me capturing the joy, untapped potential, the adventures and mishaps in love that comes with youth. I won't deny that I have a sentimental attachment to a number of their songs. Twenty One was the soundtrack to a break-up that occurred just before their last tour here. For your future reference, "Behind the Bunhouse" is perfect to yelp/sing while in the midst of heartbroken rage, while "Flakes" is a good choice for more fetal-position sobbing. Of course, it helps that Blaine Harrison's voice is plaintive, full of longing. On the other hand, "Young Love" is the perfect accompaniment to brand-new flirtation. I remember during my days of working at a certain chain record store, dancing gleefully around the store, singing along to "Young Love" not caring about the strange looks I was attracting. After all, at the time I had just snared myself a charming man, and isn't that a reason to dance and sing? But I digress.

The boys opened with "Alice Springs", which happens to be my favourite track on Serotonin. Incidentally, it would have been my choice for first release from the album, as opposed to "Flash a Hungry Smile" but that's totally not the point. The plaintive longing of Harrison's voice that I mentioned before is a wonderful for the album's opener, with the rest of the outfit's "OOOHHHH-OOOOH EEE OOOOH"-ing keeping the song from becoming too lovelorn and instead the vibe of the Hi Fi was one of pure elation.

I was a little disappointed that not a single song from Making Dens was featured during the gig, but at the same time I was definitely bopping and singing along to the vast majority of the songs in their set. Frontman Blain Harrison, despite being confined to a chair due to spina bifida, still manages to rock out rather emphatically. I've already made remarks about how much I adore his voice (which might not be to everyone's taste), and his ever-changing hair but I feel I have to reiterate that he's got a great presence. This though, is at the same time as seeming somewhat quiet and almost shy at times. Reb in love? Probslol.

I didn't have the foresight to put effort into memorising the set-list but highlights included "Hideaway", "Dreaming of Another World", "Serotonin" and certainly "Two Doors Down", the 80s-tastic flail-around-dancing favourite. I was pleasantly surprised when suddenly William put down his guitar and flashed a wonderfully crooked-teeth'd grin, shouting "DO YOU WANT A DANCE, MELBOURNE??!" (yes). They then launched into After Dark, a track by The Count and Sinden featuring the band. William's dancing was endearingly daggy, rather 80s in fact. I have to admit, despite the receding hairline and the crooked teeth, William Rees is incredibly attractive. Then again, I can't ever claim to have conventional taste. Again, I digress.

I could do an extended analysis of exactly how much I enjoyed myself during every song, but that would result in an overly long-winded blog post. And in my opinion, blog posts should be on the more concise side. I will say this however, that my highlights were "After Dark", "Alice Springs", "Young Love" and certainly "Behind the Bunhouse", which swept the crowd into a near-frenzy. Aaaaand, "Flakes", the tune that closed the show. Oh! And "Show Me the Light". William's proven himself to be quite a fine singer, with quite a few songs with him on lead on Serotonin (there was only one on the previous release). I note with interest that it's been his vocal contributions that have been the singles released of late. Anyway, mercifully the twats even mostly ceased twatting about halfway through the show thanks to security turning up to point to them that they were in fact being complete twats. So I (and the rest of the crowd) was free to dance around happily and sing along without fear of having a sweaty seventeen year old falling on us.

In my opinion, a really superb way to kick off 2011. Despite exasperatedly yelling into Erin's ear an expression of my anger at the novelty flashing glasses wearing youths at one point, seeing the Mystery Jets was really a lovely night. I guess even if there's a few dudds in the audience, seeing some of your favourite songs performed really tightly and charismatically by one of your favourite bands is you know, going to end up being a good night out. The band are an incredibly energetic, adorable, group of really fine musicians. Winner. I emerged from the Hi Fi sweaty, exhausted, happy, with ringing ears and a ripped dress. I say that's a pretty good result, wouldn't you? Well played, Mystery Jets.

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