After a two-year absence, dynamic Danish trio Mew returned to the stage in New York at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg on Monday for a stellar performance.

Lead singer Jonas Bjerre warmed up the crowd, saying, “We always get a little extra nervous when it’s New York for some reason, but uh, it feels really wonderful to be back.”  The band’s return to New York was a sold-out show, packed with adoring fans who sang along to most of the set.

Mew opened with new song, “New Terrain”, and, as a novel twist for the show, added an intro featuring Silas on keyboards and Bo on bongos.  Their long awaited fifth album with the long-winded title (only the third to be released in the U.S.), No More Stories Are Told Today I’m Sorry They Washed Away No More Stories The World Is Grey I’m Tired Let’s Wash Away has just hit shops this month.

The band’s buoyant energy definitely carried over to the audience, while the Music Hall seemed well suited for Mew’s lush arrangements and big sound.  Though a departure from previous material, the new songs continue the band’s own signature blend of progressive, ethereal, indie-rock, with beautiful melodies and a tight rhythm.

Included in the set were more new songs: the very danceable, hard-driving “Repeaterbeater” and the funky “Introducing Palace Players”, both of which had already been played live during their recent European tour.  Before the more melodramatic “Hawaii”, Bjerre announces, “The next song is a world premiere,” and that they were playing it live for the first time tonight.


Guitarist Bo Madsen mentions afterwards, “That went pretty well, actually!”  Otherwise, there wasn’t much banter between songs.

The audience was also treated with old favorites “Circuitry of the Wolf / Chinaberry Tree”, which until this tour had long been the show openers.  Crowd favorites “Special” and “Am I Wry? No” had everyone dancing away.  Known to periodically vary arrangements in their live set, Mew did not disappoint this time either, and the version of “156” they performed here was one of the best yet.

As always, Mew’s own surreal video installations were the backdrop for many of the songs.  Back were the violin-playing cats and other cutesy creatures, and there were new videos, including footage of the youth choir and 89-year-old woman whose vocals appear on “Sometimes Life Isn’t Easy”.

Mew closed the show with the climatic ending of another old favorite, “Comforting Sounds”, which started with Madsen’s guitar solo and then had each band member returning to the stage one by one as their parts came in.

With New York being one of the bands few stops on this mini-U.S. tour, there were fans from as far away as Florida.  Mew will have a few headline shows and several dates supporting Nine Inch Nails in New York, Chicago and some California cities, (Boston was the only other East Coast stop this time around), before returning to Europe for a full headlining tour.

The evening kicked off with a short set from Brooklyn band Violens, whose sound draws on influences as varied as 1960′s pop and psychedelia, 1990′s shoegaze and contemporary indie, with lots of nice harmonies.  They were the perfect opener for an amazing night of music.–Teresa Sampson