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Danish darlings Mew returned for a warm welcome at NYC’s Webster Hall on Friday.  While the energy onstage was noticeably more subdued than that of their Music Hall of Williamsburg show in August, the crowd was no less captivated.  The trio of Jonas Bjerre (vocals and guitar), Bo Madsen (guitars, vocals) and Silas Utke Graæ Jørgensen (drums), with the live band including Bastian Juel on bass and Nick Watts on keyboards, thrilled us with an even mix of ethereal, art rock songs from their back catalogue and the new album (with the nearly impossible title), 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.

For the drum-led opener, “Intro/Hymn”, Mew took the stage one member at a time, starting with Silas, and then finally, Jonas, following that up with “Circuitry of the Wolf/Chinaberry Tree” and “Special”, only playing hits ”Am I Wry? No” and “Repeaterbeater” later in the set.  In the first of tonight’s series of surprises (for US audiences anyway), Jonas performed a solo medley of “New Terrain/Nervous/She Came Home For Christmas” on piano, with Silas joining in on drums near the end.  The set also saw the return of a couple of old favorites, “Saviours of Jazz Ballet” and “Apocalypso” as well as the addition of some new ones, “Reprise” and “Silas The Magic Car”.

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As usual, the band were not the most chatty on stage (chalk it up to Danish reserve), but later in the set Jonas attempted to get some laughs, saying that he’d only just realized that New York is also the name of the state, not just the name of the city said twice, “because it’s such a cool city!”, he added.

As always, the band’s visuals featured prominently on many of the songs, with the newest projections including a stunning iceberg backdrop for “Snow Brigade” and an intriguing dancer with an antelope skull for “Hawaii”.

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The last song before the encore, the non-album track “Bamse”, was a quiet keyboard piece (featuring a visual of a talking bear on vocals), with Jonas, Bo and Bastian on backing vocals.  Rather annoyingly, music from Webster Hall’s simultaneously running club night pulsed distractingly throughout this mellow interlude.

For the encore, Mew performed the new “Beach”, leading to the finale, with Bo joking, “The next song we haven’t played in a couple of years, so be gentle to Jonas.”  “Louise Louisa”, featuring a drum solo by Silas, was the unexpected closer (“Comforting Sounds” has long been the standard), and kept the crowd enthralled to the last note.–Teresa Sampson/Photos by Amanda Sullivan