‘Mystery Jets’ are one of those bands who you kind of worry for in the cut throat world of twenty first century rock n’ roll. Their debut album ‘Making Dens’ was the personification of everything that the mid noughties wave of student friendly indie pop rock that so many since fallen British bands promised so much of and yet delivered so little. Their 2008 sophomore effort ‘Twenty One’ came with bigger tunes and top thirty hit singles. When they returned in 2010 with ‘Serotonin’ ready to build on their earlier success, for some reason in spite of again being critically lauded sales stalled and the band have been quiet ever since.
Tonight instead of playing a large venue like the Academy where you feel a band of Mystery Jets talent and stature belongs they are instead playing the intimately small and thus sold out Brudenell Social Club. The idea of this mini tour (their first for a year and a half) is apparently to get back to their grass roots and to showcase new numbers from their forthcoming record ‘Radlands’ which heralds a new direction for the band.
As winner of Yorkshire/the North East’s Best Small Music Venue by the NME, the Brudenell has a great reputation as Leeds’ premier music venue for gigs of this sort. One half pub and social club the other half a live music stage with a large bar which stretches around both sides of the site. The surprising thing about Brudenell however, is that of the quality of the beer selection they stock and the amazingly cheap prices they sell them for. Each time I come here I raid the fridge for a selection of American craft beer that’s half the price of the city centre. Tonight it’s Odell’s I.P.A. followed by a Brooklyn Lager.
Support comes in the form of the kooky local indie band ‘Just Handshakes Please, We’re British’ whom by the looks of things by the end of their set a few male faces have fallen in love with lead singer Clara whose delivery is reminiscent of alternative Swedish rock darlings ‘The Concretes’.
Blaine Harrison and William Rees seem happy to be back, chatting confidently with the crowd and open with new track ‘Someone Purer’ before treating the grateful audience to old favourites such as ‘Young Love’, ‘Two Doors Down’ and ‘Half In Love With Elizabeth’. Having spent most of the last year in Texas recording their new record the songs thankfully aren’t as radical a departure from their old material as hardcore fans would perhaps have worried. There is certainly an air of growth in the new songs, they’re less urgent and build slower than before, a homemade American flag with the word Radlands embroidered across it which dominates the wall above the stage would surely have scared a few faces tonight that Mystery Jets have ‘gone a bit U2!’ Fans present needn’t have worried however, as in spite of Gram Parsons-esque floral embroidered shirt Blake wears this evening, the uplifting sound they deliver on the few new tracks they offer is rich in the great pop song writing Mystery Jets have always produced. If anything there is perhaps an experimental suggestion of ‘Radiohead’ being an influence. The atmosphere at the Brudenell is great tonight with the returning confidence of one of Britain’s most underrated bands there for all to see. ‘Radlands’ is released on the 30th of April.