With bawdy maidens in smocks dangling from the rafters waving flagons of ale and the sheer volume of bearded men in the audience, tonight is either a Sealed Knot re-enactment of ‘Now That’s What I Call The Dark Ages’, or a show by Mystery Jets. To the relief of harbingers of taste and decency everywhere, it’s the latter.
Never knowingly outweirded, the five-piece Eel Pie oddities mosey onstage beaming from ear to ear, before raising their arms and smashing into the classical cacophony of ‘The Boy Who Ran Away’, a tale from the Brothers Grimm re-imagined in the wilds of Twickenham. Blaine Harrison takes a cursory glance from under his auburn pre-Raphaelite curls, a chic but bonkers modern-day dandy, bashing his tambourine against his noggin and playing 20 instruments at once. His group’s psychedelic indie is, as ever, underpinned by the stately presence of Henry Harrison, who, wizard-like, gives shout outs to the South Coast massive, and dedicates songs to “the ladies in the front row with the moustaches”. If only all father-and-son combos could share such a rousing hobby.
Chucking away current single ‘You Can’t Fool Me Dennis’ like any band who’ve got far more impressive tricks up their sleeves would, the tune’s jitterbug folk explosion is underpinned with the astute refrain “You can do anything you want to/As long as it makes sense”. Its jollity is beaten only by the airing of new song ‘Inside Four Walls’, bouncy ska-la-la with an epic chorus that sounds like Blaine should be shouting it from a cliff top swathed in a cloak.
After chanting all night for ‘Zoo Time’, it would be unfair of the band not to deliver their animal anthem to the baying crowd, and thankfully these lads aren’t ones to put up a fight. So amid a blur of strobes and dry ice the Jets prog out one last time, but if we’re lucky, they’ll be back very, very soon.