Six years ago, I fell in love with this odd-ball band as I watched them live on-stage surrounded by a bizarre array of instruments (or just dustbin lids), comprising of such a misfit of members including a father and son who all hailed from this 'magical place' called Eel Pie Island. Over the years, I've seen this band time and time again playing a variety of small venues before eventually headlining Offset and Dot to Dot festival to similar sized crowds. And a just a couple of years ago, I last witnessed them playing to a half empty venue in Bristol as they toured in support of their third album - I thought this was it for the band, this is where they'd stay, with the larger venues forever just out of their reach.

Obviously, something has changed for the Mystery Jets, aside from being two members down from the original lineup. Just a week ago they were headlining The Corn Exchange at The Great Escape festival which was so packed I couldn't even get in, and today they are playing a headline show at Brixton Academy just weeks after the release of their fourth album Radlands - how on earth did this happen?

With three superb support bands in tow, the night was set to be a dream line-up for any fan. Brummie band PEACE began the nights proceedings to a fair-sized crowd despite being first on. Backed by some sellotaped peace signs stuck to their kit, this four piece are currently a little hard to define where their genre sits. Debut single 'Follow Baby' has a loose, 90's grunge feel, leaving the crowd in a head-nodding stance, however in contrast to this is the very Foals-esqe 'Bblood', which the band closed their set with. This bouncy little number has the math-guitars and tribal drumming that got the crowd dancing, which certainly left an impact and left the audience in a great mood.


Trying hardest not to be too distracted by the keyboardists amazingly reflective jacket, Theme Park continued the crowds dance-a-thon with their brand of electronic funk and it was evident there were already fans in the audience with girlish screams of 'I LOVE YOU' thrown up from the darkness. Stood neatly all in a line with synchronised walks to and from their microphones, their whole performance was incredibly neat. But with such tight songs as 'Milk', and 'Wax' these little routines just fitted in perfectly with their 80's styled performance, and by the time they closed their set with 'Two Hours' the venue was filling up nicely as more people stepped in to join the sets of dancing fans.


I think I've banged on about my feelings towards Slow Club enough now, regarding how I miss the old format when it was just Charles and Rebecca. Tonight however I saw them in a new light, as the strength of their new band formation really, really shone through in this large venue - just a week or so ago I watched them in room a quarter of the size and it just wasn't working for me due to the lack of intimacy that they once had. But here, new songs such as 'Where I'm Waking' and 'Two Cousins' filled these larger surroundings, though the quieter ones were lost amongst the crowds chatter, and I think the venue was just about large enough to house Rebeccas attitude.


With a beautiful backdrop consisting of a sunrise over a mountain range, it took a while for the crowd to notice as the sun began to slowly animate and rise leading perfectly into the Mystery Jets coming onstage and opening with recent single 'Someone Purer'. Immediately following this, as the band were stringing out an extended intro the audience had already clocked-on and were singing 'Half in Love With Elizabeth' before Blaine had even kicked in the vocals. The entirety of the Academy (a full venue by the way) were leaping around and singing the 'doo doo doo doo' segments with immense joy, and equally insane was the singalong for 'Seratonin'. This is the seventeenth time I've seen this band, and I have never, ever seen such an incredible response as this before. Not ever. I couldn't quite believe my eyes, or ears for that matter.

A run of songs from latest release Radlands got a fantastic response despite only having been out a few weeks, 'Greatest Hits', 'The Hale Bop', and 'Sister Everett' who, as Will told us, was about a very religious woman that the band had met whilst out in Austin recording this album who'd tried to convert the band. There was also a dedication to an ex-member who was stood watching from the audience, and as the crowd started chanting 'Henry! Henry!' in reference to Blaines dad, awkwardly, it turned out they were referring to bassist Kai Fish who left just a week before the release of the latest album. It did feel a little odd to be watching Mystery Jets as a three piece, with the two unfamiliar faces of the session musicians on either side - but at least the achievement of tonight was still at least shared with the missing members.


Personal favourite of mine 'Veiled in Grey', followed by 'Young Love' and 'Two Doors Down' drove the crowd a tad mental, the band really didn't even need to supply their own vocals here as they were almost drowned out from the enthusiastic cries from the audience. But then Mystery Jets declare that for a moment, they want to take it back to where it all started, to how it all began, and the crowd roared with rapturous applause and screams as original member, legend, and Blaines father, Henry Harrison took to the stage. For a moment I dared to dream they might actually play something from their debut Making Dens - something I haven't seen occur since 2009 - but (slightly disappointingly) they chose to end tonights performance with Henry by playing 'Behind the Bunhouse', but time to cue some amazing hoedowns.

As the encore saw 'Alice Springs', 'Flash a Hungry Smile', and that good old tear-jerker 'Flakes', it felt like we'd all witnessed something particularly special tonight. Despite losing another member, the latest album has received a fantastic response and tonights performance has to be one of the Mystery Jets greatest achievement so far. You could say they've been a slow burner, taking years to get to this moment where younger incarnations have released a debut and headlined huge venues within the same breath, but that just makes them ever-the-more deserving of such an accomplishment.






Theme Park





Slow Club