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Indie Stadium Rock ... INCOMING!

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 27, 2007 8:21PM

2007_03_mew.gifChicagoist still has the Mew sticker we were handed outside the Auditorium Theater after one of Radiohead’s epic sets there last June. Now, normally we’d greet this kind of obvious marketing machine swag with a swift hook shot into the nearest trash receptacle, but the stick figure drawings of cats were whimsical, and we were on a post-show high, so into the back pocket went the sticker.

Turns out first impressions for rock bands are just as crucial as first listens. When And the Glass Handed Kites disc from this self-described Danish “pretentious art rock” outfit first crossed Chicagoist’s desk last year, the sticker with the flying stick kitties immediately resurfaced and our mind was decidedly open when we threw that sucker on the stereo.

Mew’s billowing, blustering storm clouds of progressive rock didn’t disappoint on record; this is grandiose, conceptual music with a buzzy, shoegaze vibe that fills the room even over crappy computer speakers. Throw in support from R.E.M., who took the band on their 2005 European tour, and a gushy review of And The Glass Handed Kites on a certain influential online media machine, and you’ve got the makings of a real razzle dazzle.

Has America caught on? Sort of. The band played four noteworthy, dizzying sonic flybys at the recent SXSW debacle in Austin, yet they’ll touch down here tomorrow night at the Double Door – a modest step back from the group’s sell out of Metro last October. The snob in Chicagoist says “all the better,” though, as the sheer power of Bo Madsen’s Radiohead-like guitar etchings and the subtle-to-jet fueled sonic ascent of touring keyboardist Dr. Nick Watts’ ivories will shake that club to the sheetrock.

Thanks, Lizz!