The Mysterines came to Hull Social tonight, and I went to see them with my Gig Buddy Kasia. One of several lively small venues in the CIty, The Social is a 300 capacity revamp of FRüIT in Old Town’s Humber street. If your view of Hull is of a run-down northern town, you’re way out of date; facing the beautifully lit Marina, this cosmopolitan regeneration comprises pedestrianised streets festooned with string lighting and lined with fashionable bars and restaurants which spill spilling out onto the stone pavements. It’s lovely. The venue itself is excellent – a modern makeover retaining the legacy of the historic building. Spacious and well-ventilated, it has a generous stage with minimal barriers, putting the musicians right in front of the crowd – just where a band like The Mysterines needs to be.
I’m not sure I could have chosen a better lineup if I was playing fantasy booking agent: one band on the edge of something big, another, Coach Party, who will be next year, and one, Fräulein, starting up with just four songs on the streaming platforms – four REALLY interesting songs. Frankly, I would have paid good money to see any of this lot headline.
Fräulein are a cool minimalist duo – Joni Samuels on vocals and bass and Karsten van der Tol on drums. They make angular bluesy music driven by Kim Deal basslines and expressive drumming. Down By the water evoked Dry-era PJ Harvey and Belly wouldn’t be out of place on Last Splash by The Breeders. A really interesting set, and for two people, they make an agreeable racket. One to watch, for sure.
Something is going on in the Isle of Wight – for years they just had The Bees, but now have not only hottest-band-in-the-world-right-now Wet Leg and arch-minx Lauran Hibberd but also the second support tonight, Coach party.
They play Grungy Pop and while their lyrics are often arch and playful, they have a habit of suddenly veering into righteous fury such as with FLAG (‘When did you become this obsessive freak? Wanna hurt you bad, just like how you hurt me’ ) and Frenetic Closer ‘Cant Talk, Won’t’. They are a whole lot of fun,
I last saw the Mysterines almost two years ago just before the plague shut down venues like this. Even back then they were a thrilling, breakneck ride, still in their teens; but this time they have the obvious confidence of a band on the brink of something big, touring a top ten album with their faces on a billboard in Leicester Square and Radio One play for Dangerous.
All Velvet Underground aesthetic, they swagger on to Venus In Furs dressed in black (of course – they are a ‘dress-in-black’ type of band) – and launch straight into the creeping menace of The Bad Thing (‘Dead boys make no noise’) and lead single In My head – These are strong songs and the band look the part – too cool for school – but two things immediately strike me: Firstly Lia Metcalfe’s Voice is a thing of wonder –the power and range are just astounding. I’ve been searching for comparison and the closest I find is a huskier Bruce Dickinson. Seriously. It’s built to fill Arenas, and next year probably will be doing.
The second thing is how obviously and extremely happy Bassist and co-founder George Favager is to be here. This guy never stops laughing and smiling. He looks like one of those kids bands pick out from the audience to climb on the stage to play the guitar for a once in lifestyle experience. He weaponises his buzz to get the crowd pumped up whenever they flag. You want him to be your friend
Next up, the sinister grunge of Reeling and the glam stomp of Old Friends Die Hard followed by On The Run, Lia channelling Celebrity Skin-era Courtney Love. These songs don’t sound like they were written by teenagers or that they are from a debut album; There’s something timeless about them. Dangerous, a primitively brutal rocker, would fit in the 70s, 90s, or especially now. : “I was riding the fire / I was down on my knees / Before you said that desire / Oh, it’s such a dangerous thing,” This tune hugs you tight and won’t let you go.
Midset, Life’s A Bitch, the album opener and calling card has the whole crowd moshing – It’s a breathless gigantic beast sounding like Therapy? fronted by Joan Jett and probably the best song on a great album. Loved it, especially as it was followed by All These Things, a reflection on a lifetime (yes, I know) of difficult decisions with a chorus built for a festival singalong ‘All these things that I’ve done run on and on, on and on’
Set closer Confession song Reminds me of Nick Cave’s Let Love On – it’s slow, sinister and full of blood and regret. Lia came back on for a solo run through the raw country ballad Still Call You Home before they finished the night with a blistering romp through Hung Up.
Just into their twenties, they are already a tight unit with a knack for writing earworms with the potential to cross over from Radio Six to Radio One. Tonight they played all the album and only the album, a brave
decision that paid off in spades. But I’m hoping for some of the earlier bangers when they play the festivals this summer, and I can’t wait.