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Mimas at Smash & Grab, Proud Galleries Camden, 10th Dec 2009

On Thursday 10th December 2009, Mimas unexpectedly got to come to London to perform in between Sparky Deathcap and fellow Danish band Slaraffenland after being invited as a support act to the latter – an opportunity that Mimas were pleased to have been presented with. And great news for fans in expensive and perhaps harder to crack London that had looked like being bypassed this year. 2009 was a year which saw Mimas expand their national reach from beyond the familiar South East to Birmingham to Glasgow on top of a preceding Summer European invasion – a venture that proved so manic that Satan the Mimasmobile died from exhaustion!

Prior to the performance, I managed to catch up with the lads. As always they were in great spirits, optimistic, yet modest. Perhaps a benefit from the Scandinavian Janteloven – an unofficial / informal set of laws which tell you what you must not do including “Don’t think you are special” or “better than us.” Humorously, when I asked Lasse about how the European album sales are going, he was so nonchalant about it that you could be forgiven for thinking that Mimas had already developed into the band members’ sole source of income. Bottom line, Mimas were here to play a gig and they were excited to have the opportunity to play alongside Slaraffenland and at Proud Galleries.

The gig was opened up by one man band Sparky Deathcap, with his guitar and cartoon image projections used as backdrops to accompany his lyrics. Lights remained on, the music and lyrics captured the imagination and attention of the audience, punctuated with a few moments of humour. A pleasant enough set to listen to.

After Sparky’s set was over, Mimas didn’t waste any time getting the stage set up and changing into their new band uniform – purple and yellow hoodies with an image of an heart printed over the left breast area.

But before Mimas got going, they were not backwards in coming forwards to an audience that were cautiously standing mid-way from the stage, beckoning us all to come to the front of the stage. We did so, and the rockin’ was underway!

Having been over a year since last seeing the band play in London across the road at the Barfly, there were two fantastic developments – from the historical viewpoint of an observer wanting to see the band become successful.

The first was that clearly Mimas’ fan base is growing! For the first time ever I was in a crowd where people actually knew and were singing (and shouting) Mimas’ lyrics! Many bands on the circuit do not have fans singing their lyrics, and it may even be hard to tell who the fans are from people simply having a night out. Yet here was a band with an average one or two performances in London a year for the last three years having a contingent of fans singing their lyrics. Quite a change from their first London (and UK) gig to a virtually complete audience of strangers back at the Bull & Gate in 2006 when they played as a quintet in between From the Sky and Prego. Mimas may very well now be successfully carving out their own unique niche amongst an ocean of bands struggling to establish their own sustainable and expanding foothold.

The second development was that clearly with all the gigs that the band have played since the Barfly performance and perhaps being back on familiar territory too, they had clearly become super comfortable with playing their material live; their older repertoire was played with even more energy, vigour and flair than I’d seen them play before. That energy was certainly contagious. At one point even the inflated snowman stage prop ended up getting (ahem) “involved” due to Snaevar’s insistence!

While on the topic of energy, vigour and flair, I did feel that perhaps having both of the strong, energetic and crescendo featuring Mac, Get Your Gear and Dads songs near the front of the set was a missed opportunity. One of them near the front or midpoint of the set would have been okay, but the other – probably Mac would have been better suited as either the last track or penultimate track, to both strengthen the overall feel of the set, and to leave a stronger impression on those unfamiliar with Mimas. While I am unfamiliar with Slaraffenland other than a single visit to their Myspace a while back (and now again post gig), this was a trick they certainly didn’t miss, which certainly helped create a stronger impression on me.

And I suppose I should now say a few words about Slaraffenland. I’m not familiar with how much touring Slaraffenland have done outside Denmark, although a quick scan of their Myspace tells me that the band only played in the UK for the first time last month. This perhaps explains why I did not feel more fan energy and support being sent towards them as the headline act – they haven’t been around here to establish a direct connection with a UK audience. This may also mean the band were unsure how to behave, as they also seemed to have a reserved, yet professional playing style. Or perhaps this is how they usually play.

Visually, Slaraffenland also wore uniforms – different coloured T-shirts with a chest vertebrae design on them, and flowery vine-like props were wrapped around the microphone stands and equipment. (The latter reminded me of Mimas’ days as a quintet when their stage prop was a candelabra.) The band’s twins also stood out from the rest of the band by accessorising themselves, with one wearing a fitness headband, and the other a bowler hat. If wanting to make it easy to distinguish between the two played a part in that, it more than worked; I had no idea they were twins until Jeppe cracked a joke at their expense!

Of the material, Slaraffenland employ some interesting segments to their songs. I noticed a few songs where one minute Jeppe would be singing, and the next, the percussions would take over as Jeppe retires to the back of the stage to become a second percussionist. There were also some synchronous singing elements. The band’s use of drums also at times seemed to add a subtle tribal kind of sound to the music, which was interesting. Overall I found myself subtly entranced at times, albeit more receptive and enthusiastic during the later songs of the set.

Back to the act I was there to support, it was great to see Mimas again playing a great set that they clealy enjoyed playing, the fans clearly enjoyed playing a part in, and I’m hoping for their efforts, that Mimas gain some serious momentum and traction in 2010!

Mimas’ setlist (not necessarily in exact order):

  • Touring the Riot Scene
  • Mac, get your gear
  • Dads
  • SMOM
  • Soda Pop Stalkers
  • (New song, didn’t catch name)
  • Cats on Fire

And this post’s random vid is – oh look, it’s Mimas playing during the Reading Rapturefest earlier this year! There’s Sodapop Stalkers, Mac, Get Your Gear, and Dads.

If you want more, visit BeatCast website where you can buy an mp3 audio or iPod format m4v video of the live set, including Cats on Fire and the new song Application for £1.99.