Image: Sophie Flint Vázquez via The Boar

The Mysterines live review: a band with great potential, but they haven’t fulfilled it – yet

Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton, 14 February 2024

The Mysterines certainly know how to make an entrance. It’s Valentine’s Day in Wolverhampton, and a wash of pink light floods the newly renovated Wulfrun Hall. As the Liverpool four-piece stride on stage, frontwoman Lia Metcalfe throws a dozen pink roses into the audience as hands reach out to grab them. Cheers fill the venue, and without further ado, the band go straight into their first song, ‘The Last Dance’. 

The Mysterines have had quite the year. Since releasing their debut album, Reeling in 2022, the band have then gone on to support Arctic Monkeys on their colossal summer 2023 UK tour. Since then, the band have found a newfound confidence on stage.

Metcalfe eases naturally into the role of a showstopping frontwoman. She also seems to have taken a leaf out of Arctic Monkeys’ frontman Alex Turner, with her mannerisms and facial expressions often mimicking his.

“It’s there for your want, it’s there for you now, it’s there for feeling,” she sings, her voice resounding over a barrage of guitars and drums. Her arms are outstretched to her sides and above her head, her smile coy, as she gently sways from side to side. 

Without the crowd’s energy to bounce off, their performance falls slightly flat

But despite Metcalfe’s charisma, something about the performance doesn’t quite work. On one hand, Metcalfe is magnetic and makes it impossible for you to take her eyes off her. But on the other, The Mysterines’ grungey alt-rock is so guitar-heavy that she is often drowned out by not one, not two, but three, and sometimes even four guitars on stage. Bassist George Favager, while undeniably talented, also often overpowers her. This, while not an issue on their studio recordings, makes their live performance feel disjointed, especially because the rest of the band’s members are so focussed on playing their instruments that there is no time for on-stage interaction. So while Metcalfe holds the band’s visual stage presence, the rest of the band consume her sonically. The result is unfortunately a one-person show with a lot of potential but one that unfortunately falls short. 

The rest of the set has a similar issue. ‘Goodbye Sunshine’ and ‘Dangerous’ follow ‘The Last Dance’, with Metcalfe’s confidence and charm only increasing as the set goes on. ‘Begin Again’, the band’s latest single is played next, and the band’s shy smiles indicate they clearly enjoy being on stage and playing their music live. 

But despite Metcalfe giving it her all and doing her best to warm up the crowd for Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, she is unfortunately only met with sparse cheers and head-bopping, when this is the kind of music that demands headbanging, moshpits, and overall ruckus. It’s by no fault of their own, as warming up a crowd that isn’t yours is no easy feat, but without the crowd’s energy to bounce off, their performance falls slightly flat. 

“This one is out on the 20th of this month,” Metcalfe announces, before the band launch into a roaring, angsty tune. “It’s called ‘Stray’.” It’s another roaring guitar-based track with a powerful chorus. And even though Metcalfe is, once again, drowned out in guitars, her voice still shines through enough for the audience to appreciate the deep allure of her voice.

The Mysterines have a lot of potential, and Metcalfe is clearly built for the role

‘Hung Up’, arguably the band’s most popular song, finishes the set and is met with whoops and cheers of encouragement. This is the point where the rest of the band begin to look more comfortable on stage, with playful glances exchanged between Metcalfe, Favager, and drummer Paul Crilly. But this synchronisation between the members of The Mysterines comes all too late, for once it feels like the band are finally picking up speed, their set comes to an end and their momentum is forced to come to a halt. 

The Mysterines have a lot of potential, and Metcalfe is clearly built for the role, but on this occasion, the band aren’t quite there yet. Maybe it’s because they’re not headlining, maybe it’s because there are too many loud guitars on stage at once, or maybe it’s because the band simply haven’t played enough shows yet, but The Mysterines fail to fulfil their potential as a live, performing, band. But this is a band in their infancy and they have a promising career ahead of them, and with that comes the opportunity to perfect their live shows.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.