MisterWives catch up with Atwood Magazine backstage in Houston to discuss the pure joy and escapism of their Don’t Look Down tour – easily the indie pop band’s best show yet!
Stream: “Dagger” – MisterWives
If you’ve been to a MisterWives show or have read any of our pieces about this band, you know they put on one of the best live shows out there.
Every era of the New York City-based indie pop group has been unique and powerful. Yet somehow, they always get better. The Nosebleeds era is no exception. In fact, we would go as far to say this is the best MisterWives era – and the best MisterWives show we’ve seen thus far!
From the production to the chemistry on stage to the crowd hype and interaction, this show – dubbed the Don’t Look Down tour – had absolutely everything you would want and need a live show to have. It’s worth mentioning Natalie Jane opened with pipes for days and the energy to get the crowd ready for not only MisterWives, but the incredibly talented Bishop Briggs as well.
Atwood Magazine had the privilege of sitting down with MisterWives’ lead singer Mandy Lee, drummer Etienne Bowler, bass guitarist William Hehir, guitarist Marc Campbell, and keyboardist and saxophonist Mike Murphy after the show.
Catch up with the band below, and be sure to see them live next time they’re in town – theirs is a show you’ll never forget!
A CONVERSATION WITH MISTERWIVES
Atwood Magazine: When we last spoke, we talked about how when you toured SUPERBLOOM, it almost felt like touring old songs. What has it been like touring Nosebleeds where the songs are still so fresh?
Mandy Lee: We’ve been talking about that this whole tour. It has been our favorite tour ever. The timing was perfect. The album came out in July, which gave people enough time to learn it, but it’s still fresh and exciting. It’s exciting for us too because it’s all new. We’re playing an entirely new set so it’s kind of made us fall in love with the show again. At least for me, it’s been a very inspiring show to play every night; all of the new music and all of the energy that everyone brings.
* * *
We can attest to the energy felt in the room. MisterWives explode onto the stage with the only song that makes sense to start this tour, “Out of Your Mind.” An energized Mandy Lee flies from stage right to left as Hehir and Campbell receive her at either side. Bowler holds down the drums, while Murphy keeps the melodies alive on the keys and saxophone. They set the tone for what is about to be a show the crowd will ever forget.
“Dagger” comes next followed by a medley of “Where Do We Go From Here?” and “rock bottom,” which ends with a punch from Lee singing “never coming back, bitch!” This gives way to a larger than life applause from the crowd. The tone shifts for “All the Same,” the song that calls out Lee’s neighbors who inspired her during the Nosebleeds writing process. Petition to get them on stage together!
Old fan favorite “Why Why Why” comes next as an excited crowd sings along. New fan favorite “Sideways” follows it and the happiness and energy is exuding from the band as they get to perform these new songs.
Atwood Magazine: I’d love to ask each of you what your highlights of the show and even the tour in general have been.
Etienne Bowler: I feel like we’re all going to say the same thing. Murph in the kilt? [everyone laughs]
Marc Campbell: The New York show was really special. And “End of My Rope” is really the most fun part of the set. The second chorus of “End of My Rope” is just wild to see.
* * *
MisterWives perform “End of My Rope” as the penultimate song of the set. Campbell, Hehir, and Lee follow a choreography (created by Lee) that truly transports the crowd. In the second chorus, as Hehir alludes to, they instruct the crowd to get low to the ground as the music softens. As the music gets louder and the anticipation builds, they bring us back up for the best dance party of the show.
* * *
Lee: Yeah, “End of My Rope” is so cool because that song was specifically made for the show. I went into the studio saying I wanted a song that is purely escapism from the darkness of the world. I wanted it to be a reminder of the lightness and what connecting through music does for us. I actually had the idea of everyone getting low while writing the song. Sometimes you have concepts in the studio and then you go and play it and it doesn’t translate. It’s so cool every night that it actually works and is better than we imagined. It’s a wild energy.
Murphy: I also really like “Ultraviolet” that moment at the end when the music cuts and it’s quiet. Everyone is kind of holding their breath. It’s really cool.
* * *
“Ultraviolet” is the show’s most intimate moment, with Lee sitting on the tallest prop of the stage singing her heart out, you can almost hear a pin drop. It’s almost hard to believe her voice is real as it echoes throughout the venue. With three arrows strapped to her back as she sings; visually, this is the representation of Nosebleeds and sonically – it is the vulnerability of it.
The band continues to laugh through a few not-so-favorite moments like Murphy coming out at the wrong part for his iconic saxophone solo and Hehir almost hitting Lee with his guitar. All things that people in the crowd would never notice, but they give way to the chemistry of the band and clearly create memories that are cherished.
* * *
Lee: There are so many highlights. “Trip Around the Sun” is a sneaky one that we weren’t expecting to be such a moment. It makes me emotional every night. It feels like “Chasing This” like that kind of realm, but grown up.
the boys all chime in and agree
The “Trip Around the Sun” moment is followed by an equally special stripped down “Silver Lining.” The riffs Lee pulls off in this song are something you have to hear to believe. Her voice is truly incomparable.
And “Too Late” popped off tonight!
Lee: Yes, “Too Late” was good tonight!
Hehir: It’s crazy that “SUPERBLOOM” feels like an old song now.
Lee: Yeah, that’s what COVID did.
* * *
When “SUPERBLOOM” enters the set, the crowd immediately roars. The band starts slow with a new rendition that has Lee scaling up and down octaves. Everyone is entranced until Lee breaks us out of it, exploding into the energetic rendition we’re familiar with and we all join, dancing and singing along.
While the tone and energy of the show was truly all for the Nosebleeds era, a band that has always been fans first of course takes a moment to thank the fans that have been with them since the beginning. There is nothing disingenuous about their gratitude, which is something that does not go unnoticed. To follow their heartfelt speech, they spring into “Our Own House” and of course, “Reflections.”
We pick back up on tour highlights…
Campbell: How about Will singing?
* * *
Hehir’s shining moment on the mic happens during “Other Side” as Lee makes her way over to him so he can scream the lyric “reenact destruction” in metal-like fashion. The highlight is not only him singing this, but also watching the rest of the band as they try to keep their composure while he does it.
Lee: That actually started as a joke in rehearsal and then we decided we had to keep it in.
It’s the best.
Hehir: I don’t actually know what I’m doing up there.
* * *
We all laugh and collectively agree it is the number one highlight of the show.
Well, maybe it’s tied for first, because the band closes with a powerful “Nosebleeds,” complete with a fearless and blissful Mandy Lee hopping off the stage to sing with the fans right on the barricade.
Lee: Also Pier 17 (in NYC) was a favorite. It’s such an epic backdrop of the skyline and the energy was insane. We’ve been so lucky where like every show has been the time of our lives.
* * *
Bowler, Hehir, Campbell, and Murphy chime in with other cities like Denver, Chicago, and Kansas City that were great, but they all agree that New York was a special one.
As always, it was a pleasure chatting with this group and an honor to get to see the show. The Don’t Look Down Tour is nearing its end, but if you have the opportunity to go see a MisterWives show, you have to take it, because as we’ve said many times before – it’s the best one you’ll ever see.
We’ll continue to follow along with whatever this band decides to do next, because it’s always genuine and amazing.
Stream: “Nosebleeds” – MisterWives
— — — —
© Matty Vogel
:: MisterWives ::