Singapore fans were treated to a heartfelt yet raucous hour of the Mystery Jets’ music in the first pitstop of their’ inaugural world tour to promote their latest album Radlands.

Hailing from Twickenham, London, the Mystery Jets debuted in 2005 through The Eel Pie Island EP, named after the island they recorded and performed on. In the same vein as English indie rock/folk pop acts Laura Marling and The Kooks (having debuted alongside them on television), they went on to release the notable Serotonin (2010) and Radlands (2012), albums from which they played the most songs that night.

At around 10:40 pm, the Mystery Jets bounced onstage at the Hard Rock Café on Sept 14 to cheers from an eager throng of around sixty stylishly dressed teenagers and 20-somethings.

The set kicked off with the haunting “Someone Purer”, a song off their latest album. Frontman Blaine Harrison alternated between guitar and keyboards throughout the performance, leading the audience into a trance with the vulnerability of his voice.

Harrison's candidness was refreshing; the frontman of the Jets spoke freely about the origin of Radlands, its' songs and Singaporean idiosyncrasies. Constantly exulting the audience to sing along and put their hands in the air, he showed his adept musical talent, effortlessly alternating between the guitar and keyboards.

After their second song “Serotonin”, Harrison, who cut a dashing figure in a black buttoned-up outfit, addressed the crowd.

“Hey there, Singapore! It’s great to be back,” he declared. “Did anyone see us back in 2009?” alluding to the previous time the quintet, who have since undergone several line-up changes, had played in Singapore at Zouk 3 years ago, before resuming the set with a slightly sped-up version of “Greatest Hits”.

Then came the melancholic “The Nothing”, which Harrison shared that they‘d only “performed it twice so far on tour, so this is a special occasion.” Although the song was a welcome break in the highly charged atmosphere, the Jets showed no signs of losing their energy.

Before guitarist William Rees led the audience along on “Dreaming Of Another World”, the members joked about who deserved the limelight. But it wasn’t just about personal glory, Rees implored the audience to put their hands in the air if they agreed pedal-player Matt Parks “deserves to be in the spotlight”.

Rees was as cheeky as Harrison was forthright - joking about the latter's issues with the spotlights and being "born ready'", after which he led the audience to sing along for Sister Everett, tambourine in hand.

About halfway through their set, Harrison asked the audience if they were having a good time, and requested for drinks. “We have some Singapore Slings on the stage,” he teased, causing the crowd to cheer at the mention of the local signature cocktail.

The 27-year-old multi-instrumentalist took time to explain the origin of Radlands and their recording stint. “We spent some time in Austin, Texas last year. And this song is about our experiences in modern America… so this is our love letter to Austin!” he declared as the band segued into the wistfully cathartic “Radlands”.

The Jets went back to older, but nonetheless familiar territory during the evening with “Young Love”, which featured an appearance from Brit songstress Laura Marling. Occasionally, bassist Peter Cochrane was seen squinting at the overhead spotlights. The luridly coloured lights ricocheting off the walls also proved an issue for Harrison as he requested for the spotlights to be “chilled out”. As the room suddenly became awash with a solitary purple light, he concurred, “Ah, that’s more like it,” before launching into the heartfelt “Flakes”, which he dedicated to the “people in the room who’re in love”.

Clad in a USA-flag-patterned shirt in relation with the Texan-influenced Radlands, the bassist let his riffs and harmonies do the talking, occasionally making eye-contact with members of the audience.

After the angst-laden “Lost in Austin”, the Jets left the stage. But only for ten minutes before the applause brought them back for an encore, this time they pulled out “Flash A Hungry Smile” from 2010’s Serotonin album, with Rees on vocals. He also took the opportunity to introduce Kapil Trivedi (“behind the drum kit”) and playfully took a jab at Harrison for “complaining too much about the spotlight”.

When the opening notes of “Two Doors Down” were heard, fans were briefly transported back in time to the sharp and pastel-coloured outfits of the 80s period. Along with Harrison’s exultation (“I need you to sing along with us if you know the words!”), “Two Doors Down” proved to be a mainstay for future encores, judging from the crowd’s acquiescence of singing along to every word.

Harrison was certainly appreciative of the audience for their support: “Thank you so much, you’ve been such a great crowd! It’s the first night of our tour, and everyone else has got a lot to live up to, I’ll tell you that,” he said.

Before the last song of the night, Harrison also mentioned what he’d recently learnt about Singapore. “Apparently you guys say ‘la’ after everything,” he said, referencing the local expression Singaporeans use at the end of many sentences. “So this is called Luminescence, la,” he quipped, before launching into the final song of the set.

Fans lamented that the setlist excluded some of their lesser-known gems like “Skinny Jeanne”, “The Ballad of Emmerson Lonestar” and “Half In Love With Elizabeth”. With a clear absence of rockstar theatrics, the band won over their fans with their dedication to their art and timeless material that had the crowd moving to the beat or singing along, regardless of when the songs were released.

“Place your bets on the Mystery Jets,” they said as they left the stage.

We can’t wait to do so a third time.

All photos courtesy of Noel Teo.