LIVE: Mineral @ The Underworld, London

By Glen Bushell

The term “Never say never” has never been a truer statement than in recent times. Countless bands over the last few years have come back for reunion shows and tours, some of which seemed almost impossible to fathom ever happening in this life time. One of the biggest shocks came last year when Texan emo band Mineral announced they would be making a comeback, and embarked on a huge US tour after breaking up in 1997 after only a 3-year career back in the mid-nineties. Since the bands demise Mineral have influenced almost every band that carries the emo tag, and even if that genre descriptor was considered a dirty word once upon a time, there is no denying the impact that they had on the scene as it is today. So as Mineral are in the UK for a run of shows for the very first time, you can almost cut the anticipation in the air for tonight’s show in London with a knife.

Due to a combination of Friday night traffic in the nations capital and some horrendous weather conditions, we manage to miss support band Solemn Sun and make it into the venue with about 15 minutes to spare before Mineral take the stage. Given that there was a queue to get in even at that time of the evening, its clear that tonight is all about one thing however. A glance around the room at the crowd, which ranges from bearded gentleman in their late thirties looking to capture some of the nostalgia of yesteryear, doe-eyed couples embracing each other on a pre-valentines day evening out, and kids who were probably born after Mineral were an active band shows how much of a standing this band have. Even eavesdropping a conversation about how one audience member had travelled to 3 shows on the tour already reaffirms that the near 20-year wait for this tour has been a dream come true for most people.

As Mineral launch into ‘Five, Eight, and Ten’ followed by ‘Gloria’ from their iconic album ‘The Power Of Failing’, front man Chris Simpson barely needs to sing, as the adoring crowd are doing most of the work for him. ‘Slower’ sends the Underworld into a frenzy, even leading to an over-zealous stage-diver who clearly lost himself amidst the spectacle of tonight’s performance. The main floor of the venue is crammed from wall to wall by the time ‘February’ and ‘M.D’ are played, with the latter sending shivers down your spine as Simpon’s imperfect vocal start to crack on the higher register.

The set from then on is heavy on the bands second album ‘Endserenading’ which was inevitable given that they broke up shortly after its release, and never had a chance to play the songs live. ‘Aletter’ is simply moving and ‘Walkingtowinter’ borders on heartbreaking, showing that whether Mineral are at their most fragile, or their most dissonant, they can execute their trade perfectly. The band end their main set with ‘If I Could’ which has been a staple emo anthem of the community for years and sounds even more emotional in the flesh, and ‘&Serenading’ which induces a deafening chorus of voices for the touching lament of “The sound of the driving snow that drives me home to you”. There was still some wood left on the fire this evening though, as the band re-emerge for an encore of the serene ‘Lovelettertypewriter’, ‘Palisade’, and of course ‘Parking Lot’ which rounds the set off in perfect fashion.

While there may still be an “emo revival” right now, tonight was proof that they really don’t make them like they used too. Once the remaining dates that are scheduled of the reunion tour are over, the band have no plans for the foreseeable future, meaning that tonight may be the only chance people will get to see them. If that is the case, then tonight was not a disappointment and Mineral were everything we wanted them to be and more.