Monday, July 31, 2006
Y'know, I almost missed this one. Last Wednesday I was home after a pretty stressful workday, my mind already dead set on a restful evening, when an email arrived reminding me that the Denton, Texas band Midlake was playing across the river at TT the Bears in Cambridge. I'd heard a couple of their songs, and while I remember liking them, I was too distracted at the time to really dive in. But that last-minute note motivated me to load up some mp3s, read a couple glowing reviews, and arrive just in time for their opening set. And it was magic.
Midlake are the back seat of my parents' car, sunday afternoons in the mid-1970s, driving down long Vermont roads towards the homes of random relatives. Listening to the radio, looking out rolled-up windows as the tops of trees flew by. A little Fleetwood Mac, some Steely Dan, and America. Midlake take these songwriting sensibilities, throw in a dash of Flaming Lips (who they recently toured Europe with), and end up sounding both nostalgic and unique to now all at once. You hear a one of their songs and you know it's no one else making music nowadays. Their just-released second album, "The Trials Of Van Occupanther", is the perfect summer disc, and I haven't stopped listening to it since the show.
Here's their all-too-short set from last Wednesday...
Live at TT the Bears
Monday, July 26th, 2006
01. Balloon Maker
02. Young Bride
03. In This Camp
04. Van Occupanther
05. Some of Them Were Superstituous
08. Head Home
Six of those can be found on the new disc, while the opening song and 'Some of Them Were Superstituous' appear on their 2004 debut, 'Bamnan and Silvercork' (which I'm now compelled to buy immediately).
I've never seen TT's stage so packed with equipment... Midlake's drummer was behind a veritable bunker of musical machines. Four separate keyboard setups (though only one band member played keys exclusively, the rest rotated), multiple guitars, and a projector that backlit the band with homemade visuals and old movie clips. Hard to beat the combination of great songs being played in front of a young Nastassja Kinski.
Fans of the Cold War Kids and Sound Team, who played after Midlake left the stage, will be wondering what I thought of (and more specifically, if I recorded) their sets... and I'm sorry to disappoint you. My indifference towards those bands, the packed room, and the increasing crowd-fueled heat led me outside and back to Allston. I wanted to keep the lingering sounds of Midlake's set in my head, and it was easy to do... listening to the disc on the way home, and editing the recording well into the night. Can't wait until they return to Boston as the headliners they should be, and treat us to a much longer list of songs.
Midlake plays a few more dates with Sound Team and Cold War Kids before hitting Lollapolooza on Friday, and then heading overseas for some festivals...
August 2nd - The Magic Stick, Detroit, MISome Midlake links...
the fine print... If anyone has an issue with this live set being made available, just say the word (email link on left). Recorded with a Sony ECM-719 mic and a Sony MZ-RH10 minidisc, converted to .wav and then edited to 192kbps mp3s. Mp3s are made available for a limited time, and are not reposted once removed.
Lucky me, I'm on vacation this week, and mere moments away from hitting the road to head towards scenic Newport, Rhode Island for a few relaxing days. I'll pick a winner of the DMZ giveaway when I get back, and hopefully be posting a bunch more in the days before I head back to work. Yeah, I know, promises promises.
live in cambridge, ma
on november 14th, 2008
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