Saturday, September 29, 2007

"Why aren't you keeping with you, all the ones who really love you?"

On Wednesday, Sept. 12th I went to go see Midlake at Metro. It seems like a lot of good acts go to Metro, so I was excited to check out the place. I arrived a little after doors opened, and as I entered I just knew I was going to like this venue. It reminded me a lot of my beloved 9:30 Club in DC. It’s about the same size, but shaped differently, if that makes sense. They do have a balcony similar to 9:30, which I was really happy about. And so I got comfortable behind the railing…standing right in the center of course.

Midlake is originally from Denton, Texas and the 5 lads all met while they were students at the Univ. of North Texas. Now I am not a Texan, but being from Okla. its close enough. I know rabid college football fans will say that is blasphemous, but really the states are pretty similar. I am proud of my Okie roots, but I love Texas as well. So I always get excited when I find out a band or a member of a band I like is from my area. They are still touring for their album, The Trials of Van Occupanther. I put off buying this album for a while, but once I finally did I was like, “Why did I wait so long? This is awesome!” And many people whether they are into jam bands or 70s rock or indie all agree that this album is fabulous. The melodies, harmonies, and vocal arrangements just make you feel this music. Really feel it. And the songs that tie this album together are amazing. These songs of travel, pioneering, isolation, loss, and love weave together to create a story. So I was interested to see how they could pull it off live.

However, first up was their opening act, Dawn Landes. She is originally from Kentucky (but now lives in New York) and had a large group of family in the crowd.
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I really liked her a lot. It was her with a guitar, a drummer (Ray Rizzo) and cello (Eric Stevenson) doin all the work. Her music was pretty, soft, but she knew when to crank it up a bit. She reminded me of New Buffalo. I absolutely loved her songs “Straight Lines,” and “I Don’t Need No Man.” But the treat was when she did a cover of that great song by Peter, Bjorn, and John, “Young Folks” adding her bluegrass style:

After Dawn left the stage it wasn’t much longer before Midlake appeared. They wasted no time in starting the show. They played pretty much everything off of Van Occupanther including “Young Bride,” “Roscoe,” “In This Camp,” and “Head Home.” They also did some songs off of their first album, Bamnan and Slivercork, like “Balloon Maker.” A treat they gave us is when they did the song they did with the Chemical Brothers, “The Pills Won't Help You Now." It was pretty cool. The even played us a new song they had been working on. I don’t recall if it had a title or not.

Tim Smith
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This was a super fun show in a great venue. Several times during the show Eric Nichelson thanked us for being there and also mentioned that he knew we had other options. While it’s true that on most nights, more than one good show going on, and on this particular night Chicago band Wilco was playing. The tickets for Wilco had actually gone on sale after I purchased my Midlake ticket. I would like to see Wilco live, but I am glad that I didn’t ditch Midlake to do it.

Eric Nichelson
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Paul Alexander
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Eric Pulido
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McKenzie Smith
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“She fell in love with the drummer…”


P.S. I have already posted the video for “Young Bride” in my June 26th entry so I won’t repost it. Instead here is the video for “Head Home”:

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