OPEN HOUSE FESTIVAL: Midlake
Having recently read a review, entitled ‘Midlake: a beautiful but meandering show‘ I was apprehensive about attending and reviewing this show. Being a casual listener of most of their albums, I had a good idea of the type of music and could appreciate the reviewers concerns with how you transfer the quality of this genre from audio to the live music hall, make it a performance and ultimately gain the crowd appreciation and adoration. I was about to find out if they could pull this off….
Before Midlake took to the stage and as the crowd gathered, support was given from Lyla Foy. Foy, a singer/songwriter with a gentle vocal style singing over a understated guitar was a welcome addition to the bill. Foy’s faint sound allowed the ever growing crowd to gather and converse, mostly about their excitement about the upcoming main act. Foy has a wintery, melancholy, folk sound that the crowd genuinely seemed to appreciate.
Now for the main event. Under a wave of blue light, the almighty hum of the amp and an equally roaring round of applause, the Texan rockers took to the stage. Throughout the first song they presented themselves as silhouettes with the light bellowing out behind them, the crowd enjoyed the splendour of the well constructed vocals. It wasn’t until their second song that they presented their faces to the crowd. Midlake are a band that you would be hard pressed to pigeon hole. They mix lo fi folk rock with more mainstream influences and the result is appealing. To the live act add in a flute and strobe lights and you have an unusual but entrancing display.
The band went half an hour before announcing themselves and welcoming the crowd, however the lack of crowd interaction seemed to suit the style of this band who are clearly, all about the music. When they did announce themselves the crowd listened intently to the musings of lead vocalist, Puildo who went on to discuss the progression of the US in the Football World Cup. The men cheered, women not so much. The banter ended quickly and Puildo went into the back catalogue of songs.
As time passed, the crowd became more relaxed and with the odd shuffle and more taps of the feet, it was clear they were enjoying themselves. At times it seemed like the vocals of Puildo were lost in the sound of all the other instruments but this did nothing to deter the enthusiasm of the crowd. The band stepped it up playing their biggest hit, ‘Roscoe‘ and seemingly not ones for ceremony, powered through to the end.
The only disappointment of the night was when the humble rockers joked and teased the crowd that they were about to cover Radiohead. This didn’t last long and by the beaming faces it was clear that the crowd and band had enjoyed themselves. To the reviewer who called the previous show, ‘meandering‘, a few hundred people disagree with you. Michael Chapman, GiggingNI.com