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Concert Review: Midlake (Denton, 3/13/10)

March 23, 2010

Midlake made an exciting homecoming showing in Denton for the Big NX35 Saturday Show, taking the stage just after Stardeath and White Dwarfs.  Having just released their third studio album, The Courage of Others, four years after the successful and acclaimed The Trials of Van Occupanther (read my review of it here), Midlake were able to make the stop in Denton and seemed thrilled to be playing to a home crowd.

This was my first time seeing Midlake live, and because I really enjoyed Van Occupanther, I looked forward it.  Their short set consisted mainly of songs from The Courage of Others, which is a sort of tribute album to their love of British folk music that attempted to drift away from the space occupied by Van Occupanther.  The songs included “Rulers Ruling All Things” and “Acts of Man,” plus Midlake also brought out a couple of crowd favorites from Van Occupanther.

In “reviewing” the show, again, there is no questioning the quality of Midlake’s musicianship.  With that many instruments on the stage, they tried and succeeded at creating a full, rich, and authentic sound true to their albums.  However, it’s possible that their sound and stage act were a little low-key for a festival audience.  The Courage of Others wasn’t quite as well-received as Van Occupanther, and live, songs from the two albums seemed juxtaposted to hear the differences.  Songs like “Roscoe” and “Head Home” have bounce, energy, and a lyrical quality that other songs from the set seemed to be missing.

Overall, I wouldn’t say I was disappointed with Midlake’s show.  I’m glad I got to see them live and it really was heartwarming to see how excited they were to be playing in Denton.  Plus, I’m always interested in seeing musicians play their instruments really well and Midlake has a unique ability to create a certain atmosphere on stage.  My recommendation is to go see them in a music hall or a smaller stage to get the full effect.

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