A blog on gigs, music, art and London.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Midlake, Rough Trade East, 01/02/10

I was at Rough Trade East last night to see Midlake play an in store gig to promote their new album, 'The Courage Of Others'. I had arrived (unnecessarily) early in the morning to buy the album and collect a wristband.

They started with (I think) 'Winter Dies', a track from the new album which perfectly illustrated their widescreen, melancholy-tinged, layered guitar sound. Seven band members squeezed on stage with four of them playing guitars, which did result in a fairly dense, guitar-heavy sound, which overpowered the vocals initially. They played more from the new album, including the soaring album opener 'Acts Of Men'.

'Roscoe' came next, before they played 'Rulers, Ruling All Things', one of the highlights from the new album and a subtle, beautifully introspective song which unfurls itself slowly in understated style. They closed with a version of 'Head Home', arguably their best song and one of my favourites of the past 5 years. It was a capable version with flutes featuring more prominently than on record, and even replacing the guitar/keyboard riff which did rob it a little of its melodic power. For me, their recorded albums are definitely their main strength and occasionally their live shows can suffer in comparison to this. The pristine, note-pefrect harmonies and lush production of their albums can sometimes make their live shows seem a little unpolished I think. I remember thinking similar thoughts after seeing them play Shepherd's Bush Empire in April 2007. I don't know, that could be slightly harsh. It was still an enjoyable gig and they are a special band, and a band that definitely stand apart from their contemporaries. I get the impression 2010 could see them grow in size and popularity. I have a ticket to see them at Shepherd's Bush Empire again in a few weeks and I notice they have just announced a show for the Roundhouse in November.....

Outside Rough Trade East after the gig....

No comments: