Midlake – “Dawn Has Arrived” (new song - live)
Pairs Well With…Fleet Foxes, The National, ancient ceremonies
Living in Denton, Texas, I must first attempt to forgo my bias for hometown heroes Midlake. After breaking out with the minor hit “Roscoe” in 2006, Midlake followed up with the epic record The Courage of Others. Filled with gothic folk harmonies and sweeping choruses, the whole album was a real revelation for me in 2010 of where this folk rock movement could go. Anyone following the current folk rock landscape could see a lot of the same influences that Midlake has honed over the years, so it’ll be interesting to see what they have in store for 2013. The latest Facebook updates indicate the band is hard at work in the studio, so new songs should dominate the set at SXSW. The best part about Midlake is their feel, one of hypnotic forward vision mixed with traditional folk comfort.
I saw John Grant for the first time last year in Denton, supporting a hometown Midlake show at Hailey’s. The bands surprisingly didn’t collaborate that night, and John Grant’s opening set really didn’t shine compared to the excellent LP Queen of Denmark. I was left a little bored from the sleepy delivery, wishing he lived up to my own expections. I actually caught the bands at Swan Dive to avoid the Deer Tick crowd out back, so I was surprised to be entranced by a really strongs set. The band focused on the same material from Queen of Denmark, but there was that necessary underlying energy with songs the reach a medium tempo at best.
This show really highlighted John Grant’s songwriting ability above all. Pop/Folk gems such as “Sigourney Weaver” and the controversially-titled “Jesus Hates Faggots” were crowd favorites. Midlake completely added to the sound, creating a true band feel. They are a great set of instrumentalists, using a wide range of acoustic and some electric vehicles for their semi-anthemic sound. Hopefully John finds a similar sound for his future projects. After the riotous trip around the crowded connecting venues, it was a wonderfully relaxing set and a highlight of Friday’s day shows.
John Grant w/ Midlake - I Wanna Go To Marz