I’m a really big fan of all things melodic and reminiscent of the 1960s, and so it should come as no surprise that Midlake is one of my favorite modern bands. Somehow, in the town of Denton, Texas, the five members of Midlake emerged and were to make the world a better and definitely an increasingly melodic place. Their music fulfills like no other with The Trials of Van Occupanther being the kind of album you can put on and absorb like a sponge for days on end. The songs are those you can languish in and that make your chest feel light and heavy at the same time so that you might forget to breathe normally when you’re too busy singing along.
Download: Midlake - "Young Bride"
Wednesday night’s show at Metro proved Midlake can handle the increased audience and larger capacity spaces. Earlier this year on Valentine’s Day, they played Schubas, a fantastic venue though one with a much smaller room size capacity. I’m really happy to see that they’ve gained a larger audience because they are truly a band that has both talent in terms of solid songwriting and can really pull it off in terms of their live set. This most recent show was slightly different because, though they had the backdrop print of the cover from The Trials of Van Occupanther, they didn’t use visuals while playing. In some ways, I found it easier to concentrate on the band and the music specifically even though I think it would have worked out fine had they brought the films.
Both times I have seen them, their playing has been on par with the excellent songs on their records and, though they have concentrated on their most recent release, they have also played a couple of older songs, “Balloon Maker” from 2004’s Bamnam and Silvercork for example. Setlist highlights from Van Occupanther included “Roscoe” (which I never tire of hearing), “Head Home,” and “Young Bride.” In addition, they played a new song on Wednesday night that they hadn’t played in Chicago before, entitled “Children of the Grounds,” which has really whetted my appetite for another full length. It’s always astonishing to me to imagine how a band is able to tour extensively and still create new solid music but I have the feeling these five men live and thrive on the music they create, which is how all of the best bands are: fueled by passion and talent. I’m looking forward to following a long and engaging Midlake career.