posted on February 15, 2010 18:00
Midlake (live in Vicar Street, Dublin)
Review Snapshot: Everything from the way the instruments sounded to the almost perfect set list, it was a night to remember. Vicar Street was the perfect venue for this walking anachronism. Bigger than their previous Dublin venue (the Village) but not so big that it made us feel like strangers to them. Midlake: another act for concert lovers to add to the list of bands who are great live.
The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10
Full Review: The opening act, Texan woman Sarah Jaffe, was the perfect warm-up for the main act. Her tones smooth and inviting, the drums a harsh and exciting contrast. The crowd of mainly students in grungy jumpers was only just beginning to form.
Shortly after her set Midlake ambled on. Unassuming, shy, even awkward, there was a real sense that the crowd’s welcome was unexpected. Their previous Dublin gig drew a much smaller crowd (which guitarist and vocalist Eric Pulidio joked about, saying “I’m glad to see you brought some friends this time”). Vocalist Tim Smith slowly led us into ‘Winter Dies’ from the new album, followed by the whispering opening of ‘Small Mountain’ on flutes. The flutes, in fact, were out in force. Something welcomed with open arms.
The set list included just the right amount from Van Occupanter. Each track however, sounded new. Gone were the gentle intros on bass and snare, enter the screaming, electric guitar and forceful beats of the drum. ‘Bandits’ kicked in with fervor. They had led us down their path and now we were theirs. ‘Young Bride’ followed but then came the highlight ‘Roscoe’. Played with terrifying passion, it was as if they had forgotten we were there. We now felt less like concert-goers and more like the fly-on-the-wall at a personal Midlake jam session-play off, even.
The last song of their main set, ‘Head Home’, was a treat. When they left the stage it was clear the crowd were going nowhere. Their encore was perhaps the most exciting event of the night. Not just because we knew we’d be in for something special, but because for the first time we saw boy-like excitement light up their faces. Playing a delicious and romantic version of ‘Branches’, the band members looked at one another with a smile of contentment.
Lead singer Tim Smith stood back at one point and surveyed his band-mates, proud and in awe. They had not expected a crowd like this in Dublin. Perhaps they feared it would be a repeat of last time. They did not let us down, but we didn’t let them down either.