Thursday, September 13, 2007

Interlude: Triangulated

I'm envisioning a polarized next few months: weekends saturated with concerts, and weekdays spent catching up - and sorting through - what happened. There are definitely worse states (and for that matter, cities) to be in, but I will make an attempt to focus on non-concert stuff as well. Anyhow, Saturday was the last of a three-day concert fest, once again at Webster Hall. Onward!

Josh Grant

I'm not very familiar with John Grant, but I've gathered that he's a member of the Czars. John played a short but impassioned set, his strong, melancholic vocals booming through the spacious Hall. He spent half of the set at (Midlake's) piano and, as a sort of yin to Emily Haines' yang, delivering sad songs derived from his experiences and memories. But on the other side, John used a laptop to deliver dark, almost danceable rhythms, complemented again with his voice. There were some Czars fans in the audience, and after this solid set, I'm leaning towards joining their ranks.

MP3: The Czars - I Am The Man
MP3: The Czars - Russian Folk Song
Official Site: The Czars

Dawn Landes

Dawn's set marked the third time I've seen her (here and here), a first for any band. Happily, the experience was anything but routine, as a few additions kept things fresh. Eric Stevenson returned on cello, while Ray Rizzo brought the noise on the drum kit, and both helped out on vocals. A recording of Dawn's wonderful cover of Peter Bjorn and John's "Young Folks" has been floating around recently, and the song was brought to life as the trio traded lines and a flute duplicated the whistling parts. Dawn's original material, with its quirky verses and melodic songwriting, were lovely as always; the dusky "Twilight" and stomp of "Bodyguard" were highlights. I had the pleasure of interviewing Dawn after the show, and you'll be hearing more from her shortly.

MP3: Dawn Landes - Suspicion
MP3: Dawn Landes - Young Folks (PB&J Cover)

MySpace: Dawn Landes
Official Site: Dawn Landes


My first real impression of Texas' Midlake came about a year and a half ago in the form of "Roscoe," a stunning track that showcased the band's talent for sweeping, pastoral soundscapes and yearning vocal harmony. The band played the song early on, but instead of running out of steam afterwards, they seemed to gain momentum with every track. The only hiccup in the set was when one of the keyboards - I was surprised to see one present for each member - wouldn't cooperate, but the problem was eventually fixed. If Texas resembles anything like this band's music, I'll have to shed my liberal bias and visit.

I can't profess to be a huge fan of The Trials of Van Occupanther, but the songs, which are a bit too twangy and sleepy on the album for my tastes, really become something special in their live forms. Moments of the set stick out - the opening violin on "Young Bride," replicated on keyboard, the pastoral romanticism of "Head Home" - but it was really a case of the whole being more than the sum of its parts. Midlake mesmerized me for the entire set, and I'm really looking forward to their next album.

Here's Midlake at T.T. the Bear's in Boston, recorded on July 26th, 2006. Enjoy!

1. Balloon Maker
2. Young Bride
3. In This Camp
4. Van Occupanther
5. Some Of Them Were Superstitious
6. Roscoe
7. Bandits
8. Head Home

MySpace: Midlake
Official Site: Midlake


Ryan of the RSL blog said...

Awesome! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Merci beaucoup.

Thais said...

I was there to see Midlake back in june, and also last week, when they came back to Boston. Check out the videos I posted a couple of weeks ago. Midlake needs no words to describe them.

Justin Mason said...

yay! thanks for this. The chances of Midlake playing Dublin any time soon are pretty remote, unfortunately :(

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