Live Review

Midlake, Cedar Cultural Centre, Minneapolis

Old-time warmth and security.

Opening for Midlake is John Grand, a simple act of voice, piano, and a couple of songs backed by a mixer. His performance is low-key, blending into one long song, seeming almost impromptu because of the stringing together of nonsensical lyrics in most of his songs. His sombre style fits the drizzle of the evening, performing songs off of his new album, ‘The Queen of Denmark’; though Grand has a lot more potential than he is playing up to in his live performance. His gorgeous and pitch-perfect voice matched with his clean piano playing makes for a powerful combination of musical talent. Unfortunately, his lack of substantial backup for his wonderful attributes leaves him falling a bit flat.

Second opener, Jason Lytle (former Grandaddy frontman), follows suit with a one-dimensional acoustic set. His use of the electric drum machine as his sidekick perhaps is evidence that a band playing behind him would be beneficial. The lack of variation between songs and versatility with his guitar results in a set that creeps along and loses the interest of chatting members of the audience. His lyrical prose is beautiful and would highly benefit from being supported with more dynamic music.

Midlake take the stage, capturing the attention of the audience with popular pieces from their 2006 album, ‘Trials of Van Occupanther’ and recent release, ‘The Courage of Others’. The impressive 7-man band crafts a poignant set, playing ‘Young Bride’, ‘The Horn’, and ‘Roscoe’, all songs that please the audience. They dedicate ‘Fortune’ to their opening acts, serving the audience with the warm, nostalgic sound that their past two albums achieved to create. Midlake’s live performance enhances their songs greatly because of the energy they emit, which cannot always be found on their albums. Their 1970s, Americana sounding style brings to the stage an organic retro feeling that is becoming harder to come by in the modern popularity of electronic music. Whether edging on a medieval sound because of the touches of flute or bringing heavier rock songs to the table, such as, ‘Children of the Ground’, Midlake provide the audience with the sense of old-time warmth and security.

Tags: Midlake, Features

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