Join Riverfront Times Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Concert Review: Midlake Floods the Old Rock House with Old and New Folk Rock, May 15, 2010

Posted By on Sun, May 16, 2010 at 2:47 PM

Jesse Chandler and Tim Smith of Midlake - DANA PLONKA
  • Dana Plonka
  • Jesse Chandler and Tim Smith of Midlake

The weather was Midlakian, if ever weather was. Mist and cloud vapors, a drizzle that came and went, all left the streets around the Old Rock House shining. Midlake, a Denton, Texas rock band, hadn't performed in St. Louis in years, likely not since before its first album Bamnam and Silvercork in 2004. The show this evening wouldn't come close to capacity. Absence, obscurity and self-imposed studio ostracism doesn't always pay off.

But sometimes it does, as the septet's hour and a half long set proved that esoteric, '70s British folk rock, played by a motley band of young jazz dudes, can be as bracing and thrilling as any sound in semi-popular music. Timeless is the word that comes to mind when immersing oneself in Midlake, but only if time begins in 1647 and ends in 1974.

Arrayed six across the front, with only drummer McKenzie Smith and a trio of vintage Vox amps behind (this is British rock, remember), the band churned out an opening mic check jam, with relative newcomer Jesse Chandler testing his flute alongside singer and songwriter Tim Smith, who looked like he'd just wandered in from mountain-top exile, a sunburst Guild guitar glowing around him. The jam segued into "Winter Dies," perhaps the most brooding and strange of all the neo-fatalistic pastoral tone poems found on The Courage of Others, Midlake's 2010 raid on Fairport Convention and Pentangle. The sound was awesome, a rolling thunder of four guitars woven together and tuned meticulously, Paul Alexander's bass locked to the kick drum, and Eric Pulido, standing far apart from Smith, but still doubling and harmonizing evenhandedly with the lead singer.

Tags: ,

Riverfront Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of St. Louis and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep St. Louis' true free press free.

Speaking of Reviews

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 30, 2020

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2020 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation