Holy shit did Midlake bring a lot of equipment with them from Texas. We’re talking a Hot Chip-sized spread of keyboards, cords, pedals, and more. Not to mention a screen and movie projector! We were hoping it was to play the M*A*S*H opening montage during Stereogum fave “Roscoe.” No luck.
So Merc was sold out, and the line was long on gate crashers hoping to get a glimpse of their Bamnam bretheren. After spinning that album and their upcoming release The Trials of Van Occupanther, the sonic shift from Flaming Lipsy Yorke-ishness to Fleetwood Mac-fed harmonies is evident and impressive. With the sound of each record best typified in “Balloon Maker” and “Roscoe” respectively, we were shocked to get ‘em as the first two cuts on the night. The guys admitted that after their “hits, the rest of it is all dreary,” and there’s some truth to that. Tim Smith even yawned during “Van Occupanther.” (In fairness, the band drove in from Texas at three in the morning. But still.)
Despite the tunes’ inherent sleepiness, pulsing takes on “Head Home” and “It Covers the Hillsides” had us engaged and willing to forgive a lack of live polish (though more Bamnam tracks would’ve been nice). And when we were drifting, there was always that weird-ass movie to look at.
“It Covers the Hillsides”
“In This Camp”
“Some Of Them Were Superstitious”
“We Gathered In Spring”