Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Midlake at Birmingham Town Hall

Wow! I just thought I’d blog briefly about how great Midlake were last night at Birmingham Town Hall. Despite their beardy Americana amiability with their seven man line-up they were a really powerful presence across the stage. The band included five guitarists who between them explored a real diverse range of guitar playing; it was really exciting, as different members took their turn to play solos that were at times like Jimi Hendrix, the next Richard Thompson. But somehow it was never showy, it just seemed to serve the music brilliantly. The rich, textural sound of their folk-rock, for want of a less naff term, seemed to reveal great depths live-I loved it. It was also great to see the flute in rock reclaimed from Jethro Tull! I also found myself reflecting how contemporary the lyrics were. Some may find their pastoral 'getting back to nature' essence a bit sixties or hippy-like, but for me the ideas expressed about seeking different ways of living seemed really relevant in these climate changing times.

The atmosphere was great too. I’ve been to the Town Hall a few times now, and the artists always seem to get a great reception, but Brummies do love their music. If you have chance to see them on the rest of the tour, you must go. And if you haven’t got ‘The Courage of Others’, their new album, or ‘The Trial Of Van Occupanther’, the previous one, well shame on you…

'Branches and Leaves',
oil on canvas, 60 x 120cms, 2010

This new painting above, ‘Branches and Leaves’, was inspired a bit by ‘The Courage of Others’, as I listened to the records themes of the struggles with nature as I worked on it. I wanted to capture a similar air of melancholy and disconnectedness that seems to pervade the music. I'm not sure what I've made with this one, but that feels like a good thing right now...

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