"This song's about a marriage. But she doesn't like you, and you're a Viking...that's not funny!" That was one of singer Tim Smith's song introductions at Midlake's Mercury Lounge show last night. Of course, it was funny. But it was also probably true. While Midlake's sound is somewhere between Flaming Lips and Fleetwood Mac (with perhaps a dash of England Dan & John Ford Coley), their lyrics seem to have been transported from some pre-industrial agrarian society. The projections they used were either self-made films with people dressed in period costumes, or clips from movies like Tess.
This was in contrast with the massive ammounts of equipment they hauled from Denton, TX to the Mercury Lounge's stage. There were so many old keyboards, patch-bays, racks of guitars and other stuff up there the band didn't really have much room to move. But they could play. Every member was miked, and the harmonies flowed out dense and beautiful. They played their best-known songs, "Roscoe" and "Young Bride," early in the set but most everyone stayed for the whole thing. My favorite moment was probably the lovely "Head Home" which probably featured Midlake's most spectacular harmonies of the night.
The crowd was enthused and vocal. At one point someone yelled out "Rock 'n' Roll!" to which Smith replied "Not really." Which is true. Midlake are soft like a patch of moss, and that's fine by me.
Post script: The show was rife with famous folk of varying degrees of celebrity: That '70s Show's Danny Masterson, Federico Castelluccio (he was Furio on The Sopranos, who Carmella almost had an affair with) and, uh, Kyle Howard being the most notable.
Bloggers were there too: Village Indian (who took loads of photos but hasn't posted them yet from what I can tell), and more I'm sure. Then again, maybe everyone was at NorthSix seeing Beruit.
Photo swiped from cahlee's Flickr photostream.