Midlake – Sheffield, 29 June 2010

July 14, 2010

I’ve wanted to see Midlake since I heard The Trials Of Van Occupanther. Now they’re following their Glastonbury performance with three U.K. dates so I’m seizing my chance to see them at The Leadmill despite only arriving back from Italy on the the morning of the show.

What makes the show even more appealing is the appearance as support act of John Grant. He has a CD out, called ‘Queen of Denmark’, that is, even this early in the year, shaping up to be my album of 2010. His songs have great tunes with sardonic lyrics that examine failing relationships. Tonight he performs a thirty minutes set comprising songs from the album. They’re all excellent but the one that sticks in my head is Sigourney Weaver. I’m looking forward to seeing him again and hopefully soon.

Midlake are all I hoped they would be! The seven piece ease themselves into the show, steadily grab hold of the audience and don’t let go until they leave the stage 90 minutes later. An amalgam of many styles, from baroque folk to Americana via Southern Californian soft rock, they’re the first band I remember seeing playing flutes since I saw Jethro Tull in 1971! Tracks played include Van Occupanther, Roscoe and The Courage of Others.

Midlake obviously love playing live and it was well worth the wait to finally see them.

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Supergrass – Manchester, 9 June 2010

July 14, 2010

Of the bands that emerged from Britpop Supergrass were the one who were constantly underrated by a media that regularly praised their no more talented peers. Now they’ve decided to call it a day after 17 years and they are playing a four date farewell tour. Tonight’s show in Manchester is the second.

They have, however, had a stroke of genius. As sales of their recordings appear to have fallen,despite an amazing consistency of quality, they have decided to highlight their albums in reverse order. This means that early in their two-hour set, 2002’s Grace begins a run of terrific tunes that demonstrates their ability to deliver classic singles. The sell out crowd goes mad to Moving, Pumping On Your Stereo and Richard III. They finish with songs from 1995’s I Should Coco, including Lenny Alright and Caught By The Fuzz. The one problem with the show is the way in which they leave the stage between albums, which prevents the show building up momentum. But this is a minor quibble given the great performance and superb material.

So, thanks for the memories Gaz, Danny, Mick and Rob. How long will it take for us to realise what we’ve lost?