not the entrance, actually

Last night I impulsively went to Maxwell’s to see Midlake. I rarely go to concerts at the last minute…by myself…in Hoboken. But all those things had to be done. Besides, it was the last day for me to use my unlimited train ticket to Hoboken. Of course, there was also that nagging feeling in my gut that said “You want to see Midlake”, despite that I still don’t have any of their albums and have based my large interest in them in the handful of songs I’ve found on the Internet. The gut refuses to be ignored.

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stage and bar

I hadn’t been to Maxwell’s before (years ago my mum would tell me that it’s a dangerous place and going there would spell my doom…and I think she still has that idea despite that I told her, “I think it’s different now; they have Coldstone and Panera Bread, and I didn’t get mugged”) so I didn’t know how small the performance area was. Well. It’s small. And intimate. There are steps to sit on along one side of the room. I like it.


Midlake started with “Van Occupanther” while an animated movie starring the yellow dude on their album cover played in the background. Odd, but a good odd. The movie for “Bandits” was more straightforward, featuring a bunch of robbers invading a rich guy’s home and then getting beat up, or beating each other up in addition to running through tunnels. You have to see it for yourself though because my description is horrible and makes it sound like a weird action movie when it’s…not.


Clips of period films provided a perfect backdrop to their songs. Don’t ask me how; it just worked. One of my favorites, “Young Bride”, has it’s own movie-like video that adds to the song’s beauty:

It has a slow, natural and graceful feel to it that puts me at ease, as opposed to thinking, “GO FASTER, DAMMIT.” I think the high lilting level of the song gets to me. Enters my brain. Makes it gooey. It’s a nice feeling–you should try it. Tim Smith’s voice gives me the feeling of softly fluffy clouds and Thom Yorke. What does that mean? A happier, softer Thom? Of course, that’s just my opinion and it probably doesn’t make much sense to anyone else. (For instance, if soft fluffy clouds attacked you as a child, you wouldn’t find them very comforting.)

They played for about 45 minutes before clearing the stage of their mountains of equipment for Cold War Kids. I wish they played longer, but there isn’t much you can do about that when you’re first to play out of three bands. Or perhaps I could learn to make time bend to my will. Yes, that’s it. Opening bands I like will play longer and I will convert 4 hours of sleep into 10 hours of sleep.

hand waving time

I didn’t know much about Cold War Kids, but I must’ve been one of the few as the room became more tightly packed and people, especially of the female persuasion, smooshed up front for an optimal view of the craziness going onstage. Quite the opposite of Midlake, the members of CWK spasmed around the small stage as much as they could while putting all their energy into the performance as sweat rolled down their faces (the bassist’s at least; like a leaky faucet, yes!) without missing a beat. While their music isn’t the kind I’d leisurely listen to (the kind being blues/soul/etc kind of rock, correct-me-if-I’m-wrong), they’re fun to watch live and even got me, the kind of person who’s nearly imcapable of coordinating body movements to any kind of meat, moving. Barely. But it still counts.

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They move around a lot, as you can see. Lots of smashing into one another, yet miraculously not resulting in any bodily harm. Like controlled haphazardness. Cool.

I left right before they were going to play their final song and before Sound Team could come on since I wanted to go home and rest for a smidge before repeating the next day’s life processes (and I mainly went for Midlake anyway). For a more detailed account of the Midlake/Cold War Kids experience, read Music Snobbery’s review.