Toronto – In our preview of this show, I mentioned my hopes that Midlake would have a flute onstage. As the photo above indicates, they not only utilized the flute on several songs, but even featured two flautists on occasion. Thus I was satisfied with the show. What can I say, I’m a fan of flutes. Jethro Tull totally rules by the way.
Midlake have been compared to Grandaddy in the past and while there are some similarities, they have certainly developed their own sound. If anything, I’d say they sound like Grandaddy would if Jason Lytle was way more into British folk rock acts like Fairport Convention and Pentangle than he was into ELO. Musically, their set consisted mostly of gentle, mid tempo folk rock, but each song had a sort of propulsiveness to it that seemed to demand the audiences attention. And there were a couple of searing guitar solo freakouts thrown in for good measure too. All of the members are ridiculously talented musicians and they seem like pretty likeable guys onstage. Humble too – in response to loud cheering from the crowd, guitarist Eric Pulido responded, “You’re being far too kind to us.”
Speaking of crowd response, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the overexuberant Midlake superfan who anyone near the stage couldn’t help but notice. Standing right up front and getting really stoked from the getgo, this excitable fellow got on my nerves during the first song of the set, “Winter Dies,” when he shouted “MIDLAKE!!!!” at the top of his lungs. Dude, calm down, you are not at a monster truck rally or a Pantera concert. I was worried that he might detract from my enjoyment of the show, but as the set went on, he settled into an acceptable level of enthusiasm.
With their solid musicianship and great songs, Midlake put on a solid set, the highlights being “Roscoe.” “Head Home,” and “Acts of Man.” As they finished, I was left wondering why they were the openers and not the headliners. Apparently a lot of other people agreed with me as the crowd thinned out a bit before Rogue Wave’s headlining slot. This is unfortunate for Rogue Wave as they did put on a pretty good, high energy show (at least for the part of their set that I stayed for. Yes, I too left early). They played a set of happy sounding, bouncy, power poppish tunes that I couldn’t really fault. Technically, they’re good at what they do and I did enjoy the pink skull design and lights that covered their amps and gear, but something about them left me kind of underwhelmed.