Departure lounge ramblings on music, places, climate change and stuff outdoors

In the Waiting Room with Middle Kids

Middle Kids at The Waiting Room

Another great gig from Middle Kids this week makes me thinks these Aussie newcomers are going to be special. On Wednesday night sixty or so similarly privileged punters squeezed into The Waiting Room, a nicely refurbished box of a venue below the Three Crowns in Stoke Newington, to witness a group on the way up. Limited space meant bassist, Tim Fitz, was curtailed in his usual stage prowling, but otherwise the band showed no constraint in delivering a powerful collection of indie-pop songs.

Of the stand outs, ‘Your Love‘, a passionate commitment to keeping alive a relationship, remains my favourite track from Middle Kids’ eponymous EP and it worked brilliantly live too. Flanked on stage by her guitarist husband, singer-songwriter Hannah Joy was utterly believable singing “Sometimes I want to give up on this love / But then I hear you call”. It deserved its place on the 2017 Festive Fifteen..

Breakthrough single, ‘Edge of Town‘, meanwhile, involved an invigorating crescendo, with Hannah snarling “Hey guys / I got something on my mind / Tick-tock / Can you take it for a while” backed only by 4/4 guitar strumming, until the full-band blasted in and the vocal reached for the high notes.

There’s nothing ground-breaking about Middle Kids’ indie-pop formula, although Harry Day’s more inventive drumming stood out, but they clearly know how to find a melody, as well as how to improvise, with the angst-filled ‘Doing It Right’ converted from piano to guitar ballad to arresting effect.

We were also treated to a demure cover of Blink 182’s ‘All The Small Things’. Apparently previous crowds had parted down the middle in anticipation of a mosh, but the Waiting Room crowd correctly expected a more sedate version, which was just as well as there was barely room to shuffle, let alone pogo.

Which is not to denigrate the venue – it’s everything a basement venue should be. Moreover, the comfortable, sprawling Three Crowns pub above does good beer (markontour enjoyed a Hawaiian Big Wave golden ale on this occasion) and decent pre-gig nosh. My perfectly grilled cauliflower and roast potato ensemble was delicious and Ms Markontour and myself were impressed that, having both chosen vegetarian options, the newly installed chef came out to talk to us about his plans to greatly expand the vegan/veggie menu.

On the evidence of one fine EP and two cracking gigs (see also markontour’s review of Middle Kids at the Williamsburg Music Hall), I can’t wait to get my hands on Middle Kids’ debut album when it is released in May.

Markontour will also definitely be visiting the Waiting Room again, but I very much doubt that Middle Kids will still be playing venues of this size after their debut album hits the streets later this year.


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