The Middle East – Corner Hotel, 14th of June

There are two types of gigs. One is where you get giddy like a 13 year old girl and loose your shit on the dance floor as you try to make as much noise as possible. It is about lots of people having a good time simultaneously; it is about energy. I generally associate a ‘good’ gig with this energy; moving around, clapping, yelling; and if I have no voice left the next morning, it must’ve been one hell of a show.There is a second type of performance though, one that can be equally enjoyable and memorable. It’s where everyone is so captivated that no one makes a single sound. Clapping will only occur between the songs, as intrusions are kept to a minimum. It was the latter type down at The Corner on a cold Tuesday night, where The Middle East had one of the most attentive crowds I’ve ever seen anywhere. Silence was golden, to the point where the bartender dropping glasses behind the bar led to a few turned heads and raised brows. Then again, these musicians deserved nothing less. There were lots of things to be captivated about (keyboardist Bree Tranter, wearing a flowing red dress wasn’t the least of them). The dynamic changes and impeccable cohesion between every band member were both impressive. One minute co-lead singer Rohin Jones is singing a personal acoustic song by himself and the other the senses are being blasted by 8 different instruments and drummer Mike Haydon is standing up on every beat so he can get a harder stomp on the bass drum pedal. This change in energy between and during songs was what kept the crowd sucked in right till the moment the lights came on after the encore.   I will have to bring up the ‘screw-up’ though. I think nothing demonstrates a band’s dynamics better than when someone makes a mistake. Co-lead singer Jordan Ireland didn’t quite sing the way he was meant to during the start of ‘Nine Avenue Reverie’. The mistake was barely noticeable, but he apologised to his band mates and the crowd nevertheless. Then the same mistake happened again. This is when Rohin joked, “Did you want me to sing?” whereas yet another band member said, ‘That’s it I’m going for a piss”. All in good humour and friendliness. Handling mistakes during a live performance is a skill and something that comes with experience. This ‘screw-up’ wasn’t a screw up at all. It was handled so well it only added to the performance, rather than take away from it. In essence though, this was a memorable performance due to its simplicity. There was no bullshit, no fireworks, just music performed in an honest and convincing way. This is not pop music that you are likely to hum in the shower (although I do), but rather, it is something meaningful that you can take away and contemplate in a late night reverie. – Andy Szollosi

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