Black Midi impress with their musical chops, leaving the crowd wanting more
“I just want to get the energy right,” said Brooklyn-based MC Fat Tony as he waved a stick of burning Palo Santo around the stage. Standing on the monitor he engaged the crowd and took them on the journey which was his set. His hands flew back and forth from his laptop to his turntable, to one of the two microphones he was using, employing his incredible MC abilities as he showed the diversity of his music.
The Houston native flew through his songs, some of which sampled music from many different genres – from fast-paced punk to Texas country and 80s pop. Shortly after performing a song about his decision to eat healthy, Fat Tony left the stage to the cheers of the satisfied audience.
Casually strolling onto stage, Black Midi picked up their instruments and immediately thrashed away while the pink and blue lights strobed over the energized crowd. For a band of twenty-somethings, the complexity and musical prowess of Black Midi is mind-blowing and sets an extremely high precedent for other bands. Based out of London, England, Black Midi were formed while the members attended Brit School, the school responsible for celebrated alumni Adele, Amy Winehouse, and Tom Holland, to name a few.
The Mercury Prize-nominated band wasted no time and controlled the stage as they performed “Near DT, MI.” Bassist Cameron Picton recited the sparse lyrics while the band played softly; the audience anticipating the next change. A quick pause, and the wall of sound began as they wailed on their instruments and the bassist screamed into his microphone, while a young man climbed onto the stage and perfectly timed his stage-dive. Guitarist and lead vocalist Geordie Greep prowled the stage as he sized up the audience, his hands flying over the fretboard and strings.
After a quick finish to the song, Black Midi diverged into what they do best: jamming. Drummer Morgan Simpson held the gaze of the other band members while they read each other for signals of where they would be headed next. The intense instrumental blended seamlessly into “Speedway,” the second track off their debut album Schlagenheim.
Their musical abilities were on full display; particularly Simpson’s drumming. In 2014 he was awarded the “Young Drummer of the Year” award, and it was clear that night that it was well earned. His hands flew across the set, often so fast that they appeared blurred. When lead singer Greep wasn’t gracing the crowd with his unique croon, he was directing the band using his arms, to indicate where the dynamics of the music should go next – arms up for louder and arms down for quieter.
Lead guitarist Matt Kwasniewski-Kelvin resembled a young Jonny Greenwood as he bent over his guitar and shredded the ear-drums of the audience with his fast and powerful strums.
Black Midi took the crowd through the better part of Schlagenheim, filling the rest of the set with instrumentals and their 2019 single “Talking Heads.” It would appear that Fat Tony’s energy cleansing technique did its job. The energy was just right, and Black Midi performed as well as expected, leaving the crowd chanting for more.
Photos by Cecilia Piga