Ilya S. Savenok, Getty Images The sad news came across late Wednesday afternoon…
- Posted on Apr 8th 2010 10:00AM by Kenneth Partridge
"Wow, that's the best response for Denton ever," said Pulido. "Even in Denton."
Midlake may represent a hip university town 40 miles north of Dallas, but musically speaking, the septet dwells in more fanciful environs. Boasting four guitars, keyboards and as many as three flutes, the band transformed the Bowery into a dark, enchanted forest: Narnia for indie rockers.
The group opened with 'Winter Dies,' one of many tunes plucked from its recently released third album, 'The Courage of Others.' The song, like most that followed, was a winding folk-rock odyssey, a mournful amalgam of Aerosmith's 'Dream On,' the theme from 'M*A*S*H' and your parents' dusty old Jethro Tull LPs. While singer Tim Smith's lyrics marked the coming of spring, the descending chord progression and elegiac flute lead seemed to lament the passing of seasons.
'Rulers, Ruling All Things,' a highlight from later in the 17-song set, was even more somber and dramatic, its three flutes (or was one a piccolo?) laying a trail of breadcrumbs that pushed deeper into the foreboding woods. There, in a moonlit clearing, the band threw down like a druid Fleetwood Mac cover band -- the only things missing were the hooded robes.
As to not break the mood, the band barely spoke between songs. Although not the frontman, Pulido handled what little banter there was, and at one point, he thanked the audience for its warm welcome, referring to New York as "the concrete jungle where dreams are made of." Pulido should know: During the encore, he reminisced about the summer of 2001, when he lived in the city and discovered its dirty secret: The people, despite their reputation, are actually very nice.
"I met some of the kindest, most gentle-hearted people in the world," he said, shrugging off calls for Tull's 'Aqualung' and leading the group into 'Branches,' from 2006's 'The Trials of Van Occupanther.' The audience stood silent and still-courteous, sure, but more than that, enchanted.