WORDS AND IMAGES BY THOMAS FREEMAN
On Saturday, November 14th, Sydney indie-rock legends Middle Kids played a gig at Newcastle’s City Hall to a large group of eager fans seated in the historic building. Hearing a lot of their biggest hits again live was a treat for the ears, whilst the performance and lighting was a sight for the eyes. It was a set that was full of energy, really well performed songs, enjoyably awkward banter between the members, and easily one of the best shows I’ve been to in a while.
Georgia Mulligan opened up for the band, bring her guitar and her voice to the venue. Despite Georgia being an artist who was unknown to me up until this point, she played a solid set with music that reminded me of Angie McMahon. Her stage performance was really great, controlling the whole room with her music and captivating the audience for her whole set.
Middle Kids opened with a stripped back and intimate version of ‘Bad Neighbours’, and after a short introduction, went into a few of their well-known ballads to get the audiences energy flowing, with ‘Big Softy’, ‘Never Start’ and ‘Real Thing’ following on. The songs sounded pretty similar to how they were recorded, and the live performance brings out so much passion into their music, making it a whole new experience for the audience.
‘Edge of Town’ absolutely went off, making for the best part of the night. It’s a song that translates super well live because of how well it builds up throughout the song, giving Middle Kids the ability to go all out at the end of the track. It’s also one of the best reasons to see this band live, with the energy coming through so wonderfully into the crowd.
‘Salt Eyes’ was another highlight from the show, with Hannah performing the song by herself on the keyboard. It was an unexpected surprise and really drew a lot of attention towards the lyrics. It was also great to hear ‘R U 4 Me’ live for the first time, the latest single from the band. Much like a lot of the upbeat songs, the band pulled out a lot of energy, and this one was no exception.
The other big unexpected surprise was the closing track ‘Don’t be Hiding’, where four sets of vocals and an acoustic guitar filled the room with a stripped back version of the popular song. It was a fantastic way to close the show with the vocals from the band and the audience filling up the whole room is the best way possible. When the band walked off stage, it was met with a thunderous applause and cheering from an audience who had just experienced one of the best live shows they had seen in a long time, praying out that the band would come out for an unplanned encore, cheering for a good couple of minutes.
Even if Covid-19 didn’t happen, Middle Kids would still be one of the best bands I saw in 2020. It felt amazing to hear a lot of my favourite songs again from one of my favourite bands. They brought so much more personality to their music, creating a whole new experience for their fans. If you get the chance to Middle Kids in the future, I highly recommend going to one of their shows.