The Middle East & Red Riders

I had a big weekend of music. It started with The Middle East at the Metro on Friday night and finished with Red Riders‘ last ever concert at the Oxford Art Factory (video above of Ordinary from that performance) on Saturday night. Both events were fantastic and well worth the money.

The Middle East were a complete surprise. I know their music from their self-titled EP and the more recent album I Want That You Are Always Happy, but in concert I think their music is much deeper, heavier and it has so much more energy. They really seem to enjoy playing and performing and right from the first note it was clear that they had a really big sound and stage presence. As with their album there was heaps of variety in the playing with most band members playing several instruments as they wandered through their amazing repertoire. To me it seemed that they had a long background in live performance and after having seen them now it seems their studio recordings, whilst beautiful, just don’t capture the energy and richness they display on stage. They’re brilliant.
Red Riders also really enjoyed playing their concert. They seemed to treat it all as a celebration of their musical history and they dropped a couple of hints that it isn’t all completely over. They will probably do some individual work or reform in another combination. Guitarist Brad Heald is back with The Vines. I hope all that talent just isn’t wasted.
I think I mostly enjoyed the music they played in the second half of this gig (from Drown in Colours) when Brad replaced Adrian Deutsch on stage. His guitar work on Tomorrow/Today and Ordinary is very special. Tomorrow/Today was probably my highlight from this performance. I’d rate Drown in Colours as one of the best albums I own. They are (or maybe were now) such an under-rated band.

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