black midi with Black Country, New Road at The National, Richmond, VA 9/7/22 | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, October 6th, 2022  

black midi

black midi, Black Country, New Road

black midi with Black Country, New Road at The National, Richmond, VA, September 7th, 2022

Sep 19, 2022 Photography by Hays Davis
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While black midi’s acclaimed albums have given fans much to enjoy over the past few years, their formidable live presentation makes the stage seem to be their ideal setting. At The National in Richmond, black midi’s complex, experimental rock drove part of the floor crowd into boiling chaos, with many in attendance singing and chanting as though they had studied the material well in advance.

With an unconventional stage setup placing drummer Morgan Simpson at the audience’s far right, there was plenty of room for singer/guitarist Geordie Greep to launch into his occasional dance moves. This also allowed the creative chemistry between Greep and Morgan to comfortably play out onstage. Where bassists and drummers have a natural connection in holding down the rhythm, guitarist Greep stationed himself next to the drum kit where he and Morgan were particularly attuned in meeting the songs’ intricacies.

Having Greep and bassist/vocalist Cameron Picton switching instruments and lead vocals displayed the band’s easy dexterity and added further dimension to the experience. As keyboardist Seth Evans kept his end of the sound anchored, Morgan tore at his drums through the demanding compositions, tossing aside broken sticks like fallen wooden soldiers. Meanwhile, where songs such as “Welcome to Hell” sometimes had the crowd pitching around the floor as though Richmond’s native sons Lamb of God had stepped in, the setlist highlighted black midi’s varying dynamics as they brought down the tempo for the comparatively sedate “Still.” Overall, it was a fascinating performance that rock, prog, or metal fans could have embraced. And with the night’s wildly receptive audience, it’s clear that black midi found a very friendly tour stop for future reference in Richmond.

For their opening set, fellow English band Black Country, New Road instantly won over the crowd. With the departure earlier this year of singer/guitarist Isaac Wood leading to a decision not to perform songs that Wood had sung, tonight’s show displayed the power and charm of this unit’s ensemble talents, especially considering how they are presently road-testing all new songs. Bassist Tyler Hyde, sax/flute player Lewis Evans, and keyboardist May Kershaw all traded lead vocals, with their sound ranging from the poignant “Across the Pond Friend” to “Laughing Song,” which saw the band rise from gentle backing to an intense wave. The full band sat on the stage as Kershaw remained on her stool for “Turbines/Pigs,” setting up an intimate moment that looked like it might have otherwise been a scene in a rehearsal space with the musicians clustered around their singing friend. Along with violinist Georgia Ellery, guitarist Luke Mark, and drummer Charlie Wayne, BCNR’s sound ranged from lush and meditative to storming and triumphant.

“Sorry—we’ve got no more songs!” Hyde told the crowd at the end of the performance before heading into “Dancers.” It’s a testament to their strengths that, in roughly the past six months, they developed a set’s worth of new material that went down so well with a raucously positive Richmond audience.

black midi
black midi
black midi
black midi
black midi
black midi
Black Country, New Road
Black Country, New Road
Black Country, New Road
Black Country, New Road
Black Country, New Road
Black Country, New Road
Black Country, New Road
Black Country, New Road

www.bmblackmidi.com
www.blackcountrynewroad.com

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