The indie rockers succeeded in showing perfectly the duality of the band – an amalgamation of musicality and live theatrics which set 170 Russell on fire.
On Wednesday night, 170 Russell played host to one of the buzziest bands of the last couple of years – Middle Kids. Middle Kids have had a pretty solid incline with sold-out tours nationally and internationally, huge festival lineups and heavy triple j rotation.
With a sold-out show, the venue was packed by the time they came onto the stage. The band launched straight into the crowd favourite and catchy as all hell ‘Never Start’ followed by ‘On My Knees’ and ‘Salt Eyes’. The enthusiasm of the audience was a telltale sign of the huge groundswell of support coming from a predominantly younger crowd. You could hear the greenness in their supportive woo’s and singalongs. Shouting along to the lines, “I’m not trying to start a fight here, but it’s building up inside”, definitely set the scene for what was to be a night of good tunes and high energy.
The large majority of the set pulled from Middle Kids’ groundbreaking debut album, Lost Friends, with the outfit choosing to touch on all the hits that have them as popular as they are today.
The energy coming from the crowd was impressive for a Wednesday night – Hannah Joy is the ultimate front person, whipping herself around the stage as she shredded through tracks from their 2018 LP, throwing her recognisable upside down Fender all over the stage. The energy of the crowd and the vigour of the band fed off each other, almost egging each other on.
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Through familiar territory came old favourite ‘Hole’ and the crowd turned up the heat even more with a huge singalong. We were then taken back further to where it all began with ‘Edge of Town’ – their 2017 EP masterpiece – a track that gives you chills in both recorded and live domains. The stunning songwriting is really on display throughout the performance, a thread that ties the live show together seamlessly.
As the band left the stage, Joy reeled us back in with an intimate piano ballad. After rowdy applause and cheers, the rest of the band took to the stage again and launched into ‘Fire In Your Eyes’. Bassist Tim Fitz’s trademark enthusiasm satiated the crowd whilst Joy ventured into the mosh to gift singular red roses to lucky punters, an intimate touch for such a rowdy show. Joy’s voice at full throttle is quite the experience; controlled and with occasional breakage, it provides a delicate and emotional juxtaposition to the vibrancy of Middle Kids as a whole.
In another highlight of the evening, drummer Harry Day stepped out from behind his kit to play a song on melodica: a harmonica meets keyboard instrument. The crowd was fully engaged and loving the original demo version of ‘Old River’ – a great reminder that despite their huge success, the band still knows how to keep it real and strip back to the core of their musicality – the songwriting. After running off stage for a matter of seconds, the band quickly returned to play a rousing rendition of crowd favourite, ‘Mistake’.
Launching their new single, ‘Real Thing’, Middle Kids succeeded in showing perfectly the duality of the band – an amalgamation of musicality and live theatrics which set 170 Russell on fire.
Highlight: ‘Edge of Town’.
Crowd favourite: ‘Mistake’.