This South by Southwest was as wild as ever. We saw many bands, in many places, while walking many miles to get to each. Most of the bands we saw were full of the new technology based school of music, with their wild outfits, crazy dance moves, and lack of any acoustic instruments. So on Friday night when I heard that Eric Pulido and Eric Nichelson of Denton’s Midlake were doing a torn down set, I was thrilled. We showed up at the space they were to play at a couple hours early expecting it to be difficult to get it only to realize that they were playing at a small building normally used as a spaced rented out for weddings. We had walked by this small building many times over the course of the weekend already and never once did I think that I would be seeing something very special there only a day or two later.
After a couple drinks and couple of performances, Eric and Eric set up their acoustic guitars and synth and began to play. Eric Pulido took the lead on all of the vocal parts throughout the set. While his voice is definitely different from normal Midlake lead vocalist Tim Smith, his voice fit perfectly with the calm yet pressing vibe of Midlake’s music. Pulido’s voice is mellow but strong and gave a wonderful chill to the room as he sang through classic Midlake songs such as “Roscoe” and “Head Home.” My personal favorite of the night was seeing them play “We Gathered in Spring.” For this Nichelson set his guitar down and switched over to synth playing the lead line that we all know so well from their album. As I watched them play the song I wondered at first if synth trumpets were really appropriate for a torn down acoustic set but after they got into full swing I was easily won over and given the great feeling that we all get when we hear Midlake do what they do.
Seeing Eric and Eric in such a torn down environment in the middle of the chaos that is SXSW was a rare treat and reminded me why they are Denton’s pioneers in music and many other things. I honestly can’t wait to see them do it all over again when their new album comes out.