The Cat’s Cradle was comfortably full on Saturday night as label mates Midlake and John Grant shared the stage.
Grant opened his first ever show at the Cradle solo with a new song called “Fireflies”, a ballad that will be released on an upcoming bonus disc. It was the perfect introduction as it showcased his voice, which effortlessly filled the venue. His vocals sounded as good as, and sometimes better than, his record. There are few indie rock vocalists that are in the same league as John Grant. A quick glance around at people’s faces showed that they were as impressed as I. Afterwards, he was joined by four members of Midlake for the rest of the set. He looked quite content on stage as he announced song titles before he began each. His dry humor, both in his stage banter and in his songs, came across well and had the crowd laughing.
In the short 30 minute set, Grant made it through about half of his new record. The only omission of note was “Where Dreams Go to Die,” but it’s understandable since the song is six minutes long and time was short. Also, “Queen of Denmark,” a perfect closer, was played in the middle of the set and instead “Jesus Hates Faggots” was the last song. If the two were switched, it would’ve made the set that much better.
Midlake’s 7-piece band filled the stage a little after 10:30. The band mainly stuck to the more well-know selections from their last two albums, 2010’s The Courage of Others and 2008’s Trials of Van Occupanther. Midlake’s delicate tunes were punched up for the live performance, but this threw off their compositional balance and it was hard to tell songs apart. Pretty much every song sounded like a battle between flute, guitars and drums. The orchestral sound on the record was sorely missed. At its best, the songs sounded like loud and muddy imitations of themselves. Still, the Midlake fans were loving it and head bobbing along.