September 15, 2017 @ Brighton Music Hall
By: Becca Pariente
It hasn’t been long since Middle Kids’ February release of their self-titled EP, but that hasn’t stopped them from making a powerful impact on the music world. It began with the release of hit single ‘Edge of Town’ which eventually gained recognition from Elton John and earned a place on his Beats 1 playlist. I definitely had high expectations for this Aussie indie troupe going into my night at Brighton Music Hall, and they did not disappoint.
The Friday night show had of a strong lineup loaded with empowering female vocalists and energetic bands. Local Bostonian Aubrey Haddard began the night on a solid note, her voice bringing to mind the smooth jazz of Lake Street Dive combined with the lyrics of a harsh Fiona Apple. The set became progressively funkier, topping off with an offbeat cover of Nightmare Before Christmas’ ‘Sally’s Song’.
The next hour was taken over by Julie Rhodes and her band, the group providing a complementary but different tone of hard, soul rock. Her voice was deep and brassy; her presence was cool and comfortable. She even held a beer can throughout the performance, as if the microphone wasn’t first priority. The instrumentalists didn’t back down, but instead matched her intensity to create a powerful blues sound.
Middle Kids cultivates a magnetic balance between raucous instrumentals and whimsical, angelic vocals. From the start, they radiated an enticing vibe that drew people in and made the Bostonians there feel proud of their historic city (yes, several Good Will Hunting references were made throughout the night). Beginning the set with upbeat songs like ‘Your Love’ and ‘Fire in Your Eyes,’ Hannah Joy proved her level of comfortability with the venue, singing with the ease of an everyday conversation. Meanwhile, behind her stood the most enthusiastic and active bassist I’ve ever seen, shredding through each song and raising the energy of the entire room. The moment that really captured the audience had to be the piano ballad ‘Doing It Right,’ in which Joy stood alone center stage, belting out a soulful melody that left the venue shook. As her voice dropped, the audience became dead silent, clinging to every chord. ‘Doing it Right’ quickly transitioned into the rousing performance of ‘Edge of Town’ which they (temporarily) dedicated to Boston. This hit song rose with a crescendo of grit, mirrored by the audience’s hollering of the final chant of the song. Middle Kids then brought the tempo down with a mix of songs from their EP and their most recent, unreleased album, ending the high-energy show with a lullaby.