Believe the hype. This was my friends reply when I asked him about the new band people won’t stop talking about, Black Midi. Having listened to their debut album, I was starting to understand what people were talking about. However, it was getting tickets to their live show at Fabric that would really be the key.
The choice of venue was interesting as they could have chosen any of London’s classic venues but opted for the famous club that had such controversy surrounding it back in 2016. The walk down to the stage was long and winding but once you reached the stage the atmosphere was electric. 404 were the support and caught everyone by surprise with their intense, aggressive, powerful set that got everyone behind them as they were so committed to each and every word. A great setup for what was to come.
The crowd begun to pack out and the atmosphere grew further through anticipation, then a wall of feedback led noise began. The band choosing to walk out this chaos showed clearly what was to come as they lurched into their first song ‘Of Schlagenheim’. The crowd jumping around and moshing from the off and did not stop for the full set.
They then moved through songs off the superb album ‘Schlagenheim’, but many were so improvisational it was almost unrecognizable from their respective album versions. This band seemed to have a license to recreate their songs completely differently from how they were recorded and boy did it work.
Despite the experimental improvisational feel to the gig, the whole show still seemed incredibly tight and I think this was due to their superb drummer Morgan Simpson. The drumming of this lad didn’t particularly come to the fore in the album, but live it became clear how vital he was. His talent laying down a canvas for the other members to paint a beautiful experimental show on. Interestingly Black Midi choose to have the drummer to the side of the stage but after the constant glances between band members and Simpson, this decision became clear. Simpson was the standout musical talent of the band and despite an obscenely intense performance, did not seem to break sweat once.
HIghlights of the set were a superb performance of Reggae, and a classic rendition bmbmbm showcasing Geordie Greep’s unique vocal range. Also, a new unreleased song midway through the set with a great groove that was followed with chatter of ‘F*** me they should release that!’ all through the crowd.
The pinnacle of the short hour set however, came at the end with a truly inspired rendition of Ducter. This extended version of this song, once again held together by Simpson, allowed the full bands experimental nature to come to the fore and showcased what this band was all about; extravagant, different but never missing a note.
Listening to this band on record is great but when you see them live they are a whole new kettle of fish. I enjoyed their debut album but they were truly one of the best bands I have seen in recent memory. If you like them, get tickets to go and see them. If you don’t, get tickets to go see them. You won’t regret it. Believe the hype.