In a move that reeks of awesomeness, the June 5th Midlake/John Grant show has been moved from Dallas’ Palladium Ballroom over to the much nicer (and closer) Hailey’s Club. I, and I assume many of you, will now be attending this show. I did not intend to when it was booked in Dallas. That’s a drive I have been less and less inclined to take over the past few years. Maybe the train will change that, but anyway…
What does this move say? One could assume that our hometown boys want to bring the goods back to Denton (I just ask why a Denton show wasn’t scheduled originally). One could also deduce the possibility that the band wanted to play a more intimate show (read: didn’t sell enough tickets to justify playing the Palladium). This possibility can be chalked up to what I refer to as “the Pitchfork effect.” Let’s take a closer look at this ever-interesting corollary and see if it is justified.
Midlake’s now legendary 3.6/10 Pitchfork rating on their stellar new record, The Courage of Others, kind of put a damper on much of the excitement and anticipation that accompanied the long wait for their new album, most likely resulting in slower album sales (at least in the states, where Pitchfork is heralded as the end-all-be-all taste-maker of indie music. I’m sure NME got their panties in a twist and sales are wonderful in the U.K.) and shows that are a maybe a bit more “intimate” than Midlake would’ve liked. It’s the Pitchfork effect.
Get a bad review and you’ve got a monstrous red herring following you around until it gets pulverized by a good Pitchfork review. This has been the case for some time now. It’s why there wasn’t a second Travis Morrison solo record. It’s why nobody purchased the remastered/expanded edition of Modest Mouse’s glorious album,The Moon and Antarctica. Heck, it’s why I stopped liking Jimmy Eat World seven years ago.
The Courage of Others is a good record with glimpses of greatness. Is it as good as The Trials of Van Occupanther ? No. Does it deserve a “best new music” stamp from P4k? Most likely it doesn’t. But should it have received higher than a friggin’ 3.6? Yes, and the attendance at their shows should reflect accordingly. This is good music that people enjoy. Sometimes, you just get stuck with a reviewer who might not “get” the album or who went into the review with something particular in mind (in this case, homeboy wanted a repeat of Midlake’s previous album, The Trials of Van Occupanther, and felt disappointed when he heard something new and different.)
Then again, maybe it’s just that nobody wants to go to a show in Dallas anymore.
That said, if you have not yet given The Courage of Others a chance, do it. You’re missing out. I’ve embedded a live video of my favorite song off of The Courage of Others, Winter Dies, below. This one is a well-attended show, June 5th should be too. Let’s put those Europeans to shame.