Middle Kids are the band that never stop. In the past year, they’ve released their debut album, Lost Friends, played huge festival line-ups and toured the world. Having seen them go from playing the Oxford Art Factory in March 2018 to the Sydney Opera House just four months later, we thought we knew how far the band had come. On Tuesday night, however, we were met with a show that was more polished and more engaging than had ever been expected.
The night began with two young acts: Dominic Breen and Tyne-James Organ. While Breen put on a strong opening set, it was Organ that really got the night going. Probably best known for his appearances during Mallrat’s shows, he’s made his way onto this year’s Splendour lineup for a good reason. His set felt very personal, with a song dedication to his mother adding a nice touch. If there was one song to sum up why Organ is gathering momentum, it was closing track "Graceful". His voice filled the room as the song became more upbeat and the crowd began to move around. As he left the stage, it was clear that Organ might not be a support act for much longer.
The Metro was packed by the time Middle Kids came onto the stage. The band launched straight into "Never Start", one of their tried and true hits. Even from the photo pit, the crowd was overwhelmingly loud, almost drowning out vocalist Hannah Joy at points. It set the scene for what was to be a night of old favourites mixed with new directions.
The energy coming off the crowd was impressive for a Tuesday night, and the band played into it. Joy was the ultimate frontwoman, whipping herself around the stage as she shredded through tracks from their album. International touring has done the band some good – they worked better together as a group than the last concert we caught them at. They also seemed more at home on the decent-sized Metro stage. While the Opera House show was something special, it was much better for both the band and the crowd to be able to move around.
We were taken back to where it all began with "Edge Of Town", a track that still gives us all chills when we hear it live. With praise from Elton John and a cover from Paul Dempsey, it really is the song that kicked off their career. The band also gave us the demo version of "Old River", which saw drummer Harry Day bring out a melodica – an instrument this scribe had never seen used outside of meme videos until now. The crowd understandabl, loved it, and it was a great reminder that despite their success, the band still know how to have a bit of fun.
Recent single "Real Thing" fitted into the set well, and unreleased track "Beliefs & Prayers" felt like it will be right at home by the next tour. While Middle Kids have definitely found their sound, the songs are still different enough to keep the ball rolling. At the end of the night, though, it was an encore of "Mistake" that stole the show. The singalong was deafening, and everyone around us looked genuinely happy.
There was one main takeaway from the show: Middle Kids might have been around for a while, but now they’re truly hitting their stride.
Catch our full gallery of photos from Middle Kids in Sydney after the jump!