Bumbershoot 2017, Day Two: Middle Kids

Bumbershoot, Live Reviews
Gabe Pollak
all photos by Morgen Schuler

Middle kids, in general, struggle for attention. Middle Kids (the band), on the other hand, have had little trouble getting noticed during their short career. The Sydney trio released their first single, the Ryan Adams-esque “Edge of Town," before they had even played a show. Shortly thereafter, popular Australian radio station Triple J picked up the song, and the band went on from there. "Edge of Town," eventually accumulated over five million plays, Sir Elton John became a vocal Middle Kids fan, and the band went on tour opening for Cold War Kids. While their rise to popularity has been relatively fast, the band's increased exposure is entirely legit, as the Middle Kids proved at the Fisher Green Stage at the Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival on Saturday afternoon, putting on an energetic performance of their six-song, indie-pop-meets-alt-country, self-titled EP.

Performing in matching campy t-shirts advertising the now-passed solar eclipse, Middle Kids are the kind of band who take their music more seriously than they take themselves. Bassist Tim Fitz put on a real show, playing gripping slowed-down-pop-punk bass lines and stomping the ground as if playing a game of wack-a-mole with his feet. After each song stopped and the band paused to tune, his ferocity faded to reveal a quirky sense of humor, itself an excellent counter balance to the yearning, desperation, and -- let's just say it -- angst at the core of Middle Kids' music. During a break between songs, Fitz and singer/guitarist Hannah Joy ventured a few questions about the white picket fences surrounding the VIP section. "Who are these people, like, in the sheep pen over here?" asked Joy, fiddling with her tuning pegs. "Why is there a fence there?" followed up Fitz as the crowd began to chuckle at the band's unexpected questions. "Are you okay? Do you need some help?" asked Joy, sounding faux-alarmed. "You look good at least," she added, making sure it was clear that the band wasn't taunting them. "We love you guys... The fence people!" Fitz declared cheerfully in a charming Australian accent. Back at ya. Whether it was the band's quirky banter or impeccable songwriting that attracted the crowd's notice, Middle Kids certainly have our attention now. So about that full length...

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