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Black Midi

Black Midi

Oct 26, 2021 - Oct 26, 2021

Black Midi

Time Tue Oct 26 2021 at 08:00 pm

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200 41st Street South Birmingham AL 35222, Birmingham, United States

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Black Midi, 26 October | Event in Birmingham | AllEvents.in Black Midi
black midi - Cavalcade

Out 5/28 on Rough Trade


No second album syndrome and no sophomore slump for Britain’s most exciting and
challenging young rock band. black midi’s follow up to Schlagenheim is a
dynamic, hellacious,inventive success. Cavalcade, their second studio album for
Rough Trade, scales beautiful newheights, reaching ever upwards from an already
lofty base of early achievements.The meaning of the word cavalcade is a
procession of people, such as a royal parade, andblack midi picture their new
album as a line of larger than life figures – from a cult leader fallenon hard
times and an ancient corpse found in a diamond mine to legendary cabaret singer
Marlene Dietrich – strolling seductively past them. The album art – again,
another intricatecollage created by David Rudnick – brings this idea colourfully
to life, drawing the listenerinexorably into this mysterious world, reinforcing
the idea that Cavalcade is a glorious collectionof stories just waiting to be
dived into.

Geordie Greep, the band’s mercurial guitarist and primary singer explains the
fundamentals ofCavalcade: “A big thing on this album is the emphasis on third
person stories, and theatricalones at that.” Cameron Picton, the inventive
bassist and occasional singer agrees: “Whenyou’re listening to the album you can
almost imagine all the characters form a sort of cavalcade.Each tells their
story one by one and as each track ends they overtake you, replaced by thenext
in line.” Morgan Simpson, the powerhouse drummer advises: “Enjoy it, live with
it, spendsome time living in it.” When pressed to choose one word to describe
the album, Geordie electsfor “drama” adding: “The emphasis when we were making
and sequencing Cavalcade was tomake music that was as dramatic and as exciting
as possible. The flow has the feel of a story,which is rewarding to listen to.”

But the record is dynamic in its musical ambition above all else. black midi
listen widely anddeeply not just to rock and jazz but to hip hop, electronic
dance music, classical, ambient, prog,experimental... And their ethos is simple
according to Geordie: “We just combine lessonslearned from all of this music to
make something that’s very interesting to listen to andsomething that is brand
new.” They are quick to bat away any suggestion that it’s a riskystrategy
drawing from such a wide source of influences, that the resultant eclectic mix
ofinfluences could produce something resembling a mad man’s breakfast. Geordie
says simply: “Ifyou worry about that before you start you’re limiting yourself.
You have to try because you couldeither end up with a madman’s breakfast or you
could end up with a fantastic kaleidoscope andthe only way to find out which one
it’s going to be is to try. If you fail, so what? Try again.”Ground was broken
on Cavalcade in those now weird seeming pre-pandemic days of 2019.Songs that had
been brewing since the release of Schlagenheim in July began muscling theirway
onto set lists and finally became individual entities by October, getting
refined in betweenan extensive world tour and a scorching turn at the Mercury
Prize ceremony. Early in 2020, the
fourth member of black midi from the original line up, guitarist/vocalist Matt
Kwasniewski-Kelvin, told the other three that he needed some time away from the
group due to problems
with his mental health. They went on to play several live dates as a trio
augmented bysaxophonist Kaidi Akinnibi and keyboard player Seth Evans. This hook
up felt right and thepair feature prominently on Cavalcade. But then, just as
they were gearing up to record thealbum, the pandemic hit, initially throwing
everyone into a state of disarray. But to say lockdownforced black midi into a
different style of songwriting is to put the cart before the horse.Speaking
about jamming, Geordie said the band had gotten into a rut, that for this record
therewas a “yearning” to take a different approach, to be more considered,
record something thatwas more harmonically interesting and challenging: “It’s
easy to get wrapped up in theimprovisation myth of divine intervention, that if
a song doesn’t happen in the room naturallywithout it being guided by someone
specifically, when we’re all just feeling the vibe, then it’s notproper and it’s
not pure. That’s kind of a dangerous thing because you end up never trying
something different, or you just abandon an idea if it doesn’t work at first
because you’re alwayswaiting for that thing to arrive perfect. This time there
was more of an emphasis on hard work.”So the second half of the album was
written by individual members at home under lockdownand brought to the table
when it was time to record. Morgan confirms it was an advantage: “Theexperience
this time round was completely the flipside to Schlagenheim. A lot of the
materialwas really fresh but that was something that played into our hands and
we relished it.”After recording one track with Marta Salogni in London the band
found themselves in the aptlynamed Hellfire Studios, a remote Irish facility in
the Wicklow Mountains, south of Dublin insummer 2020 under the eye of Lankum
producer, John ‘Spud’ Murphy for the purpose ofrecording a demo for the album
but something clicked. Morgan says: “The studio itself justsounded really
natural and after doing a few takes there was a real feeling of, ‘Oh yeah!’
Goinginto Hellfire we weren’t too sure what the sound we were looking for was
but as soon as we gotthere and had it we knew. Hence the trial sessions ended up
becoming the actual albumrecordings.” Geordie adds: “It worked really well with
John. We wanted a natural, open soundcombined with fourth wall breaks – for lack
of a better expression. Do you know on record whenyou can hear the tape
screeching, the things that make you aware that you’re listening to arecording?
[With a lot of records] it feels like either you’re listening to the ECM,
high-fidelity, 25mic amazing sound or you have the lo-fi album full of crazy
effects. And I thought, ‘Why nothave an album where you combine the two?’ That
was one of the main ideas going into it andJohn was very keen on that idea.”And
you can hear that all the planets aligned for this recording session. Album
opener and leadsingle ‘John L’ slaps harder than a dominatrix on a works night
out. This might well be amassive Magma-sized sound and driven by some gutsy
Discipline-era King Crimson thrust butany comparisons can only be tangential as
it’s never been more clear that black midi are one ofthe few young bands
breaking through now who have their own inimitable sound. And some ofthe huge
energy on this track is wrought by the inclusion on violin of Jerskin Fendrix,
their palfrom the venue where they cut their teeth, The Windmill, Brixton. The
ensemble tease the ragingtrack to the point of nonexistence before leading it
through caverns of reverb and gauzysnareskin landscapes, just for it to return,
hitting hard as hell once more. The story painted is ajet black comedy delivered
in stentorian tones about what happens to cult leaders when their
followers turn on them. One of the many surprising left turns on the album is
the stirring bossasashay of ‘Marlene Dietrich’. Geordie says: “She was someone
who couldn’t really dance,couldn’t really sing, wasn’t the greatest actor and
spent all her years in Hollywood on the wrongside of 30, but she had that
indefinable but undeniable quality: incredible presence. Sheembodies the joy of
magic and the joy of performance.”When talking about future single,
‘Chondromalacia Patella’, the band are tight-lipped aboutwhich band member
actually suffered from runner’s knee (which the title refers to) but confirm it
is a song about “convalescence”. The track will wrong foot any listener moving,
as it does,assuredly, from abrasive noise rock chords and circular drumming
until it finally climaxes in asunburst of arpeggiated guitars skyscraping above
and beyond power metal. ‘Slow’, which pullsoff the unlikely coup of imagining a
fruitful collaboration between cult mathcore outfit DonCaballero and jazz rock
kings Steely Dan, is one of two songs fronted by Cameron and he sayswhile the
lyrics don’t refer to anything specifically, initially his lyrical inspiration
came fromCOVID-19 paranoia on their February 2020 UK tour when the song was
first being written butlater drew on thinking about counter revolutions, how
easy it is to destroy things and how long itcan then take to rebuild them."The
second of Cameron’s track’s is the chiming and introspective ‘Diamond Stuff’
which isnamed after a brilliant experimental novel by Isabel Waidner and
channels the same languidslow core, post rock vibes as The For Carnation before
venturing blissfully further and furtherout into territory that only black midi
can currently occupy. He describes the lyrics as concerning“dying and being
thrown in a peat bog just to be discovered hundreds of thousands of yearslater
by a mining company”. This, more than any other track on Cavalcade, shows just
howassured black midi have become in pushing their studio practice outwards in
all directions. Thekit list for this song alone includes a cello, a sax, a grand
piano, two bouzoukis, a late 19thCentury zither called a Marxophone, a flute, a
lap steel, synths and a wok. Hold on a second...a wok? Morgan laughs: “With this
track in particular there was so much space for scary soundsand little colours
to be introduced so I got a lot of percussion out to use. I’d been making a damn
fine stir fry during lockdown so that probably inspired me to bring the wok in
from the kitchenand play it with a violin bow. We had a lot of fun making this
track, trying out lots of cool things.”After the prowling, bristling funk of
‘Dethroned’ explodes into a maelstrom of noise, ‘HogwashAnd Balderdash’ is a
pure rager calling to mind the berserk prog energy of the Cardiacs andthe
lysergic funk of Primus seen through the black midi prism. And then the album
ends with theepic ‘Ascending Forth’ which dares to dream a 21st Century update
of classic folk rock andRock In Opposition styles; exploding and then
reassembling them into a sublime new whole.Spend some time with Cavalcade and
you’ll acknowledge black midi are back with the biggestof bangs.John Doran,
Wiltshire, 2021


Las Vegas' premier blues band Orange Tree Boys have won fans in all strata of
Nevadan society by destroying all preconceptions of what 12 bars can do. Catch
them live this Fall supporting their biggest supporters black midi.




This event is 18 & up. There is no re-entry to the venue for those under 21.



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All guests are required to wear masks while at Saturn. Thank you for your
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Date & Time

Tue Oct 26 2021 at 08:00 pm
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Location

200 41st Street South Birmingham AL 35222, Birmingham, United States

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