Two Denton Bands On One Portland Stage

by | Mar 7, 2010

Matthew and the Arrogant Sea opened for Midlake at Wonder Ballroom in Portland last night. I entered the room a Midlake fan, but unexpectedly walked out a Matthew and the Arrogant Sea fan.

Darryl Smyers of Dallas Observer calls the band’s songs “lush and intricate one minute, lo-fi and ragged the next.” That sounds about right. The article also notes comparisons to The Beach Boys and Fleet Foxes, but from the selection of songs we saw last night, the comparison I drew was one between lead singer Jacob Gray’s vocal style and that of Colin Meloy of The Decemberists.

I appreciate that Gray came out in a sport coat prepared to do his thing, but shed it in the process. At first, I was thinking who is this professor of rock, but through his songs and a funny dance he did, he revealed himself and ultimately that’s what I love to see in an artist. Matthew and the Arrogant Sea only played 38 minutes–the length of an E.P. I’m ready to see what they do with a 90-minute set. For those attending SXSW this month, check ’em out.

Midlake is a band we’ve been wanting to see for some time. Their 2006 release on Bella Union, The Trials of Van Occupanther, is a favorite. Like The Decemberists (again), Midlake takes listeners on a sonic journey. Their songs are passages in an epic. When listening to these bands you just sail away on their music. I guess I was expecting to do that last night. I wanted to taste the salted sea coming over the bow of the Midlake vessel, but I didn’t exactly. There were moments, but generally it wasn’t a brisk outing.