“Did we just witness history?”– Middle Brother @ The Paradise 3/3

On Thursday night Jeff and I hit the paradise to catch the folk supergroup Middle Brother. If you haven’t heard of Middle Brother yet then let me break it down for you, the band features Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes, John McCauley of Deer Tick and Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit. With a guaranteed collaboration like that, we were feeling pretty good about witnessing an eclectic setlist going into the night, and we weren’t disappointed.

The night began with Dawes hitting the stage to play tracks from their first disc North Hills as well as new tracks from their forthcoming record and not to mention a Leon Russell cover sprinkled in there too. The only negative part about Dawes’ set was that we thought they played “Peace in the Valley” too early on as Jeff said, “That song is more of a closer than Mariano Rivera.” On the upside, the long list of collaborations began during Dawes’ set when they invited Jonny Corndawg on stage  to back him up on a mini-set of his own. After Jonny Corndawg finished up, Dawes played new track “Fire Away” and then were joined on stage by John McCauley for their finale of “When My Time Comes.” McCauley took the lead on one verse and also mixed in some harmonica, adding a new layer to the fan favorite. At this point Jeff and I thought we were getting pretty spoiled, but that was only the beginning.

Next up was Deer Tick who played a set filled with covers and collaborations to boot. They rambled through covers of Springsteen’s “Racing in the Street,” Sam Cooke’s “Bring it On Home to Me” and finished off the night with “Down South in New Orleans,” a track made famous by the Band and Bobby Charles on The Last Waltz. Of course the collaborations didn’t stop during Deer Tick’s set as they invited Matt Vasquez and the Goldsmith brothers up to join them on various songs throughout.

Once Deer Tick left the stage we felt like we were prepared for any sorts of collaborations and cover songs to be thrown at us during Middle Brother’s performance, but we were very wrong. You would never guess that this was only the second time the three folk crooners had played together in support of their self-titled album, as the chemistry was amazing. Each of the three singers played off each other and took turns with vocal duties and guitar leads creating an atmosphere that evoked the title of this post, “Did we just witness history?” At times the stage got pretty crowded during Middle Brother’s set as all the members from Dawes and Deer Tick each made their way up there at some point. After playing through most of their debut album, Middle Brother capped off the night perfectly by playing a raucous cover of “Twist and Shout” while being joined on stage by what seemed like everyone who was involved with the tour, hell I think I even saw the bus driver up there on tambourine. It surely was a night to remember, and if Middle Brother or any of their respective bands reach folk hero status, it will turn out to be one for the history books.

Posted on by Eric in Concert Review

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  1. Pingback: Newport Folk Festival Spotlight: Middle Brother/Delta Spirit « Maimed and Tamed

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