Even though their show at Whisler’s on Thursday night wasn’t Mideau’s “official” SXSW showcase, I checked it out because I was interested to see how they’d adapt to the challenging environment—and the Provo electro-pop band put on an excellent performance despite chatty people and some technical difficulties.---
Whisler’s is a really cool bar on Austin’s east side, with a woodsy candlelit interior and a drink menu of handmade craft cocktails (I sipped on an excellent old fashioned). Out on the large patio is where Mideau performed—check out my pre-show interview with them here—with the core duo of Spencer Harrison (vocals, synths) and Libbie Linton (lead vocals, guitar) getting some extra accompaniment by Luke Williams (bass) and Jesse Quebbeman-Turley (drums), who are both from well-known local bands Bright Whistles and The Echo Chorus. (Mideau and I weren’t the only Utah folks there: Polytype and The Moth & the Flame were even in the audience—Utah party!)
Surrounded by happy, tipsy people and lazy dogs, Mideau set up camp in the corner of the patio, basically at an intersection. As a result, the environment was more than a little chaotic: cars driving past, people walking by on the sidewalk, people loudly talking to their neighbors on the patio, stoplights flashing, etc. But during their show, Mideau turned the “stage” into a tiny island of serenity in a sea of hustle & bustle that got people on the sidewalk to stop and peep over the fence while listening to the music.
After a few technical hitches, Mideau got the sound smoothed out and were off and running, with sparkling synths blending into electric guitar smoothed into lovely vocal harmonies, and intricate drum lines weaving it all together. Linton has become one of my favorite singers to watch; something about her expressive style is so captivating, with her facial expressions and gestures showing she means every word she’s singing.
Mideau’s set included many jewels, but “Way With Words” and “Benny” were undoubtedly the highlights. The beat in “Way With Words” is so catchy, and the melody twists and turns like it’s alive. The emotional impact of the piano-driven “Benny” gets me every time, with the lyrics “Come on, make it happen” swelling with hope.