[NOTE: This is the fifth post in my Forgotten Concerts of 2017 series. As I’ve done with the other posts in this series, I’ve basically just typed in my pen and paper journal entry from the day in question. I’ve done some editing on this one, though, as I wrote some particularly mean things about the New Pornographers and felt the need to temper that rage a bit for public consumption. Let’s pick up mid-sentence.]
…we began planning our trip to and from the Midpoint Music Festival. It’s downtown tonight and I really didn’t feel like driving down and trying to find parking. After much consideration and a lot of back-and-forth, we decided to take the bus down. We caught one at the corner of Paxton and Linwood. It wasn’t a direct trip, but we didn’t have to concern ourselves with any transfers. We got down with plenty of time and even got off a few stops early for drinks at the downtown Coffee Emporium. We heard a great song in there called “Couldn’t Spend Another Day” by the Ministry of Sound. Gotta remember that one.
We then walked through downtown to the festival site, which basically consisted of the Taft Theatre and the Masonic Lodge next-door (where I’d seen Luluc). Both buildings featured two stages and I was happy to see that they were connected by an interior door. Still, the festival was very poorly designed and it was difficult to figure out which stage was which and who was performing where at any particular time. It was a mess.
We wandered around and looked at the booths and browsed at the Shake It Records pop-up store. We bought three books between the two of us.
We made our way to the bigger stage in the Masonic Lodge to see Filthy Friends at 7:00. The band–which features (from left to right) Kurt Bloch, Scott McCaughey, Linda Pitmon, Corin Tucker, and Peter Buck–were the festival’s big draw for us, and I started to get really excited just watching them set up their equipment. And I was drinking a Bubbles.
Beth and I stood down in front for the entire 45 minute set. I can honestly say it was the most fun I’ve had at a concert in ages. We danced, shouted, screamed, and blew-out our ears to a dozen songs we’d never even heard before. Kurt mugged for anyone with a camera. Scott hopped up and down. Linda beat the hell out of the drums. Corin belted out the words. Peter just stood there with all the confidence that comes from knowing he’s the coolest, richest, and best-dressed guy in the entire room.
I kept a setlist, of course, but it was hard to do with all the jumping around. Also, it was very loud…so loud I had trouble making out the lyrics. Still, here’s the setlist (songs marked with an asterick were new):
Filthy Friends setlist: The Arrival / Despierta / Windmill / Only Lovers Are Broken* / No Forgotten Son / Second Life / Love in the Time of Resistance* / Come Back Shelley / Any Kind of Crowd / Ides (of) October* (described as “a climate change party song”) / Brother / Makers
The whole thing ended with a big grin on my face and tears in my eyes. Filthy Friends were so fun that they basically ruined the rest of the festival for us (although the festival’s poor organization and terrible sound had at least as much to do with it.) We watched a couple songs by Valerie June, tried to see something called Frightened Rabbit, and eventually gave up due to boredom and disorganization. We headed back to the Masonic Lodge to wait for the New Pornographers at 9:00. I got a dubious Filthy Friends poster on the way.
The New Pornographers started up. Although they were once one of my favorite bands and I’ve enjoyed them live before, I was ready to leave their Midpoint performance within 45 seconds. We managed to hold out for a while against terrible sound, screeching feedback, a truly awful Neko Case placeholder who was clearly in the wrong band, and waves of disappointment emanating from the stage. It eventually got to be too much. We left after six songs.
We ditched the band and the entire festival (skipping out on Broken Social Scene) and caught an early bus back home. We spent the rest of the night eating cake and watching Endeavour.