I’m Smitten with Midtown Dickens

I met Kym and Catherine of Midtown Dickens a couple years ago at a SXSW party.  We hung out and had a good time, but I didn’t go see their showcase.  A year or so later, Cobalt played at their bar (The Pinhook) in Durham, NC and we again got to hang out and have a few beers.  Saw them again a few weeks ago when we stopped by The Pinhook while in Durham playing with State Radio.

I finally saw them play tonight.  Damn, was I missing out all this time.

Just got back from Chicago’s Empty Bottle and couldn’t wait til morning to rave about this great band.  The usual 5-piece is currently stripped down to the duo of Catherine & Kym, and they’ve been on the road for over a month all over the country with an amazing bag of tricks.  Between the two of them, there had to be more than 10 different instruments – from banjo to trombone, spoons to saw… But never once was an instrument choice gimmicky.  They just seemed to know the perfect sound to complement the wonderful Americana songwriting and passionate harmonies on any given song.  Not once did I think to myself, “This is good but it could sure use a full band behind it.”

There are all kinds of hyphenated things you could call this stuff: post-folk, queer-grass, folk-punk, punk-grass (my personal favorite after a few minutes of goggling them was “adora-core”).  In the end it’s just good, honest, and genuine music made by people meant to be enjoyed by themselves and other people.  Okay… maybe I should have gone to bed and written this in the morning…  I’m hoping they’ll be down to do a short interview tomorrow as they don’t leave town until Tuesday, but Catherine’s voice is threatening to abandon her for the rest of the tour, so we’ll see.

Anyhow, here is a kinda crappy but kinda cool video of their last song tonight from my phone, followed by a much better looking video of the full band doing one of my favorite tunes of the night.  Go listen to some tracks of their new record on the Mid by Northwest Radio!