Indie rock bands Vetiver, up and comers Here We Go Magic and The Big Search played at the Middle East on Thursday, Sept. 20.
Big Search opened the three-hour show in the downstairs portion of the club. The modest two-piece group focuses mainly on slow, melodic riffs on both acoustic and electric guitars, which provided a mellow opening, but struggled to capture the crowd’s attention.
Halfway through their allotted hour-long set, the band brought a percussionist and bassist on stage for some “improvised rocking,” as described by Big Seach’s frontman. The pace quickened, but attendees sat legs crossed on the floor, in a daze. Engaging a club crowd on a Thursday night proved to be easy. Concertgoers didn’t find spots on their feet until indie pop/rock band Here We Go Magic took the stage.
While still finding their niche, Here We Go Magic is an exemplary blend of indie folk and new wave pop. Their style is reminiscent of Elvis Costello and his many contemporaries, and their songs find comfortable and consistent rhythms, but progress to borderline chaotic by the end.
The show was a homecoming for Luke Temple, the band’s lead singer, who hails from Salem and studied painting at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. The band just released their third studio album, A Different Ship, which follows 2010’s Pigeon, and features “How Do I Know,” an up-tempo track that may be the group’s ticket to wider recognition.
The night closed with headliners Vetiver, ten-year veterans of the indie folk scene led by Andrew Cabic, who has recently established himself as a composer — his work was featured in the 2012 Sundance Film Festival selection Smashed.
Unlike their preceding acts, Vetiver had a better grasp on the audience, and even seamlessly deflected a possible awkward moment when technical difficulties caused ear-splitting mike feedback.
The progression between a band still finding its footing and a band that figured it out long ago was obvious, but in combination, the show was a more redeeming example of Boston’s nightlife options, and yet another testament to the Middle East’s importance to live music.