black midi
The Marble Factory, Bristol Wednesday, 12 Feb 2020


So basically, black midi, 3 year old experimental noise/math rock band that don't actually write black midi, on the third date of their UK tour, in the 1,600 capacity former warehouse that never actually produced marble, Marble Factory in Bristol.

I first heard of black midi a few months ago when Iwas recommended a Youtube video of them performing their song "bmbmbm" at the Hyundai Mercury Prize. Morgan Simpson's insane drumming caught my eye as well as the experimental, unstable vibe, and towards the end of the performance their lead guitarist, Matt Kwasniewski-Kelvin ran into a piano then did a frontflip right after (without landing it sadly), which made me think "man these guys are hype".

Matt mid frontflip, from video by BBC music

As I entered the venue, it was amazing to see the sheer amount of people there, and how full it looked. I've seen Death Grips at Marble Factory before, and that gig was definitely the most intense show I've been to; however that was not sold out, but this was, and it was amazing to see how many people came to see a band as unique/quirky as Black Midi.

The opening act was Ill Japonia, a Japanese trap artist that I'd never heard of, but at the merch stand he had some very cool looking merch/artwork, so I was very interested in how he would sound. As he was starting his set, the venue was completely full, and he was full of energy, his voice was rather unique for trap and I really appreciated how good the 808s sounded through their absolute unit of a pa system. He also said that he writes songs in "English, Japanese or however my soul feels," which is unique and I appreciate that.

In the 5 minutes leading up to black midi's set, rather than the typical songs that would play on the pa before a band, there was just short clips of strings/choir playing a chord, really building the hype before the band started playing, you could feel the pure hype/energy in the room before they started playing.

black midi live at KEXP, from video by KEXP

Although they were missing the lead guitarist, they had keyboard and saxophone instead, which was great as they started off with a rather funky unreleased song, that immediately put everyone in the right mood. It's amazing how clear the pa was for such a large venue, definitely the best out of all the large gigs I've been to. The saxophone fitted perfectly with the rest of the band and the set slowly got more intense (as did the mosh pit). Then they reached 953, their most streamed song on Spotify, and one which I thought would be particularly intense, and it did not disappoint. Another highlight was when they played Ducter, also from their sole album Schlagenheim, where the crowd was going "dun dun dun dun dun dun" along with the three note openiong riff, showing the sheer energy in the room, which I really enjoyed. Then their final song, which their frontman, Geordie Greep sat down for, was a lot more relaxed than their usual shenanigans and felt like the perfect conclusion to a lovely evening.

Pic :Bristol Live

After their final song, the house lights did not turn on immediately and the orchestral stabs were playing, anticipating an encore, but it did not happen and the house lights turned on. Still an enjoyable experience, leaving me excited for future releases from them. I wish they played bmbmbm though. And also wished my phone didn't die and I could have took photos.

Carwyn Mogford