In natural Trees fashion, an entire hour and a half of excited waiting went by before a single person bothered to step on the stage. Almost on the dot at 8:30, Midnight Opera took the stage by immediate storm. A four piece band thrilled to be playing a hometown show, the immediate response to their first track proved to be indicative of how the night would proceed. Say what you will about Dallas (I’m sure bands like The Orwells and Nirvana have particular feelings about Trees), but we sure know how to love our own.
It was an incredible sight to behold, the dude who worked doors at the concert I was at the night before lazily but happily bumping the bass in the background of the set. Their sound was very in tune with Dallas’ particular taste for grunge rock topped with dreamy vocals, with bass boosts that felt like they were going to make my heart explode. (But then again, that could have just been bad sound in “natural Trees fashion” again.) The aesthetic they oozed was so perfectly witchy and fitting for the first day of October, with the lead’s intense gaze matched only by her powerful vocals and ornate ram’s head necklace swaying to the beat of her guitar. With Halloween right around the metaphorical corner and King Gizzard right around the literal corner, they were the perfect opener, transforming the mundanity of Trees into a graveyard of good times.
I’ll preface the rest of this review with this: I’ve never been in a pit before. I was at a Lomelda/Florist show the night before, a sound much more my speed, and I knew this night I was way out of my element. King Gizzard’s set can be accurately envisioned just by looking through the camera roll on my phone. That is, I have a short video of the first song they opened with, and a video of one of the tracks later in the set because I was towards the back of the venue. The large gap between content can be heavily attributed to not my lack of interest in preserving those particular tracks, but rather because I was literally incapable of holding a phone due to my arms being immediately pinned to my sides as soon as the first chord of “Alter Me I” was hit. The sheer force of the crowd was immediate, it was powerful, and it was relentless.
Playing through the majority of one of their new albums, Murder Of The Universe, there were only a few moments between tracks throughout the hour or so that I was able to catch my breath before being thrown back into either the largest person I’d ever seen, or the boniest person I’d ever seen. And I was loving it. The seven-piece band from Melbourne put on both a visual and audio display that was well worth the elbows and skulls I took to the head that night. I might be sore for the rest of my life from this one experience, but hearing “Billabong Valley” and “Sleep Drifter” played back-to-back in a crowd of people losing their damn minds is a time I’ll never forget. I may have been out of my element, but I also just may have found a new one after screaming “RATTLESNAKE” for the eightieth time. I may have been drowned in beer and sweat, but I was reborn again in the eyes of the Altered Beast.