Many words can cavalcade through a listener’s head when listening to the Durham based folk band, Midtown Dickens. One in particular has always caught my fancy. Organic. The beautiful duet vocals of Kym Register and Catherine Edgerton could only be fashioned with the various objects they discover to create music. ‘Objects’ seems to be the best term as they are not tied to conventional means of crafting sound. More recently, a chair and saw were used in demonstration at Pittsboro Elementary school to show Midtown’s versatility. In fact, it is almost memorizing to see each player’s list of instruments. Unlike most bands whose members solely focus on their individual apparatuses, this front-porch group creates a sense of camaraderie with their sharing of instruments.
It’s only fitting that my recent discovery and love affair with this local band came after I saw its performance at Shakori Hills Grassroots music festival this past spring. In a place of warmth, good vibes, and acceptance, Midtown’s spontaneity was only fostered into greater appreciation. Their sophomore album Lanterns, which released this past fall, is riddled with meaningful jolts of experimental sound that charms and awakens the listener. It is an engaging, yet actively involved listening experience not meant for the stomach of an audience bent on sole ambient noise.
Midtown had found strong support within the community for the development of Lanterns. With the dismal economy, high production costs for a large scale album, and the band’s personal financial limitations, Lanterns’ birth seemed dim. However, upon calling for help, Midtown received many generous donations from friends and fans. The band even received a $5,000 check from a complete stranger after he had seen the band perform at a festival.
Midtown Dickens is gracing the stage of Double Barrel Benefit 7 at The Pour House on its second night, February 6, performing after The Tender Fruit. The night’s remaining acts will be Chapel Hill’s Spider Bags and headliner Roman Candle.
For the complete Double Barrel schedule and ticket information, click here.