||DALLAS MORNING NEWS|
Fair To Midland Review
By Mike Daniel
Mr. Sudderth threw it out
best during the band's dynamic spaz-fest, "April Fools," late
in its homecoming show at the Curtain Club on Friday: a circular, barely-in-balance
stomp around the stage with his right arm flailing and his head thrashing,
as if caught in a
No, the dance name doesn't
make sense other than its service as a CD title for the band. And actually,
little about the individual parts of Fair to Midland does make sense.
Its five members look dissimilar, pay little mind to the biz's pretty-boy
demands, and by accounts
But when those parts coagulate
on stage as they did Friday (actually Saturday: it didn't perform until
12:50 a.m.), logic becomes irrelevant as the senses rage with approval.
Fair to Midland not only delivers heady, poetic, powerful and often fascinating hard music, they deliver it live with the gumption of a marauding pack of tribal warriors. Fair to Midland's 50-minute, nine-song set (presented with no breaks except for the one-song encore, "Say When") began serenely with "The Wife, the Kids, and the White Picket Fence," ramped up with "The Walls of Jericho" and hit a barreling pace with "Vice/Versa."
That number first supplied
Mr. Sudderth's unreal vocal abilities a proper workout; his high-pitch
wails recall metal yelpers King Diamond and Geoff Tate, and his lower
registers possess the ghostly introspection of Travis Meeks (Days of
the New) and Maynard James Keenan. Then, on "Upgrade Brigade,"
Mr. Sudderth unleashed rap lines delivered
All the while, his bandmates (guitarist Cliff Campbell, bassist Jon Dicken, drummer Brett Stowers and keyboardist Matt Langley) produced tight, aggressive riffs, rhythms and fills that struck a balance between individual enthusiasm and deference to the band's sound as a whole.
The whole of Fair to Midland may be improbable and uncategorizable; perhaps the most similar big-time band today would be The Mars Volta melded with 10 Years. But FTM's sonic product is as weighty and buff as a Mr. Universe contender. Let's hope Mr. Tankian doesn't slick it down too much.