Regular readers will be aware that one of the artists featured most regularly in the almost 4 years of this blog’s life is Malcolm Middleton who this week released a two set live CD, one solo and one with band.
Since he’s already released a solo live LP, it’s to ‘Malcolm Middleton with Band! Live in Zurich!’ that I turn first. Recorded last autumn whilst touring ‘Waxing Gibbous’ this CD features only a handful of songs from that album with the numbers made up with Middleton classics from recent years, including some more unexpected choices. Every Middleton solo record gets at least a song with even a couple from mini-LP ‘Sleight of Heart’.
What makes it a little different is that only Malky and Scott remain from the regular pre-‘Gibbous’ Middleton band. So there’s no Jenny Reeve and no Michael Scanlon which seems a bit of a shame. The different line-up (featuring Jim Lang and the Pictish Trail) also means no fiddle resulting in the arrangements being different even from the 2009 Scottish summer gigs in Glasgow and Edinburgh. That’s most noticeable on the storming version of ‘A Brighter Beat’ which is ushered in on a blizzard of guitars rather than violins.
This is no tame rendition of a gig. Brilliantly recorded it captures all the excitement of a Middleton band show best typified by a noised up version of set opener ‘Crappo the Clown’.
Outside of bootlegs MMWBLIZ is the only way to hear Middleton live with a band. On its own it would make a perfect Christmas present but paired with the companion solo disc, it’s really pretty much essential.