Live Review: Middle Kids + Mia Wray – Enmore Theatre, Sydney (07.06.24)

I love my hometown. I know its ins and outs, the traffic to avoid, best food and drink spots and most importantly, it is comfortable, familiar and feels like home. For Middle Kids, their Enmore Theatre show was a triumphant homecoming showcasing the best from their recent album Faith Crisis Pt 1 and their ever reliable back catalogue.

Opening the night was Mia Wray, one of the best voices in the country. Having seen her a couple of times in the past 12 months, I knew her set was going to be exemplary. After a 30-minute set, this was confirmed. Opening up with her 2020 single, the bluesy “Work For Me”, it was the perfect song for her to open on and set in motion the remaining handful of tracks. With spots from “Stay Awake”, “Tell Her”, “What If”, 2023’s best song “Monster Brain”, a surprise cover of The La’s “There She Goes” featuring original verses from Wray, and closer “Evidence”, this was the perfect matching for the opening of the Middle Kids headline set.

Entering stage right on 9:45, the quartet busted into an extended version of “Petition”, a song with immediacy and vibrancy that set the remainder of the night in an upwards trajectory. Singer and front woman Hannah Joy sounded as great as ever, reinforcing my opinion that she is in the top echelon of live voices in the country. Moving swiftly into “Dramamine”, the night was off to a killer start, before we were thrown back to the band’s debut EP with “Your Love” making a welcome appearance.

Playing a set that was naturally weighted towards their current album, it was welcoming to see the appeal of the band spanned multiple generations, with the youngest of fans matched by just as many of those who might have been there from the earliest singles of the band in the mid-2010’s. Refreshingly, the banter between band members and the crowd was on point, with discussions on late-stage capitalism, motherhood, Sydney traffic, end-of-financial-year readiness and the hospitality industry all getting a nod, albeit in varied levels of seriousness. It was great seeing the band feel refreshed and not stale, something that can happen sometimes for bands at the end of their tours or album cycles.

The middle stages of the set was evenly weighted between classic MK tracks (“R U 4 Me?” was a ripper, “Mistake” was the best received track in the front half 0f the night, “Salt Eyes” was a pleasant surprise, while the restrained “Bad Neighbours” again allowed Hannah’s vocals to reach incredible heights) and newer tracks including “Philosophy”, “Go To Sleep On Me” and “Your Side Forever”, which was preluded by Hannah getting sentimental about life and all its intricacies.

The night peaked with the ever reliable masterpiece in “Edge of Town”, last year’s “Highlands” and main set closer “Stacking Chairs”, while Hannah going solo on the piano with “All In My Head” was a nice addition that tied everything together brilliantly. With an encore featuring “Cellophane (Brain)”, the rollicking “Never Start” and closer “Bend”, the band thanked the crowd once more and disappeared back stage after a stellar 75 minutes of solid, reliable and completely great homegrown indie rock.

Bands playing hometown shows will always be a highlight for fans and punters alike. I’m sure it’s the same for the band themselves. Here’s hoping Middle Kids got just as much out of this Enmore Theatre show as the sold-out crowd did.



Header image credit: Eloise Coomber from the show at Forum, Melbourne earlier in the tour