Fair To Midland

Live at the High Noon Saloon in Madison - December 12, 2007
by Adam Wrathkey
Posted: Dec 2007
(3491) Page Views

Fair To Midland w/ Resident Hero at the High Noon Saloon, Madison, WI:  12/13/07

Fair To Midland w/ Resident Hero at the High Noon Saloon, Madison, WI: 12/13/07

Fair To Midland w/ Resident Hero at the High Noon Saloon, Madison, WI:  12/13/07

Thanks to the forever diligent and advancing play list of Madison’s 94.1 WJJO, Randy Hawk and Johnny Danger, area residents of southern Wisconsin are hearing some incredible new “Hard-Rock / Metal” bands.  One of these bands has piqued the attention of listeners prone to something other than basic three-chord guitar lines and guttural grunting. 
Enter, Fair To Midland.

The historical bastion of Madison live music was recently honored by the presence of the bands Fair To Midland and their current live show counterparts, Resident Hero.

The three-piece, Resident Hero, haling from L.A., provided a perfect setter for the Thursday night show.  Drummer, Jay Warren, appeared onstage as if he were about to partake in a WWF match.  Snarling, flexing, twisting, inviting all to get involved before even one note was played.  The cool glue of Resident Hero is the lead-man, Ryan White.  Obviously the instigator, White plunged through his pop-rock-punk riffs antagonizing the audience with his disposition, compositions, and banter with (give him shit) bass player, Luke Asajanian.  Asajanian sported well, in a stoic way, against White’s verbal ribbing, which further brought the listeners into the raw dynamic of the band.  Resident Hero delivers the controlled power of a master-mind bent on perfect power-trio rock.  Strong and ballistic as Resident Hero are, Fair To Midland hit the stage with something a bit more complex.

Plumb to the gills in internal mysticism and external audiencial awe, Fair To Midland took the stage with absolute professionalism and performance.  What else would a band like this deliver, having elected to tour all but 30 days relief in the past 12 months?  This culminated entity, which has become “Fair To Midland,” is anything but average.  Conceived in the relatively isolated “scene” of Sulphur Springs, Texas, the caliber of this band rivals the artistry, originality and delivery of the greats.  Woe to those whom may have overlooked this showcase of intelligent artistic music at this time in our lust for originality.

- The High Noon Attendance:  Approximately 60% capacity. 
- The sound: Perfect.
- Adamant believers near stage mouthing every lyric numbered 30.
- Less boisterous supporters standing deep numbered 30.
- Miscellaneous listeners milled about the club rising and receding in the tide of the High Noon.

Driving the whole machine, drummer, Brett Stowers, is solid and heavy despite his personal hippy disposition.  His laid-back personage belies the diligent maelstrom he delivers via kit.  Keyboardist, Matt Langley, appears to be the most contemplative both musically and personally.  Langley speaks like a man who has thrown the compass to the wind, and his keyboard pads and accents linger on the periphery of Fair To Midland.  Bass Player, Jon Dicken, rises comfortably in his groove as the root of the tones and his bond within the band.  And we have the rail-thin guitarist, Cliff Campbell:  An amicable presence at the merch table and onstage.  Shirtlessly ripping the gamut of guitar trapeze antics from Steely Dan to Metallica.  And over the top of it all we find the Fair To Midland anomaly:  The abstruse mythic character, Darroh Sudderth, with that perfected voice.  More a figure than a human; in fact, the only aspect of the performance, which could have been improved, was Sudderth’s lack of any personal communication with the audience.  The elusive singer chooses to play sound-bites between songs rather than actually communicating with the audience.  Perhaps in the bigger markets of L.A. or New York, etc… the distance from audience to stage is appreciated or necessary, but in the smaller markets, folks appreciate a little one-on-one communication.  A little something in the moment and verbally shared from Darroh to the audience between a song or two might have bonded the humanity a little more at this gathering.  The question is:  How impersonal or personal can the artist allow to be?

Overall live show rating:  8 of 10.