Music: It surrounds us. It penetrates us. It binds the universe together! It can affect us mentally, physically and intellectually. A song you love, or even hate, can pretty much pinpoint the exact moment in your life when you first hear it. It’s probably the only media on the planet that can do that. You’ll hear a song that you love so much, it’ll stay with you for the rest of your life.
Paul Simon once said, “Music is forever; music should grow and mature with you, following you right on up until you die”. Yes, I love music and perhaps I’m getting a little carried away here, but several weeks ago I heard a song that made the hairs on my neck stand on end! It was as if my soul had just received extensive acupuncture treatment. This song was ‘Jesus Came To My birthday Party’ by… The Middle East
The Middle East are a folk, indie band from Townsville in Australia. I say band, but they’re actually more of a collective with members shifting and shaping over the years.
The two main guys of the collaboration are songwriters, Rohan Jones and Jordan Ireland. They formed back in 2005 when they were just teenagers and The Middle East were no more than a summer project. The band, usually six members, started playing at local events, then toured around the East Coast of Australia, playing at Christian festivals amongst other venues.
In 2008, just after the second EP The Recordings Of The Middle East, they decided to call it a day and amicably split up. While most of them took up menial jobs, Rohan moved to Germany to become an au pair for an Australian couple in Berlin. He worked just two days a week, spending the rest of his time traveling and writing songs. Thankfully, about eight months later on his return to Oz, the band reformed.
The band went on to receive worthy recognition and gained support slots for bands such as US-based Grizzly Bear and Manchester band, Doves. The Middle East’s fabulous debut album, I Want That You Are Always Happy came out earlier this year to critical acclaim.
The 14-track album is an imaginative piece of work using instruments such as electric and acoustic guitars, drums, hand percussion, trumpet, flute, piano and even a glockenspiel! All this may bamboozle the lesser talented folk band, but The Middle East carry it off with great ease and without pretentiousness.
It comes as a huge disappointment to announce that The Middle East played their final show at the Australian Splendour In The Grass festival, at the end of July this year, before subsequently splitting up.
Will they reform again? Who knows? All I can say is that I wish them all the best in future projects and maybe, just maybe, they’ll see eye to eye with each other soon!
This is the aforementioned, Jesus Came To My Birthday Party(above), with keyboardist Bree Tranter taking up lead vocals. The video involves a female, nude fire-dancer. If that’s not enough to draw you in, what is?