The Middle East/I Want That You Are Always Happy

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When I was in  my early 20s, I was lucky enough to see  The Middle East in concert at the famous Laneway Festival (Circa 2011).

When I was there, I, like a lot of people wept at the gorgeous tunes to come from this Townsville native band consisting of the following past members and accomplished musicians in their own right,

Jordan Ireland
Rohin Jones
Bree Tranter
Joseph Ireland
Mark Myers
Jack Saltmiras
Mike Haydon
Tim Barwise
Javed Sterritt
Jared Jones

Their first release, Recordings of the Middle East (2009) EP was a gorgeous introduction to the band:

  1. The Darkest Side
  2. Lonely
  3. Blood
  4. Fools Gold
  5. Beleriand

Their debut album, I Want That You Are Always Happy (2011) has a special place in my heart…

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Tracks including Months and The Land of the Bloody Unknown are unmistakably, quintessential Australian themed.

There’s a minstrel singing of the holy dove
On the mountain of old St Jerome
There is glass on the floor of the hallway I walk
When the stars bear down from their throne
And the old southern cross is shown
And it points down the sad road home
To the land of the bloody unknown

They announced their separation later that year and I’m not afraid to say I’ve wept since thinking I’d never get the honour and privilege of hearing them again.

Fast forward several years (now I’m 30!) and one desperately sad band break-up later, The Middle East are re-forming to play a special gig at Vivid Sydney.

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I got wind of the Vivid concert the day I turned 30 and I felt it an omen. Immediately, I set an alarm to buy tickets to see this treasured band at the one and only Sydney Opera House as part of the yearly festival tradition that is Vivid:Sydney.

Immediately, I thought of the meaning the band gave to my 20s, the love and longing in their lyrics spurred something in me. Indeed when I was homesick at university in Washington, D.C., all I needed to hear was, “Months” and I was immediately transported to my homecoming to Sydney.

 

Well I seen many places
And they all been seen before
I done lost my Jack Luck spirit
I’m goin’ back to Hitch at home

The band have numerous standout tracks, especially “Blood” which was even featured in a Hollywood movie (Crazy, Stupid Love)

 

To say I am excited to see The Middle East on Friday is an understatement. It’s difficult to articulate ones feelings about something that helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel of homesickness. I can’t wait to sing and cry along with the band…

More than anything I cherish how bands can make me feel and articulate some things that I can’t quite articulate myself.

To The Middle East, thank you for making me (and us) feel – even if it is the pangs of homesickness. Thanks to you guys I acknowledge fondly and know to which brown land I belong more now than ever before.

There’s a black dog watching over me in my sleep
And I stir just to toss him the bone
There’s a red moon rising on the hills tonight
Where the stars bear down from their throne
And the old southern cross is shown
And it points down the sad road home

Finally, to Spunk records for making this reunion a reality, thank you, endlessly.

hey hitch, hey hitch I’m comin’ home 

…And finally, my most beloved song of theirs, “Lonely”

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We have material minds
And restless hands
Longing hearts
And lonely beds
But we purchase stuff
And work too hard
Use our heads
And fill our beds

What’ve we done?

What’ve we done?

And we’re left with wretched hearts
And mangled minds
Concrete feet
And beggars lies
But we live our lives
On broken earth
We need repair our eyes [?]
To kiss the dirt

What’ve we done

What’ve we done

But what do you do when you’re out of touch, what do you do?
And how do you live with a conscience so caught up, how do you live?

Oh what do you do when you’re out of touch, what do you do?
And how do you live with a conscience so caught up, how do you live?

Oh what do you do when you’re out of touch, what do you do?
And how do you live with a conscience so caught up?
So caught up
So caught up
So caught up

So caught up
So caught up
So caught up
So caught up

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