Middle of the Map Fest brings indie music to local scene

Courtney Woodworth, Staff photographer

I arrived at The Beaumont Club around 4 p.m. expecting to see music fans lining up to grab wristbands for Ink magazine’s Middle of the Map Fest.
But instead, my friend and I were the first two at the venue.
I guess I overestimated the popularity of indie music.
The bands, Paper Route, Work Drugs, Maps & Atlases and Two Door Cinema Club, all performed at The Beaumont Club.
Paper Route, an electric pop band from Tennessee, set the bar for the rest of the performers. Each member of the band had a unique stage presence that lent itself well to the set.
Their emotional attachment to each song was evident — facial expressions, interaction with one another onstage, movements and all.
They played songs off of their latest album Absence, and a couple from older EPs. The group plans to release another album soon.
From what I could tell, they did not seem to have many fans in the audience. But I can guarantee that every person left planning to buy their music.
At most concerts I’ve attended, there is at least one band that I want off the stage as fast as possible.
Work Drugs was this band at Middle of the Map.
Don’t get me wrong — their music is pretty good.
Their stage presence, however, is just really bad. The most movement the lead singer did was move his leg. A girl backup singer swayed her hips the whole time. The drummer chewed gum. The keyboardist showed the most intensity while singing — which I do give props for. I couldn’t even see the bassist.
They did have catchy music, just not concert-worthy music.
Then came Maps and Atlases to give an incredible performance.
They played songs with emotion and energy — the lead singer thanked the creators of Middle of the Map too many times to count. They seemed genuinely happy to be playing music.
There were some technical difficulties, but they weren’t at fault for that.
They played fan favorites like “Witch,” and “Solid Ground.” Overall it was a really strong performance.
For some reason, set changes and sound checks seemed to take forever at this show. The audience was kind of impatient; but, music played overhead helped calm them down.
Everyone surged forward as soon as Two Door Cinema Club took the stage–it was evident who the audience came to see.
I was not able to stay for the whole performance but the few songs I saw were incredible.
They opened with “Cigarettes in the Theater,” then proceeded to play songs from their whole career.
Each song they played was filled with energy and intense emotion. They ran around the stage with chaotic movement, but it was fitting for their music.
It’s such a unique experience to see bands perform in the early years of their career. The bands I saw at Middle of the Map have the potential to become Indie sensations — or even hit the radio.
As for now, they perform for a bunch of unenthusiastic hipsters.