Thin Line Fest Review: ‘MIDLAKE: LIVE IN DENTON, TX’ – A Visceral Concert Film Experience


10891744_10206514939376329_8032083323192115289_nPreston Barta // Editor

It would seem as though a concert film would be a tough act to sell, especially when you’re Midlake and not Taylor Swift or Miley Cyrus. Doesn’t it make more sense to see concerts at venues and movies in theaters? While that may be the case, most of time we find ourselves looking more at the giant screen to the side of the stage than we do of the actual band. So why not pay to see a concert film? Luckily, the fun and immersive project MIDLAKE: LIVE IN DENTON, TX brings a refreshingly immersive experience to the concert film genre.

In the ever-changing landscape of Denton’s music scene, only a handful of live music venues remain as staples for the evolving sounds of the town. One of those locales is without a doubt Dan’s Silverleaf, where the concert film was captured while Midlake was promoting their fourth album, 2013’s Antiphon.

Visualists Jason Lee (actor in MY NAME IS EARL, ALMOST FAMOUS) and Eric Noren (WAY OUT EAST) joined forces with one of indie’s most dexterous folk-rock groups (Eric Pulido, McKenzie Smith, Paul Alexander, Eric Nichelson, Jesse Chandler and Joey McClellan) to create a raw motion picture event.

Instead of utilizing talking-heads and taking on a more “commercial” approach, co-directors Lee and Noren showcase Midlake’s performance with a stately exploration of the town that made them. Through a series of images, we see Denton’s downtown courthouse on the Square, Morrison’s Corn-Kits, the historical Oak Street estates, Frenchy’s iconic orange trucks, and inside Midlake’s bar (Paschall) among many other recognizable landmarks (if you’re a Dentonite).

Even if you’re not familiar with Midlake’s music or Denton, audiences will appreciate the organic touch and the impressive musicianship that is on display. MIDLAKE: LIVE IN DENTON, TX succeeds at being an enthralling and visceral concert film experience.

MIDLAKE: LIVE IN DENTON, TX will be released for home viewing soon. Follow Midlake on Facebook and/or Twitter for any updates.

For the rest of the lineup for Thin Line Fest and ticket information, visit

Thin Line Fest Trailer:

“Aurora Gone” Official Music Video, directed by Jason Lee

Feature Photo: Midlake frontman Eric Pulido, Jason Lee and Eric Noren at Thin Line Fest in Denton, TX. Photo by Preston Barta.

About author

Preston Barta

I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction ( as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.