MIDDLE Kids have experienced the full gamut of Newcastle gig experiences on past visits to the city.
They played the hedonistic music festival This That last November when frontwoman Hannah Joy was with child and, according to Middle Kids bassist and her husband, Tim Fitz, she "danced like a pregnant person."
And prior to that show the Sydney indie rockers performed at the Cambridge Hotel, where to their shock, a "death pit" opened up in front of them.
There were certainly no death pits on Saturday night - COVID-safe regulations guaranteed that - when Middle Kids performed to a sold-out Newcastle City Hall for Great Southern Nights.
The night began with Sydney's Georgia Mulligan playing solo. Mulligan's indie-folk is reminiscent of early Angel Olsen, and while she possesses a stunning voice, her music lacked dynamics.
The ornate surrounds of City Hall certainly inspired Middle Kids to rise to the occasion.
"I don't think anyone here deserves to be escorted to their seat," joked Joy after opening the night with an unreleased song that allowed her emotional vocal to echo around the high ceilings of the hall.
Fitz crouched at his wife's feet as he played bass and tweaked the effects pedals.
Next came the upbeat Big Softy, before the band really clicked on the energetic Never Start. Even though the crowd were seated and socially distanced, they made their appreciation known.
Despite performing emotionally-charged songs, there's something slightly kooky about Middle Kids in an endearing way.
Both Fitz and drummer Harry Day look like they work in IT, while Joy provides the obvious star quality. However, there was zero too-cool-rock-star posturing from Joy. Instead she constantly hammed it up with quirky facial expressions and banter.
Joy appeared like she was loving every minute.
Each of the three took turns to speak to the audience. "The best thing about these socially-distanced shows is it's so much easier to sell out venues," Day said.
"That's why we're gonna play McDonald Jones Stadium next weekend. Get your tickets."
Edge Of Town was Middle Kids' first and biggest hit and was the song which propelled them onto US talk shows. In a surprise move the track was thrown in mid-set and it created a clap along before exploding into the crescendo of the outro.
Joy then brought the mood down with a solo performance of Salt Eyes on piano before her bandmates returned to the stage and Day provided more banter.
"During COVID Hannah got a PT and got ripped," Day said. "I spent nine months watching Keanu Reeves movies and drinking beer."
Bought It, new single R U 4 Me and Mistake followed in quick succession and further solidified Middle Kids' knack for writing anthemic indie-pop with heart.
The heartfelt nature of their music was exemplified in the finale of the night. Joy stood back from the microphone with an acoustic guitar and let her voice fill Newcastle City Hall on an uplifting rendition of Don't Be Hiding.
Her bandmates put down their instruments and stood behind Joy singing backing vocals in a truly gorgeous moment.
To the chagrin of the audience there was no encore, but nobody could deny they didn't receive their money's worth. This was the way to experience Middle Kids in Newcastle.