One could almost get sentimental when seeing the intensity of the sunlight coming through the window in the staircase of the WUK venue while Midlake set up for the session. The picture is shimmering in a warm yellow tint, with the sunbeams sometimes taking over completely, then again showing the silhouettes of the band. Summer is saying goodbye for this year, and this video might be a good reminder of beautiful mid-July days. The music of the Texas-based five-piece band, though, supports more the melancholic state of mind. The song they chose for our session, „Small Mountain“ from their deservedly acclaimed 2010-album „The Courage Of Others“, is singer Tim Smiths’ favourite of the new LP. „It was written about when I was in college and my parents lived on the top of this hill. I’d spend time up there and wait tables at my dad’s restaurant. It was just a good time for me, so it was nice to have a song that I can relate to it. I like the melody also, so that’s probably my favourite.“, he told Reverb Magazine, also saying that concert audiences didn’t really connect with that song at first. Hard to imagine, when you listen to the beautiful vocal harmonies in the Viennese sun.
Wuk is short for Werkstätten- und Kulturhaus (Workshop and Culture House) – is not only a venue for concerts. The brick building with its charmingly sleazy cobbled courtyard hosts 130 groups and initiatives, which produce all kinds of non-mainstream-art. The cultural center is subsidised by the City of Vienna, but the groups work autonomously and self-governed. Apart from the concert hall, studios and workshops there is also a café with a nice outdoor area in the WUK courtyard and a self-help bicycle repair shop. The 19th century building was originally used as a factory for train engines. In 1884, the Technologisches Gewerbemuseum (Technologic Trade Museum) moved into today’s WUK and turned it into a place of science, education and exhibitions with the purpose to keep the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy up-to-date in questions of technological development. The monarchy was more than half a century gone when there were still engineers trained in Währinger Straße 59. In 1981, the building was handed over to an association of alternative Viennese artist, teachers, students and other activists.