Saturday, 26 May 2007

REVIEW: The Midnights

By Lucy Wyatt

Fresh, young and seriously reggae The Midnights hit the stage at Bar Bodega on Friday night supporting the groovers that are Dubdoubt. A 100% New Zealand band based in Auckland, The Midnights feature members Leo Horgan (guitar and vocals), Joe Keating (bass), Chris Varnham (organ), and Berin Hunter aka B-Dog (drums). These boys are putting the raw roots back into reggae with their mellow Kiwi tip and their tightly fused live performance. The rather quiet crowd at Bodega got warmed up quickly as The Midnights pushed the levels up with their freestyle, improvised jamming.

Revving up the mood a little with a reggae fusion, incorporating twists of ska, R&B, experimental jazz and soul. Leo’s voice has a surprisingly mature and experienced edge, combined with his wide and radiant smile; he has all the ingredients of a charismatic front man. The Midnights already have an established following due to their strong array of gigs performed in the last year. Supporting the cream of New Zealand’s crop and reinforcing their status with a music video for the track Sweet Togetherness that got aired on all the main music channels, The Midnights are truly going places. Outside Looking In saw a familiar response from the crowd, perhaps recognized from the album Conscious Roots 3.

True Progress has a very catchy rift and some true ragga MC’ing producing a very solid, rounded reggae track that would not be out of its depth playing at international festivals. A collection of goodies behind them, including their limited edition ep Hot Country, The Midnights are not shy to push their ripened sound forward where they are destined to be. Projecting such a relaxed style and what seems like an effortless tightness, this is what you expect to hear and feel from a unique soulful reggae act. Keep an eye on The Midnights as they certainly won’t be crashing early.

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