The list of successful UK melodic rock acts is a frustratingly short one, but Midnite City must be going about things the right way. After releasing a pair of excellent albums in short succession they recently enjoyed the prestige of two shows in Tokyo, before returning to play their most extensive UK tour yet.
More and more of the less well known bands in this genre are struggling to find London venues for tours, so I was delighted theirs opened with only their second ever date in the capital, the first a very impressive support for Vega last year. However it was a gig with a difference, forming part of the long-running glam and sleaze club night, Decadence.
While this did mean that the exuberantly youthful, extravagantly coiffed club regulars swelled the crowd, dedicated fans were ill-served by the band not taking the stage until 1030, after a seemingly interminable support slot from Aussie band Ablaze. Combined with an off central venue, this meant at least two of my friends who had come to see them had to leave mid-set to catch last trains to Kent.
Although a new band, they have past pedigree, notably in the form of Tigertailz singer Rob Wylde and Pete Newdeck who has played drums for Eden’s Curse and a whole host of other bands. This experience showed in a very professional stage set up, with band logo and even pop up display boards to either side of the stage.
Rob is a consummate frontman with the right glammy image, supported by fellow blondes Miles Meakin whose guitar work was melodic and effortlessly fluent throughout, and Shawn Charvette, his portable keyboard giving the crowd full view of exactly what he was playing.
Opener ‘We Belong’ was initially undermined by some sound gremlins but both ‘Ghosts of My Old Friends’ and ‘Life Ain’t Like This On The Radio’ epitomised the Midnite City sound, up tempo with good time lyrics and relentlessly melodic. It may be an overused observation but Danger Danger is the most obvious comparison (with a touch of Firehouse and early Bon Jovi) with Miles’ guitar in particular very much in the style of current DD six stringer Rob Marcello.
They reached a new peak with the anthemic ‘Here Comes The Party’ with its ‘there goes the neighbourhood’ lyric which inspired the title of their sophomore album. The only issue was that many of the songs were similar in tempo so a power ballad ‘Heaven’s Falling’ was a welcome mid set interlude which it was easy to imagine getting MTV airplay in the heyday of ‘’Headbangers Ball’.
A brief guitar and keyboard instrumental interlude gave way to two of the best songs of the set- ‘One Step Away’ with a real vibe of prime time Rick Springfield and the superb hooks of ‘Hard To Get Over’. However ‘Until the End’ and ‘Last Beat Of My Heart’ – both of which featured on a special acoustic EP on sale for the tour- I found rather ordinary in comparison.
Nevertheless the set picked up with ‘Things She Said’ and one of the songs I fondly remember from that Vega tour, the fun ‘Summer Of Our Lives’ (even though it reminded me of Bon Jovi’s Story of My Life’. ’Give Me Love’ featured perhaps Miles’ best solo of the night and by the time of set closer ‘Can’t Wait For The Nights ‘ (with again a strong comparison to Danger Danger’s ‘Crazy Nites’), this was one particular night I didn’t want to end.
Just as impressive was the fact that they played 15 songs in a generous 80 minute set with little padding. Despite the somewhat unusual set up of the evening it was confirmation that Midnite City have targeted a specific sound and are nailing it as well as any band at present.
Review and photos by Andy Nathan
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