Reviews

Show Review: The Midnight visits Phoenix for a funky throwback show

Los Angeles duo The Midnight got into the groove at The Van Buren last week. The synth-pop group brought Violet Days for a vibrant show where everyone could dance the night away.

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Swedish artist Violet Days provided the sole support for this tour, bathing the venue in pink, blue and purple light. Singer Lina Hansson’s dreamy indie-pop vocals soared to the rafters as attendees trickled into the room. Despite the lighter crowd, Violet Days commanded attention with their energy, musicianship and incredible vocal talent.

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The group enhanced their set with tracks filled with synths, harmonies and drum sounds not provided by the drum machine onstage. They also featured live guitar as Hansson weaved these sounds into a tapestry of stellar pop music. Fans lit up their phones midway through and kept dancing for new single “Afterparty”. Violet Days was a solid opening pick- their vibe meshing perfectly with the rest of the night in store.

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The Midnight took their lighting production to another level, drenching the room with beams and strobes. Drawing from retro imagery and synthwave sounds, the duo of Tyler Lyle and Tim McEwan turned the room into an 80’s-inspired club for the duration of their set.

They played tracks from their latest album, along with a few older tunes before a rousing and unexpected cover of Don Henley’s “The Boys of Summer”. Lyle and McEwan enlisted multi-instrumentalist Lito Hernandez on saxophone, adding a brand new dimension to the set and drawing huge cheers with every solo.

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One thing about The Midnight- they’re new to live shows but the fans are mad into it. The Van Buren was packed on a Wednesday night for the upbeat group- dancing and shouting along to every song. The Midnight is a layered, multifaceted band with so many talents. Lyle’s vocals filled the room, McEwan’s energy had fans pushing for the barricade and Hernandez’s sax pierced a new layer into each song. Their sound is funky and fresh while paying homage to all of their throwback influences.

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Violet Days’ Hansson joined The Midnight at the halfway point for a dancey duet to “Jason” that even had the back of the room bobbing their heads enthusiastically. Lyle dedicated “The Comeback Kid” to “anyone who’s had a rough time recently”, adding a message of relatability and positivity to the night.

The clear winner of the evening was “Vampires”, a total jam that found Hernandez wandering through the crowd blasting away on his saxophone. Landing on the bleacher seating at the back of the room, fans rushed the area to party along.

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Lyle and McEwan paused at the end to thank the adoring audience, admitting that they were never sure that a live set was going to be possible when they started The Midnight. Shouts of “it works!” made them both chuckle sheepishly as they picked things right back up to end their set with a love letter called “Los Angeles”.

At this point, one has to stay for the encore and no one wanted this night to end. The trio returned for “Lost and Found” and the enormously popular “Sunset”. It may have been late on a school/work night, but The Midnight’s set definitely kept everyone up for hours, riding the wave of electricity and joy that this band radiates.

 

Story and photos by Olivia Khiel 

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