The Middlenight Men Dominate With Rock ‘N’ Roll Extravaganza

It is not often you see a debut album release show with such strong visual branding from the band. Black and white tie attire with a painted strike of black across their eyes, The Middlenight Men are the eight-piece rock’ n’ roll extravaganza with their sights set on the big time. 

The Middlenight Men

The Underworld, Camden – 3 May 2024

Words: Monty Sewell

Photography: Ryan Hildrew

Put together by the London-based, well-known musician Nick Hughes, the band have been gracing us with drips and drabs of their impending release, which was set to a packed out crowd at Camden’s The Underworld. A steady flow of Friday-night-eyed punters had become a moshed audience of ready-to-rock music lovers.

The Middlenight Men - Camden Underworld - 3 May 2024
The Middlenight Men – Camden Underworld – 3 May 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

Joining Hughes were Heidi Cotton on guitar, Andy Brook on guitar, Bob McDougall on bass, Hannah Grimes on vocals, Leon Cave (of Status Quos) on drums, Andy Watts on trumpet, and Liz Mitchell on saxophone. The wild thing was that with this many players on stage, the seamless way in which the music was carried out was phenomenal—a professional sweep like no other. 

The Middlenight Men - Camden Underworld - 3 May 2024
The Middlenight Men – Camden Underworld – 3 May 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

In a testament to the band, they open with The Middlenight Men Theme, taken from the night’s celebratory album, Issue 2. Slicker than a Thunderbird’s hair, the music immediately pounded the room with an unpalpable fun energy. If you have not seen the band before, fear not. From the get-go, we know exactly what we are getting into. An exhilaratingly good time. 

The Middlenight Men - Camden Underworld - 3 May 2024
The Middlenight Men – Camden Underworld – 3 May 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

Being an album launch, the show’s first half was purely dedicated to showcasing their smartly manoeuvred big sound and anthemic, feel-good lyrics. Bruno, Fighting Styler, and The Fear are one hit after another. Frontman Hughes brings the large-scale show into one, embracing his audience into total Middlenight Men domination. 

The Middlenight Men - Camden Underworld - 3 May 2024
The Middlenight Men – Camden Underworld – 3 May 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

Cotton, Brook, and Hughes’ sleek, stylised guitar work sits perfectly above the rhythm section as each member turns to rip-roar the venue into a whirlwind of eight-piece band enticement. 

The Middlenight Men - Camden Underworld - 3 May 2024
The Middlenight Men – Camden Underworld – 3 May 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

Taking a few numbers to dip back into tracks from their first record, Issue 1, the accompanying horn section adds that touch of upper-echelon full-band sophistication. It is rare these days to see these elements tied into the Rock genre, and after tonight, I can say we need more. 

The Middlenight Men - Camden Underworld - 3 May 2024
The Middlenight Men – Camden Underworld – 3 May 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

Prison Of Love is serenely enrapturing, while the pandemic-era release B. A. Baby hits that sweet spot. If you are looking for entry-level listening to the band, head for those and be instantaneously hooked. 

The Middlenight Men - Camden Underworld - 3 May 2024
The Middlenight Men – Camden Underworld – 3 May 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

The glories of an album release gig continue in good form as we get The Machine, Sirens, The Kids We Want To Be and Living In The Heart Of Hell from Issue 2. What is noticeable is the amount of fun The Middlenight Men have onstage together.

Making the Underworld stage feel ten times its size, each musician moves around as they play, weaving in and out of each other whilst throwing playful gurns at their audience. 

The Middlenight Men - Camden Underworld - 3 May 2024
The Middlenight Men – Camden Underworld – 3 May 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

The whole set is not just a gig but a theatrical performance piece with enough hard-hitting riff power craft to get the studded leather wearers howling. Coursing into Heroine Heights kicks the whole show on with its galloping-like energy. 

The Middlenight Men - Camden Underworld - 3 May 2024
The Middlenight Men – Camden Underworld – 3 May 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

Longest Goodbye feels- ironically – far too short as we hit the last part of the show with Rat Star and They’ll Be The Ones. The eclectic mix which makes up the audience begins to wail out for more. With a slightly earlier curfew than usual, the show may be over, but the night is far from it. 

The Middlenight Men - Camden Underworld - 3 May 2024
The Middlenight Men – Camden Underworld – 3 May 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

Pumped with adrenaline from a show that will surely be spoken about in the following months, The Middlenight Men’s newly indoctrinated fandom files up to the adjoining pub with the words of every small impressive aspect of the night on their lips. 

The Middlenight Men - Camden Underworld - 3 May 2024
The Middlenight Men – Camden Underworld – 3 May 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

There is something so immersive about a band that doesn’t only play but takes the time to build an entirely different universe around themselves with such dedication to their craft. If you are looking for a band that is both large but detailed, enigmatic, and utterly enthused with pure rocket energy, look no further. 

Have a listen to the album and keep an eye out for their following upcoming shows. 

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