Exactly 6 years after the missus and I last set foot together in a music venue, we found ourselves watching The Midnight live last night.

I discovered The Midnight in 2014, not long after the release of their first album, Days of Thunder. The synthwave duo consists of New York based singer-songwriter Tyler Lyle, and LA based Danish-born producer, songwriter and singer Tim McEwan. Now the band has set out on a their first European tour, and the very first stop was Oslo.

Unfortunately, The Midnight’s gig in Oslo had sold out long before I even realized they were coming. But Anniken managed to pull some of her few magical strings in Oslo’s music scene, and got us both on the guest list for yesterday night’s performance.

What a great Christmas present that was!

The Midnight on Tape.

In a sea of synthwave and 80’s synth-pop bands, the Midnight manages to stand out from the crowd thanks to their somewhat distinct sound. This is mostly because of Lyle’s amazing tenor1, almost feminine, vocals.

In the course of 5 years, The Midnight has released no less than 7 full length albums and EPs. Granted, two of them are instrumental versions of previously released albums, and one is a remix album2, but it’s still an impressive production rate for a two-man-band.

My favorite album is the first, Days of Thunder, with the second LP release Endless Summer, as a very close runner up. The first EP, Nocturnal, also has a lot of nice tracks. Their most recent album, however, the 2018 release Kids, is a bit too soft for my taste. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just that the other releases are so much better.

Savoir Adore.
Savoir Adore, support act for The Midnight on their European tour.

The Midnight Live.

The problem with some tenors is that they sound great on tape, but truly terrible live. Thankfully, that’s not the case with The Midnight’s Tyler Lyle, who sounds absolutely amazing live as well.

With them on the European tour, The Midnight brings along a sax player whose name I didn’t quite catch, despite Lyle telling the crowd several times. Adding a sax player to the band during the live performances is a stroke of genius. Many of the band’s songs are heavy on the saxophone side, and the energetic saxophone player adds a bit of moment to an otherwise pretty static performance.

The Midnight live doesn’t offer any huge surprises. Most of the songs are performed more or less exactly as they sound on the albums. This is good because the audience will get the familiar The Midnight experience, but on the flip-side it means that the concert doesn’t add much to what you would have experienced at home with the volume turned to 11.

The Midnight on stage at John Dee in Oslo, Norway.
The Midnight on stage at John Dee in Oslo, Norway.

The Return of The Midnight.

But all in all, The Midnight’s performance at a packed John Dee yesterday night was a raging success. Despite what looked like some initial problems with the gear before the band appeared on stage, both the crowd and the performers had a great time. It must be an insane experience for a band to come to a rather small, 400 people club venue on other side of the pond, and hear that the majority of the crowd is singing along from the first song they perform.

It certainly helps on the crowd’s participation that The Midnight has a lot of songs that are great for sing-along, like Gloria, Days of Thunder, and even America 2 from the most recent album, Kids.

Tonight, The Midnight is performing another sold out show, this time in Stockholm, Sweden. If you missed yesterday’s concert in Oslo, fear not. The Midnight is scheduled to return to Oslo on October 23, this time performing at Rockefeller Music Hall. The venue has more than three times the capacity of John Dee, so the chance of securing a ticket is much better.

The End.

Footnotes

  1. I know nothing about music theory, but I think he’s a tenor.
  2. The Midnight Remixed contains some fantastic tracks, including two remixes by the mysterious Michael Cassette.