Taking Issue With: The Middlenight Men, The Underworld, Camden, May 3 2024

With the sort of tunes that scream hook, line and chorus, The Middlenight Men returned to our Capital for the launch show of 'Issue #2

Words and Pictures: Adrian Hextall / MindHex Media 

With the sort of tunes that scream hook, line and chorus, The Middlenight Men returned to our Capital for the launch show of ‘Issue #2′ the follow up to the critically acclaimed ‘Issue #1′. The latest album, packed full of ear worm tunes, (see Tim Croydon’s review at the foot of this page) deserved its moment in the spotlight and Nick Hughes once more called “Assemble” on his bunch of masked heroes and along with crowd favourite, Daniel Lucas (AKA Boss Caine) and newcomers (to me at least) Slackrr who helped get the evening off to a fantastic start. 

Boss Caine

At 6:40pm sharp (it’s a Friday night so club night meant early doors) Boss Caine took to the stage. Dan Lucas, complete with flat cap and acoustic guitar took us on a mellow and immensely hummable journey as only a modern singer \ songwriter could. He was a good choice to open the show as The Middlenight Men bring a historic Wildhearts crowd to the venue and a Wildhearts crowd is also a Ginger crowd and a Ginger crowd loves Boss Caine, having played with the many on multiple occasions. 

With what could easily have been a typical acoustic opener so the crowd talk whilst drinking, it was pleasing to see the crowd paying Dan their due respects and keeping their mouths shut other than to cheers, applaud and, for those that knew his tunes and there were more than a few, sing along as well. 

https://bosscainemusic.bandcamp.com/

Slackrr

Three piece Pop Punk/Melodic Punk from Southampton, Slackrr were out in support of latest album, ‘Set The Night On Fire’ and that’s precisely what they chose to do. If Boss Caine got the ball rolling and left everyone feeling warm and fuzzy about the night ahead, then Slackrr clearly thought, “sod that” let’s have a party and proceeded to deliver the sort of energy that should only take place in a music venue after 9pm. 

The three piece have clearly made the most of their time together and 3 albums in relatively quick succession suggest that not only do they enjoy playing alongside each other, they’re also right in the middle of a creative streak at the moment. They’re also doing the right thing by playing multiple gigs and festivals over the coming weeks which can only help them hone their craft to perfection. Looking at their 2023 tour dates, it seems like the band were never at home so fair play because where there’s a will to succeed then Slackrr should be headlining arenas before too long. 

The smiles were infectious, the hooks were loud and raw, the songs were hugely entertaining and whilst I initially thought the supports had too long on stage at the expense of the headliner (purely from the stage times provided) I’m glad I was proven wrong and I’ve come away with a new fave pop punk act. They have more dates this month and you can catch them at: 

10 THE WINCHESTER GATE, SALISBURY
11 THE BRIT, WESTON-SUPER-MARE
15 BANNERMAN’S BAR, EDINBURGH [SCO]
16 BLOC+, GLASGOW [SCO]
17 THE LODGE, BRIDLINGTON
18 THE SHED, LEICESTER
23 ROSIE’S, CHESTER
24 R-FEST AT RETRO, MANCHESTER
25 NICE N SLEAZY FESTIVAL, MORECAMBE
26 CURSUS FESTIVAL, DORSET
31 DEADWAX, BIRMINGHAM
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The Middlenight Men

And so to our headliners. Rumours are rife that ‘this is it’. Victim to the rising costs of putting out new music, needing a venue big enough to house up to 8 or 9 people on stage at the same to present the ‘full’ Middlenight Men sound and more suggest that founder and MM visionary Nick Hughes simply can’t do it all himself anymore. Whether or not we get more of what we want depends on fan demand, Nick potentially being open to backing tracks for the horns work (just a suggestion) or anything that means he doesn’t have to hire venues like the Underworld where even then, the horns section remained perched at the side of the stage because ‘more’ was needed. 

What it didn’t stop though was a packed crowd at the Underworld showing their appreciation for the Camden Avengers who led by Nick Hughes’ Tony Stark took us through an hour of the best of ‘Issue #1′ & ‘Issue #2′. If the first album was a test the water exercise then live, the new material shows just how well the band have progressed and now have something that deserves, no demands, to be heard around the country. 

The triple guitar sound of Heidi Cotton, Nick Hughes and Andy Brook gave the band some real bit and when you combine that with the horns section, the walls in the Underworld truly vibrated. New material ‘The Fear’, ‘Bruno’ and ‘Fighting Skylar’ proved beyond a doubt that the debut was no fluke. ‘Living In The Heart Of Hell’ gives us a glimpse of what ‘Issue #3′ could offer… C’mon Nick you know you want to! 

Of course, those of us who’ve followed the band from the off also wanted to hear those ‘Issue #1′ tunes and we weren’t disappointed. ‘B.A. Baby’ with its clap along chorus is a huge crowd-pleaser and painted smiles 5 miles wide on each and every face in the crowd. The main set closed with the slightly prophetic ‘The Longest Goodbye’. A glorious song which adds another string to the bow and is further (like we needed more!) proof that the collective band of superheroes needs to remain. You can’t dissolve the Justice League… whatever James Gunn says !

Thankfully the band returned for ‘Rat Star’ (cue huge sing along once more) and ‘They’ll Be The Ones‘. 

As Vinnie Jones once said, “It’s been emotional“. 

Dear label people and agents, please pick this band up and do wonders with them. Your public needs it. ‘ 

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Pick up ‘Issue #1’ and ‘Issue #2’ here: 

https://themiddlenightmen.bandcamp.com/

 

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