Mississippi Nights, July 20, 2002
OK, time for another Midnite review. They came back through town last nite (Saturday the 20th), this time playing at Mississippi Nights, and it was a show for the ages.
It was an extremely hot and humid day and the weather probably effected the turnout, as it was much lower than anticipated. But the faithful who attended were loud and vocal and the vibe was intense.
Doors opened at 8 p.m. and there was a 2 1/2 hour roots and dub spin by DJ Zera Zion. The crowd was filing in and at 10:30 the band entered and took the stage 10 minutes later. They proceeded to play for 176 minutes straight! That is 4 minutes shy of 3 hours! And the only reason they left was because the curfew was at 1:30 am and they were forced to stop. It was one of the most incredible concerts I've ever witnessed.
They played at a smaller venue (Club Viva) their last 2 visits, but last night's show at Mississippi Nights afforded the crowd an incredible setting to see this band. The thing about them, though, is they're not into being on stage to be seen. They're all about the music. Early on the lighting was so dim you could barely see the band members. They brightened them a little bit with some soft lights, but basically it was real low key. No spotlights or anything like that. Real dark the whole night.
They started off with "Love Jah" and I'm tellin ya, they sounded tight. Anyone who reads my posts knows that I think they're the hottest band on the planet, and last night's show only added to it. I mean, they sounded great. Phil on bass is incredible and he has a really cool presence as he just lays down some wicked bass lines. The floor was vibrating and the walls were shaking. It was loud. Bosie on drums was, as usual, right on. It was real dark so you could barely see him, but he was right there. Abijah on guitar was really playing those chopped chords, with some solos thrown in, and Ron on keyboards was his usual effervescent self, creating just real rootsy sounds on his keys and just having a great time. But the focal point again was Vaughn on lead vocals. He is incredible. People would stand there wide-eyed with their jaw dropped, just not believing what they were witnessing. He was that intense. Daniel Frankston from San Fran flew in and was blown away. A couple of guys - Kevin and Stephan Parker - flew in from South Carolina and were knocked out.
Seriously, Vaughn Benjamin is one of the most articulate and intelligent guys I've ever met. I spent some time with him prior to the show and he just mesmerizes people with his conversation. He is so fascinating. On stage there's no one I'd rather see. He has got the most intense presence. And the man's lyrics are heavy, deep and righteous. When the music is down and he starts speed rapping it is just incredibly captivating. Words can barely do him justice...
Songs from the new disc were incredible. They really change them up which is cool. They played way too many tunes to mention here, but suffice to say, they covered all the bases. "Bushman, "Rasta Man Stand," "Lion Wears the Crown," "Meditation" "Don't Move," "Birthright Is The Ticket," "Love The Life You Live," "Mama Africa," "Due Reward," "Love Right (Live Right)" and many more. They ended with an incredible version of "Urt." They were then playing some more but were quickly ushered off stage due to the curfew...
All in all, it was just as promised: an incredible evening from an incredible band. If you like your reggae serious and hard-core - but with a real roots feel - Midnite is the band for you. I hear they'll be undertaking an extensive tour later in the year. If they come to your area, do NOT miss them. They're guaranteed to blow you away...
Somehow this morning they hopped in a van and drove 8 or so hours to Lincoln, Nebraska and are performing right now. How, I have no idea. The energy they put out on stage last night will be talked about in St. Louis for a long time...
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