Midnight North Magnificent in Albany
(Photos: Ramon Sanchez/ Zak Radick)
Americana rock music was alive and well Friday night in Albany, NY. Packing out the cozy confines of The Hollow Bar + Kitchen, Midnight North made their triumphant return to the Capital Region. With a lengthy set featuring a robust mix of career spanning favorites, brand new songs, and two tasteful covers from The Band (after all, Albany IS Levon country), fans of all ages could be seen shaking their hips, bobbing their heads and singing along well after midnight on a cold and windy Winter evening in Albany.
Opening the show was local up and coming favorites Glass Pony, who wasted no time turning heads with their “psychedelic groove circus.” Playing a set of mostly original music, the jams went long and deep, allowing the staggering chops of these young and exciting musicians to be fully displayed. With fiery takes on songs like “Daydream,” and “Something Good” and closing the set with a cover of “Blackberry Brandy,” an homage to their local mentors, legendary Albany band, The Ominous Seapods, it’s fair to say the band earned a healthy amount of respect from those catching them for the first time.
After a brief intermission, the members of Midnight North – the hard working Bay Area band fronted by lead songwriters Elliott Peck and Grahamme Lesh, took the stage a little after 10pm. Opening with a trifecta of some of their most popular tunes like “Playing a Poor Hand Well,” “Under The Lights,” and “The Highway Song,” the comforting, yet powerful voice of Peck was in full command from the opening notes to the final one. Complemented by the beautiful harmonies and interplay from lead guitarist Lesh, the chemistry between the band was obvious.
After winning the audience over with their originals, it was now time for the first cover of the night, a stunning version of The Bands “When I Go Away,” that had even the hardest and oldest fans in attendance singing along. Segueing nicely into a rocking version of the set staple Miss M and then their latest single, “Long View, “ Midnight North would then go into another cover from The Band, this time, “Don’t Do It,” before wrapping up the night with a powerfully heartbreaking version of “Green County.”
Often pigeonholed as a “jam band” due to the family legacy of the Lesh name, Midnight North put on a performance Friday night that was far from typical. Blending elements of rock and roll, Americana, country, and plenty of soulful blues, combined with well-crafted songwriting, thoughtful lyrics and beautifully engaging harmonies, the sound filling the Hollow was full and fresh and exciting. With a respectful nod to the past, while looking ahead to a bright future, it’s easy to see why this band is earning such a buzz.
With this weekend’s New York dates now in the books, a bit of downtime for Midnight North as they prepare for what will surely be another busy festival season. With confirmed appearances at Winter Wonder Grass, Skull & Roses Festival, Mountain Jam and the Lockn’ Festival already announced, it’s looking like 2020 will be another big year the Bay Area’s most talked about band.