Photos by Alexander Just. Words by Casey Carlson
When you think of eras like the 80’s and 90’s, you’re likely to think of the art and culture of that era more than any economic or societal events. Especially if you never lived in those eras, or, like me, werent there for very long. Thanks to the internet, streaming services, and vintage shops, we have access to all the elements of retro-futurism. We can wear the clothes, listen to the music, and even explore the alternative realities those times could have been. The Midnight is a band that makes songs for that alternative past. They conjure the essence of the alcantara and denim, Walter Mondale 80s that we yearned for (particularly us Minnesotans) but never quite experienced. They’re the soundtrack of dreaming of a past we never had. After all, That is the definition of nostalgia.
You wouldn’t be wrong if you thought of The Midnight as just making music. But if you think of them as making soundtracks, then their appeal would click. Fans and critics alike compare their music to feeling like an action hero, and it takes a group of heavy, stereo synths, and reverbed saxophone solos to conjure that sensation. The cinematic, climatic feel of their soundtracks are a significant part of their allure, adding to the fun of their live performances.
Speaking of saxophone solos, there was no shortage of them last night – and remarkably – they never lost their luster. Whenever Justin Klunk’s saxophone let out a wailing note to begin a solo, the crowd erupted in cheers. In an age where many audiences barely make noise for the opening notes of a guitar solo, the inclusion of the saxophone in their songs feels both vital and exceptionally rare. The Midnight even added inflatable saxophones to their merch lineup – also popular in the crowd.
Taking in the scene, it was evident that The Midnight had attracted a wide-ranging crowd. Men embraced a vibrant array of tropical button-up shirts, and women rocked glowing neon sunglasses. Meanwhile, others favored jean jackets, whether as an homage to bygone eras or purely coincidental due to the cooling fall temperatures. The Midnight had chosen the ideal season for their visit, arriving just as us northerners started yearning for summer and bracing ourselves for the forthcoming shorter, frigid days. A perfect group to help rekindle the spirit.