Midnite Roars In Santa Cruz
December 11, 2009
Veteran's Hall, Santa Cruz, California
By: Ranking Kirk
Friday December 11th, 2009, Midnite took the stage at the
Santa Cruz California Veterans Hall at 10:30PM. I had never been to a
Veterans Hall Midnite show in Santa Cruz but, I had heard it was a great
venue to see them. This was a classic Midnite show…Veterans Halls a no
frills hall, wooden structure built in 1932 offering the acoustics for roots
music to penetrate the wooden beams and to shake the earthen foundation. A
classic show for Midnite, no need for a warm up group, just take the
stage…play for three hours and walk off the stage when the message has been
delivered….. Midnite does not need a flashy night club or festival line up
because it limits them to less than their three hours of delivering the
finest modern roots music.
If you are not familiar with Midnite, the band currently consists of Vaughn
Benjamin (words & vocals), Ron Benjamin (bass & vocals), Sly Molina-Curet
(drums), Edmund Fieulleteau (rhythm guitar), Edwin (Kenny) Byron (guitar),
and Ras L. (keyboards). The Benjamin brothers are the heart and soul of
Midnite with their current line up of handpicked musicians of similar mind.
Midnite as a band and Vaughn Benjamin as “the” Rastafarian roots soul
messenger are at the top of their game with Vaughn having over forty CD’s to
the Midnite name. For Midnite it is not “about da money” but the true
unadulterated Rastafarian roots musical message. Midnite’s music is raw, yet
refined to the simple elements that make reggae roots music the power of……..
words, and sound. Vaughn is “the King” of this message and can mesmerize
those roots fans that are willing to accept their music.
For Santa Cruz the songs that served as the starting point for Midnite to
craft them into a fifteen plus minute vibe that drenched the crowd in the
moment of the music. My best attempt to name the songs include: 1-Lion
Speaks , 2-Rasta Man Still Stand (Ras Mek Peace), 3-The Eyes are the Light
(Unpolished), 4-Don’t Move (Unpolished) 5-Time and Time again (Unpolished),
6-Repatriation Song (Kayamagan), 7-Listen (Rule the time), 8-I Chant (Kayamagan),
9-Love Yourself (??) 10-Bushman (Unpolished), 11- Is Real (Rule the Time).
This show, like most in the California areas had the perfect Midnite sound
mix, and a “shout out” to the sound man “Loren” whom has dialed in their
sound to the one drop pick of Edwin’s guitar solos. These songs began the
message and the journey of time travel, because before you know it three
hours have passed in a roots vibe that cannot be duplicated. It is always
interesting to me the turning point of a show, at the hour and half to the
two hour mark where Midnite converts or loses those members of the crowd
that can’t make it the full three hours. Too often, too many in the crowd
realize they are in for more than they bargained for…………. this is the real
deal, roots on roots, a raw dose of bass thumping applied to the heart that
rattles your soul. You need to be committed….Midnite’s music makes some
current reggae music seem like a soulless pop song, far different then what
is actually delivered for three hours of the finest roots..
Santa Cruz proved to be a classic Midnite performance that ended at 1:30AM
in the morning. During the show a local painter attempted to capture the
vibe on canvas……he ended the night with a roaring rasta lion. Midnite’s roar
truly smothered the Santa Cruz crowd in a true roots reggae form , with a
serious and sincere message for those willing to accept it.
Many Midnite Fans from Santa Cruz and beyond………….. accepted this message.
Rankingkirk is a Journalist,
musician, and music researcher. Writing about the music industry since the
80’s with articles and reviews published from the English Beat to the
Rolling Stones. Rankingkirk is a follower of the Midnite Roots message from
over 30 live performances.