Live Review: Midnight Magic light up the dancefloor in Chinatown
Lingering amongst the streets of Chinatown in Manhattan is a small unmarked venue nestled somewhere between a Pho joint and a funeral home. Beside the red door, the glow of red lights and the (somehow nonchalant) velvet ropes, you may pass it up as just a back entrance to some establishment you are probably quite indifferent to. But on this Wednesday, you do venture in, into a dim, red-lit hallway, pass the curtains and into a small speak-easy style bar — Le Baron. The misting rain has frayed your coif into an indiscernible mess, but the drinks are strong so you grab your gin, suavely served in a classic large tumbler, head past the small stage area and move upstairs to its balcony lounge.
The band playing tonight, mid-week on a rather warm and steamy night in October, is the disco inspired group Midnight Magic (and if you're the type scared by the word "disco," just insert the word "house" and save yourself the stress). The nine piece ensemble includes former Hercules and Love Affair members Carter Yatusake, Morgan Wiley, and W. Andrew Raposo and fronted by the powerfully resonate vocals of Tiffany Roth. Roth’s a creature of charisma, owning not only the stage but the venue with her seductively freeform dance moves, donning a classic black pencil skirt, white-sequined puffed shoulder v-neck, and an enviously lush mane that she advantageously let drape over her features as she belted out vocals.
Their sound is commanding. It's a jittering mix of funk, soul, and electro highly influenced by the swaying rhythms of Studio 54’s most sultry acts. There's a heavy reliance on bass along with keyboards, a saxophone, jazz-inspired horns, trumpet and even (take a breath) a cowbell. Le Baron’s atmosphere alone — extremely intimate in scale, disco ball casting beams of soft light, smoke gathering slowly, hazy colored red, orange, and yellow filtered illumination — created the ideal visual intoxication to pair with the dance-tinged tracks.
Midnight Magic put on one of the more worthwhile shows I have seen lately — a performance where the live experience carries more weight than the recordings ever could denote. They are clearly a band who loves what they’ve created, and are hell-bent on making that feeling infectious.
|Midnight Magic - "Calling Out"|
Music Feature By Stephen Cedars
Booming and boisterous.>>