Midnite Blows Away St. Louis
Concert Review by Professor Skank
February 13, 2002
St. Louis - Missouri
Words can barely do justice to what I witnessed last night at Club Viva. Midnite was
simply unbelievable. These 5 guys laid down some of the wickedest roots reggae I've
ever seen in my life, and I've seen some good shows. Got a few minutes before I gotta
go to work, so here goes...
About 5 months ago I was fortunate to get their debut "Unpolished" from a friend.
Crucial. After some contact with their manager, I received their latest, "Jubilees of
Zion". Just wicked tunes. I then got "Ras Mek Peace" which might be my favorite of
the three. Strictly roots...We emailed about a show in St. Louis and thankfully it
materialized last night. I'm fortunate to co-host a radio show here and I pumped up
this show like no other. Just from their records I knew they were something special.
I just couldn't wait to see them live...
Got to the club at 8 and just chilled for awhile. People filing in. 11 p.m. was the
start time I was told. Around 10 til 11 the band came in and I met Gainde (the
keyboardist and "musical director.") Cool guy. Mentioned some songs and said I wanted
to hear "Lion Wears The Crown" from Ras Mek Peace. He said probably not. They don't
play that one. I then quickly introduced myself to the rest of the band through the
smoke in their dressing room. Asked lead vocalist Vaughn about the tune and he said
ya never know...
So at about 11:05 they take the stage (the place is packed) and start off with an
unreleased tune. Right away I knew it was gonna be a magical evening. I was about 5
feet away dead center (this is a small club with the stage the same heighth as the
floor). Gainde on keyboards was right center (to me) and he was having a blast.
Guitar player behind him was cool. Drummer was hot. To the left was the bass player
and he was smokin. And then there's the lead vocalist Vaughn Benjamin (Gainde's
younger brother). Tall and lanky with incredible stage presence, he proceeded to
knock me out for the next 2 hours straight! No breaks or nothin. Just strictly roots
and culture. I'll tell ya, the man has a LOT to say, and even though I knew a lot of
the tunes (and lyrics) he has this incredible speed-rap style which totally
mesmerizes. Later in the show I was standing probably a foot away from him and it was
The band is as tight as I've ever heard in my life. They played many of their tunes
different from the records and it was amazing. On "Due Reward" I remember they never
even sang the title once. It was wild.
Some of the tunes if I can remember: Bushman, Rasta Man Stand, Love Right (Live
Right), Jubilees Of Zion, Great Zimbabwe Walls, about 5 unreleased tracks which were
unbelievable, Banking In The Pig, Batter Ram Sound, Kaaba Stone and some others. It
was really incredible. And the coolest part to me was that they closed the show with
"Lion Wears The Crown." I thought that was cool. The crazy thing is that after the
show Gainde said that the bass player had never played it and the guitar player had
never even heard it! And it sounded really tight...
I'm tellin ya, pick up their records and get behind this group. When they come to
your town, DO NOT miss them. This is why I love reggae music, because of groups like
Their records really are brilliant, but in concert they definitely have what it
takes. Gainde was jumpin all around and was ready to take off, but he was grounded to
the keyboards. Just imagine his hands on the keys and his body 3 feet to the side! He
was great and had a continuous smile. They were all having a blast and again, lead
vocalist Vaughn was just hard-core. His voice is incredible and he went non-stop for
120 minutes. No in-between song chatter or fancy endings, Midnite just laid down the
Gotta roll. Once again, though, if they come in your area, DON'T miss em! Midnite
will blow you away...