Vega / Midnite City / Atlas Hot
Written by Central Electronic Brain     July 12, 2018    
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Vega / Midnite City / Atlas - The Ruby Lounge, Manchester (UK) - 28 June 2018

I was already sold on the pairing of Vega and Midnite City, so the addition of new Manchester band Atlas to the bill was an added bonus. I had picked up their excellent debut EP 'World In Motion' last year so was interested to see how this promising, young band would perform live. For the latter reason, I had to get to the venue early doors which was no mean feat as I had never previously visited The Ruby Lounge. Fortunately, I arrived with ten minutes to spare.

The six-piece band completely filled the small stage and what was apparent from the start was they were all very competent musicians and well-rehearsed. Unbelievably, this was Atlas' debut live performance, so they were charting new waters (sic). With the exception of lead singer Craig Wells, they all sported full beards and looked like real ale drinkers; however, more importantly, they were incredibly in harmony with one another and proved the old adage, "practice makes perfect".

The six-song set of superb Melodic Rock (AOR and Prog-tinged in equal measures) comprised four new songs from their forthcoming debut album, all of which sounded great with 'Seasons Change' being the most memorable, plus 'Change Of Heart' and 'Cross The Line' from the aforementioned EP.

I hope that one of the Melodic Rock labels will notice this band as I can see them giving the Swedes a run for their money.

Atlas Band Live

Set-list: Samsara / Seasons Change / Change Of Heart / Flesh And Blood / Breathe Me In / Cross The Line

This was my second time seeing Midnite City and although their set was similar to four months ago when they supported Blood Red Saints, tonight's performance seemed to rise to a completely new, elevated level. They just appeared more relaxed and looked like they were enjoying themselves more, which was obviously in part due to the very positive audience reaction – the crowd sang along to all the songs as if they were long, lost classics from the eighties. The more I see Midnite City live and listen to their glorious debut album, the more I'm convinced it's the best album Danger Danger never made. The song quality is so high that their performance never waned, from set opener 'We Belong' and the haunting 'Ghosts Of Friends Gone By' to my personal favourite 'Think About You' and the very appropriate 'Summer Of Our Lives' which latter closed the set. Singer Rob Wylde frequently stood on the monitors and pretended to hold up the low roof of the club whilst he also engaged most of the females in the audience (of which there was probably fifty percent).

All Midnite City have to do now is the difficult task of releasing an album that tops their phenomenal debut.

Midnite City Band Live

Set-list: We Belong / Last Beat Of My Heart / Ghosts Of My Old Friends / I Just Can't Take It / One Step Away / Think About You / Everything You Meant To Me / Can't Wait For The Nights / Summer Of Our Lives

I have seen Vega many times over the last eight years, either as a support act or on a festival line-up, and they never fail to deliver; however, this was my first time seeing them actually headline. I did not think this band could get much better. How wrong was I?

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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The decision to include eight songs from their latest studio album 'Only Human' could have easily backfired on Vega, especially as they opened and closed the set with them. The crowd reaction to set opener 'Let's Have Fun Tonight' must have surprised the band as it was treated like a Vega classic. The early momentum was maintained with 'Explode' and 'What The Hell'. It was not perfect because Nick Workman, who sported a new streamlined haircut, struggled a little with new song 'All Over Now', however, I expect he will have nailed it by the end of the tour. Crowd favourites 'Gonna Need Some Love Tonight' and 'Every Little Monster' preceded new songs 'Come Back Again' and 'Worth Dying For'; the former being a personal favourite from the new album and the latter already firmly established as another Vega classic.

Vage Band Live 1

'Wonderland' (from the magnificent debut) got a rare outing as did 'Saviour' from 2013's sophomore album 'What The Hell'. Arguably, the high point of the whole show was the trio of 'Gravity', 'White Flag' and 'Kiss Of Life'; before the latter, Workman had invited a couple up on stage who were getting married at the weekend. Another fan favourite, 'Saving Grace', preceded set-closer 'Last Man Standing'.

Despite the small stage, Workman bounced around like a two year old, the Martin brothers lurked "menacingly" in the shadows on either side of the stage, Marcus "Moses" Thurston ripped through the solos and Mickey "Baby Moses" Kew kept the rhythm with drummer Hutch.

I had expected this to be one of the hottest gigs of all-time temperature wise. In terms of the band's performances, it was certainly up there, but fortunately, I positioned myself under an air conditioning unit, so I was able to enjoy the whole show in relative comfort.

Vage Band Live 2

Vega's songs are great on album, but live the energy levels just reached overload; they contained more "whoa, whoas" than a Bon Jovi box-set. If you love Melodic Rock music, then I challenge you to go to a Vega concert without tapping your foot, bouncing around and/or singing yourself hoarse. I don't think anyone who attended this evening's show went home disappointed.

Set-list: Let's Have Fun Tonight / Explode / What The Hell / All Over Now / Gonna Need Some Love Tonight / Every Little Monster / Come Back Again / Worth Dying For / Stereo Messiah / Mess You Made / Wonderland / Saviour / Gravity / White Flag / Kiss Of Life / Fade Away / Saving Grace / Last Man Standing

Review by Mark Donnelly
Photos by Mick Parry

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