Modern Nostalgia · Music Monday · Nostalgia

Nostalgia Overload | The Midnight Concert at The Bluebird Theater, Denver

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We first posted about the awesome synthwave band, The Midnight, in our post, 21 New Songs That Totally Sound Like They’re From the 1980’s. We shared “Sunset—the band’s tribute to anyone wanting to break free from the shackles of their home town and leave with their love, never to look back.

The music is pure synthesizer-infused 80’s nostalgia—you wouldn’t guess that it was released in 2016. But its retro layered synthesizers and chorus-laden guitars atop electronic drums will take you back to a simpler, less polarized world. The music is happy, hopeful, and honest (despite being an illusory trip back to the 80’s).

The band, formed by singer-songwriter Tyler Lyle and Danish-born producer Tim McEwan, is now a handful of shows into the North American leg of its tour.  The Midnight is supporting the release of its new album, Kids, which should not disappoint fans of this band and the synthwave genre. Although a few have lamented in various Instagram comments about the lack of saxophone and the shorter length of the album, as well as lodged other complaints, one Instagram fan, cyber.soho, disagreed:

“In my opinion this hit the mark with the concept of being a kid, hanging out in the mall, all riding bikes to your friend’s house . . .”

The band itself responded: “themidnightofficial @cyber.soho you get it.”

For those fans who are sad about the lack of saxophone on the Kids album, I recommend you buy tickets to the band’s next show (if you can get them—their shows are sold out you’ll likely have to go the secondary market route). You will hear some of the best 80’s-inspired saxophone—and a lot of it.

The Midnight Concert | The Bluebird Theater, Denver, Colorado

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The Midnight played to a sold-out crowd at the historical Denver venue, The Bluebird Theater, on September 22, and by all accounts, they did not disappoint.
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Opening the concert with “Youth”, the intro track on the Kids album, led—as it does on the album—right into “Wave”, a nostalgically-melodic tune that highlights Tyler Lyles’ easy, accessible vocals (with the ironically non-nostalgic line, “We are not a sentimental age.”)  The capacity crowd cheered them into their next song, “Lost Boy”, one of their current singles—an airy 80’s ballad that will definitely take you to that heart-pounding love you felt when you looked into the eyes of your crush.

Ahh, youth.

Honestly, there is something so familiar about this music, especially, perhaps, for those of us who grew up in the 80’s. The Midnight’s melodies and moods, with Tim McEwan‘s production talents, embrace you in a comfortable connection to your past.

Yes, please.

Tyler and the band then took it back to their early beginnings with the driving beats of “Gloria”, with its crowd-pleasing—and singable—chorus:

Oh, Gloria
I feel so much better
I feel so much better today
And it’s not the drugs
And it’s not the weather
I just feel so much better today

The similarly energetic title track of its 2014 debut EP—Days of Thunder—kept the crowd moving. An unexpected highlight followed as the band began playing the Don Henley hit, “Boys of Summer”, garnering cheers, whoops, and whistles. And of course, everyone in The Bluebird knew the lyrics. The Midnight did an admirable job on this classic cover, and it was the perfect selection to accompany the band’s sound.

They then moved through a series of crowd-pleasing songs from their earlier albums, the instrumental sounds of “Nocturnal”/“Collateral”, the pulsating “Shadows”, moody “Crystalline”, feel-good (and one of my favorites) “The Comeback Kid”, and city-gritty “Vampires”.

Lots of saxophone solos.

Lots of 80’s feels.

Back to the Kids album, the band played “America 2”, a song with an uber-nostalgic sound. Tyler Lyle has one of those voices that makes you feel like you’ve heard it a long time ago. He sounds a lot like Sam Bentley from The Paper Kites—especially his vocals on the twelvefour album. I think both Sam and Tyler would take that as a compliment.

The Midnight ended its set with “Los Angeles”, another supremely nostalgia-driven song from its Days of Thunder album. It’s the brand’s “love letter” anthem to living in L.A.:

Flickers of the canyon fire
Its hands raised like a gospel choir
If we live forever, let us live forever tonight

Helicopters against moonlight
Our holy mother of the midnight
And if we live forever, let us live forever tonight

It was a perfect “ending,” with The Bluebird crowd singing along, who—as you might have guessed—went wild as the band left the stage. Five-hundred plus people can make a lot of noise when they want more music, and the band was soon back on stage to preform their expected encore, starting with “Lost and Found”, the official remix of Lost & Found from Tyler Lyle’s album The Native Genius of Desert Plants.

The Midnight knows how to please its fans from beginning to end, and of course, ended the show with “Sunset” (as you can see, the music inspires a plethora of fan-made videos featuring 80’s movies). Anyone who grew up in the 80’s—or anyone who loves 80’s music and movies—cannot help but be drawn into that song’s buoyant expression of hopefulness. Watching The Midnight perform, it was clear they love what they do, they love their music, they love the 80’s, they love their fans, and they understand the power of nostalgia.

So when the last notes of “Sunset” faded and the house lights came up, I was saddened there wasn’t just one more song. One more song to keep us there for another four or five minutes. One more song to keep us all suspended in an alternate world of optimism, togetherness, and positivity.

Because unless you are living under a rock, the “real world” seems to be sorely lacking in all of those things. The Midnight fans standing shoulder-to-shoulder in The Bluebird on September 22 were lucky enough to witness a transformative concert and remove themselves from the real world for a couple hours. They were there together, each one optimistic and positive, and each one celebrating the past to make better days today.

We here at The Nostalgia Diaries are still applauding.


Do you like new songs that sound old? Check out our 19 New Songs That Sound Vintage and Sounds Old to Me: 19 More New Songs with a Vintage, Throwback Vibe

steveSteve is a lawyer, writer, and the lucky father of three amazing boys. Here at The Nostalgia Diaries, his goal is to help readers focus on the important things, and wants everyone to celebrate the past to create better days today.


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Holiday · Music · Nostalgia

Nostalgic Christmas Specials You Can’t Miss

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Growing up, TV Christmas specials were a highlight of the season. They were innocent, cheesy, and oh-so-spectacular. Honestly, who could resist the holiday stylings of the Osmonds or the Carpenters?

Whether it was Donnie & Marie or Karen & Richard, or whether it was Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, Perry Como, or Andy Williams, watching those variety shows always helped make the Christmas season merry and bright.

And how awesome is it that they can be found on YouTube?

Continue reading “Nostalgic Christmas Specials You Can’t Miss”

Childhood · Media · Nostalgia

The Nostalgic ’80s Just Got A Little Bit More Awesome

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Oh, the nostalgia for our younger years…

Today I’m taking you back to the decade of excess and decadence.

The 1980’s.

I was a teen in the ‘80s and soaked up the gaudy, gorgeous culture of that decade. Let’s take a quick look:


Music

Did you listen to arena rock? Journey? REO Speedwagon? Night Ranger? Or maybe you loved the Hair Bands. Def Leppard? Poison? Motley Crue? Bon Jovi? Or perhaps your tastes were more along the lines of The Thompson Twins, or Duran Duran, Howard Jones, or the dozens of other New Wave groups. Or maybe you liked Heartland Rock: Seger, Mellencamp, Springsteen, or Petty. Or did you prefer The Cure (Post Punk or R.E.M (College Rock)? Maybe it was Madonna? Michael Jackson? The Bangles?


Fashion

Then, of course, was the ‘80s fashion… The girls wore mini skirts, leg warmers, and stirrup pants, while the guys pulled on their parachute pants and Members Only jackets. The ‘80s found willing consumers of brands like Benetton, Coca-Cola clothing, Esprit, Ocean Pacific, Jordache, and Swatch. There were big everything: big earrings, big glasses, big sweaters, big shoulder pads, and big hair.


Movies

Hollywood entertained us with oodles of movies we still love: Ghostbusters, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Indiana Jones, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Sixteen Candles, St. Elmo’s Fire, Top Gun, The Little Mermaid, Willow, The Karate Kid, Footloose, E.T., Weird Science, The Goonies, Back to the Future, and The Breakfast Club are only a few.


TV

Then there was television. Ahh, the wonderful world of ‘80s television… Cheers and The Cosby Show. Alf and The Golden Girls. The A-Team and Growing Pains. The Wonder Years and Who’s the Boss. Family Ties and Knight Rider. Miami Vice and Perfect Strangers. Moonlighting and Silver Spoons. Quantum Leap and St. ElsewhereDynasty and Designing Women. The Fall Guy and Fraggle Rock.

And, oh yes… Everybody wanted their MTV.


Continue reading “The Nostalgic ’80s Just Got A Little Bit More Awesome”
Commentary · Holiday · Nostalgia

It’s The Most Nostalgic Time of the Year

This is the time of year nostalgia really begins to develop into a full-fledged obsession, and why shouldn’t it? Christmas is only a little more than a month away, and I’ve got snowflakes, Santa Claus, and silver bells on my mind.

I know, I know, we can’t forget about Thanksgiving, the forgotten holiday. And we shouldn’t, of course, but I gotta say, Thanksgiving doesn’t hold the same nostalgic memories that Christmas does… Perhaps because Christmas is really a full season that dominates the entire month of December with 24-hour Christmas music radio stations, houses covered in lights, and shopping, shopping, shopping.

Okay, so there is one Thanksgiving memory that sticks out—the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Every year I would get up to watch that spectacle at 7:00 a.m. with my mom, who also loved it. The floats, the marching bands, and those fantastic giant balloons. It’s nostalgic for a lot of people, and we wrote more about it on this post last year (we’ve updated the post with this year’s viewing information). Continue reading “It’s The Most Nostalgic Time of the Year”

Nostalgia

Go Find Your Place

Quick: Think of a place where you have visited or lived in that gives you the feels…

You know the place I’m talking about. That place that makes you feel at peace. At home. The place that your mind goes when you think about your “happy place.” Your go-to vacation spot. Your getaway.

How many times have you been there? Once? A hundred times? Maybe you live there. Maybe it’s a place so familiar you can close your eyes and you are instantly transported there.

Or maybe it’s just a place you saw in a travel magazine, and you knew that was YOUR place, and you knew that someday you would get there. Someday. Continue reading “Go Find Your Place”