Middnight on Main deserves to be called a huge success. The city of Middletown did a remarkable job of organizing and staging the events taking place downtown last night, and the enjoyment of local residents taking in Middnight on Main’s sight and sounds was more than evident. The quality of the event’s musical acts particularly stood out. I was pleasantly surprised by this revelation, and it bodes very well for the future if Middnight on Main becomes an annual event. If you missed some of the standout acts performing around the city on New Year’s Eve, this is a brief sketch of what audiences heard and where you could check out these acts.
Swish and Flick
Wizard rock group Swish and Flick are the side project of New York synth pop duo Cookie Galore. Backed up by an eclectic sound incorporating synth pop, dance music and old school rap, Swish and Flick performed songs about the Harry Potter universe in front of a large crowd at the Green Street Arts Center. The duo’s fun and unabashedly cheesy songs celebrated the naughtier side of the Potter universe, such as the fun of being in the evil Slytherein House and the allure of bad-boy Draco Malfoy. (Ask your kids, folks). A Lady Gaga parody called “Sorted This Way” was the strongest performance of the night and really got the crowd going. You can learn more about Swish and Flick and check out their music at http://www.myspace.com/swishandflickwrock.he Haymakers
The Haymakers are a recently formed folk music duo consisting of New England musicians Rani Arbo and Mark Erelli, both highly regarded in the folk world. Arbo and her family live in Middletown. The Haymakers played a set of classics from artists like Tom Waits and the Louvin Brothers, along with original material, for an enraptured crowd at the Buttonwood Tree. The duo’s beautiful playing and highly passionate performances demonstrated the power folk music has an art form. The Haymakers were the best act I saw at Middnight on Main and I absolutely plan on listening to their music on my own. You can learn more about the duo and listen to their music at http://www.facebook.com/Haymakers?sk=wall.
The Shinolas are a roots band consisting of Hartford area musicians. The group is highly popular in the area, frequently playing in bars and clubs around Hartford, and has won the Best Country Band award from the Hartford Advocate. For their Middnight on Main performances at the Salvation Army Chapel, The Shinolas performed a number of accomplished covers of roots/Americana artists, including songs from Merle Haggard and Credence Clearwater Revival. If you enjoy great roots rock played with total expertise, then make sure to check out The Shinolas at http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Shinolas-Fan-Page/372576317742?sk=wall and out around the capitol city.
Weatherstar is the brainchild of Cameron Walker, a Connecticut native who plays throughout the state and the northeast at venues such as The Space in Hamden. Weatherstar, whose emo sound inspired by groups like the Starting line and Dashboard Confessional, closed out the night’s events at the Green Street Arts Center with a heartfelt set of love songs. Numbers like “Postcard and “Go” portrayed the ups and downs of young romance and obviously connected with the adolescent audience watching his set. Weatherstar frequently performs in the area, and you can learn more about his music at http://www.myspace.com/weatherstar.