The Midnight Hour: Late Addition As One of The Best Shows and Albums of 2018

While many young ATLiens were at Widespread Panic or Umphrey’s McGee this past Saturday, the best audiophile treat was the sold out show by The Midnight Hour across town at at Aisle 5 which I had the opportunity of seeing and hearing.

The Midnight Hour is Black excellence: an ode to the cultural sophistication that the Harlem Renaissance established for its people. The Midnight Hour is comprised of Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Adrian Younge, alongside a tight rhythm section and a full orchestra. The album has features from CeeLo Green, Raphael Saadiq, Marsha Ambrosius, Bilal, Eryn Allen Kane, Karolina, and more.

Ali Shaheed Muhammad is one of the cofounders of A Tribe Called Quest and Adrian Younge is a composer, arranger and music producer as well as a fine keyboardist and bassist. The two have collaborated on the soundtrack for the popular TV series Luke Cage. In the summer of 2018, they released the eponymous debut album The Midnight Hour. It’s a mixed instrumental and vocal, 20 track beauty. I’d say “they don’t make ’em like this anymore” but they do if the “they” is this duo. It’s so freakin’ lush, they have full string and horn orchestration and each tune is a delight. As they said in their intro to the show, they’re inspired by Duke Ellington and other music icons and it shows. They brought two string and two horn players with them and the reward was rich for the audience.

There was a great vibe in the crowd and the band established a great rapport with the fans as well. The full, uncut video can be seen below.

Some of the show highlights were (aside from everything!) the opening instrumental number, all of the songs featuring Loren Oden on vocals, and the especially funky number featuring Adrian on bass and Ali on keys.

After the music ended, Adrian and Ali continued to dialogue with the audience about the music industry and offered encouragement to aspiring musicians in the crowd. Everyone stayed and paid attention — it was worth preserving in the video at the end. Interestingly enough, I learned after the fact that Adrian is actually an entertainment lawyer as well!

After the show, I listened to the full album and I knew that I made a mistake of omission by not including The Midnight Hour in’s albums of the year listing. This will be corrected as it should be and we’re looking forward to what’s next from this talented group!