Review: Midnite City / ATLAS / Todd Michaels & The Screamin Hearts 

Alberts, Nottingham, June 7th 2019

Reviewer: Dan Mann

Friday evening saw myself and the memsarb take a trip over to Alberts in Nottingham (RIP Spanky Van Dykes) to catch Midnite City on their current There Goes The Neighbourhood UK Tour.

Kicking off the evening’s proceedings were a new band to me, Todd Michaels & The Screamin Hearts.

In short, they had the looks and attitude, it was like taking a time machine back 25 years, however they seemed to be a band without direction, not really knowing exactly what rock genre they wanted to be. Too much chat, not enough tunes, unless they didn’t have more material I don’t know. Plus regular readers will know if I’m not fond of the vocals then it’s extremely difficult to like the band. However qudos to them.

Onto ATLAS, a band I am familiar with having listened to their debut album ‘In Pursuit Of Memory‘ quite a few times.

ATLAS came across from the onset as an experienced, tight sounding outfit, confidently presenting their catalogue of songs and if I’m honest, I much prefered them live to the album, certainly a band worth catching perform.

And so onto the headliners Midnite City, a band who’ve garnered a strong, loyal following from the off.

It was a bit of a suprise when vocalist Rob Wylde took to the stage. Why you ask? Well Rob had laryngitis and wasn’t going to be singing, the remainder of the band having vowed to cover vocal duties so as not to cancel the gig and disappoint their fans.

Instead Rob gallently stepped up to the plate and soldiered through where he could, with the remainder of the vocals covered admirably by Josh ‘Tabbie’ Williams and Pete Newdeck as well as being joined by ATLAS vocalist Craig Wells.

The result was a highly entertaining performance by the band, playing to an enthusiastic crowd and showing why their popularity continues to grow.

ATLAS is a Melodic Rock band from the North of England that is comprised of 5 young musicians, i.e. James Thorley (Keyboards, programming and percussion), John Moss (Lead Guitars), Howie Little (Lead Guitars), Chris Redfearn (Bass Guitar) and Craig Wells (Lead Vocals). Keyboard player Thorley founded the band in early 2017 with the intention to create a band that centered its roots around the AOR and Melodic Rock genre whilst delving into other areas of Hard Rock, Metal, Progressive and even Jazz. 5 keyboard demos were produced by Thorley during the first few months of 2017.

The name ATLAS came from the working title for these demos, which would soon be molded into the songs heard on the bands’ debut EP ‘World In Motion’. ATLAS drew heavily on influences stemming from the AOR classic standards of Toto and Journey to the modern era of Work of Art and W.E.T with subtle progressive elements of Dream Theater mixed in to forge the early sound heard throughout their EP. The recording and mixing duties fell upon keyboard player James Thorley. Sam Millar of UK rock band Bigfoot contributed to the backing vocals on this EP which got self-released through their band camp website in late August 2017. The end of 2017 found the band achieve three awards from AOR Underground (A feature of Powerplay magazine) for ‘Independent album of year 2017’ for their release of the EP ‘World in Motion’,  ‘Best Newcomer of 2017’ and ‘Song of the year’ with ‘Lost in The Moment’. This momentum and growing social media following provided the stepping-stone for the bands next endeavor. With strong motivation and after almost a year of working together as a band they were now eager to start collaborating on new material using the stronger aspects of their EP as a cornerstone.

The writing sessions for the debut album officially started in December 2017 and continued for 8 months. The band were given an opportunity in June to have a break from the album production when they were approached by UK Melodic Rock band Vega to open up for them and AOR Heaven rockers Midnite City in support of their latest album tour. Rob Evans of Powerplay Magazine had helped the band get in contact with Georg Siegl, the founder of AOR Heaven, and after discussions between the band and Siegl a contract was drawn up.

The album name ‘In Pursuit of Memory’ reflects the nature and themes of the songs heard throughout the album. With a common theme throughout the album being self-reflection, healing and learning from mistakes one has made; with lyricists Thorley, Moss and Wells all penning at least one track centered on those themes. The album was recorded and engineered by keyboard player James Thorley at his studio ‘The Woodshed”. Thorley also took on the role of the producer as he did on the bands previous self released EP.

Soundfiles in advance:

Bad Habit (Edit)

Breathe Me In (Edit)

Samsara (Edit)

Sam Millar of Bigfoot provided ‘guest vocals’ on the album as well; his vocal harmony contributions can be heard throughout most of the tracks and add a much desired AOR factor that the band often desire in their songs. Christoffer Borg (Taste, Art Nation) was chosen as the mixing and mastering engineer on ‘In Pursuit of Memory’. Borg’s credit’s, which include Anthrax, Evergrey & Kee Marcello gave the group confidence that he would be able to do the variety of songs they had written the justice it sonically deserved.