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Doin' It After Dark

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 1, 2007 6:00PM

2007_06_midnightshows.gifThe Midnight Shows are one of those bands trying to revive soul music and give it back its original edge. We're talking about dark alley, drug-deal gone bad, miniskirt riding up the ass kind of soul. We're talking about songs filled with grit, burnishing the edges off a crowd as they work up a sweat.

The band is led by ex-Woolworthy frontman Rudy Gonzalez, and while it might seem a stretch for a guy given more toward Minneapolis' Paul Westerberg than Prince, once you realize the band takes its cues from Greg Dulli's Twilight Singers and scratched up 45s of old tunes by Charles Wright, the transition makes a lot more sense. The six piece band includes the usual core instruments and fleshes things out with a killer Fender Rhodes and two sweet voiced back-up singers. Gonzalez's vocals turn on a high tenor slightly sandpapered by booze and cigarettes that keeps straining to the edge in an effort to get the message across. The band's attack is heavy on the wah guitar and the rolling organ, and they do their best to rescue those staples from years of misuse by bad funk bands.

We've seen the band on a number of bills with much heavier rock bands, and The Midnight Shows' sound is brawny enough to hold its own, so don't mistake them as some other retro act looking to make a name off sentimentality. When they say they're trying to save soul, they mean it. And, judging by the crowds we've seen dancing when they take the stage, the people believe in their definition of soul.

The Midnight Shows play at Cubby Bear Wrigleyville tomorrow night at 9 p.m.