Article and photos by Melodie Yvonne Ramey
CHICAGO, IL – Recently I decided to update my official website for Photographic Melodie which sent me on a tour of some of my older events that I just haven’t had the time to think about in a while. At this point I’ve been blessed to see so many concerts that they all just kind of run together, so in a way I’ve been reveling in this excuse to go back for some blasts from the past. My backwards journey this particular evening took me back to 2014, and reawakened yet another forgotten passion. Suddenly I was twitterpated anew with an old love for the band Midwest Hype.
I first ran across Midwest Hype at one of my favorite venues in Bloomington, Indiana, The Bluebird Nightclub, where they opened for Dirty Heads in October of 2014. I noticed their phenomenal talent and stage presence immediately, and decided to catch their next show at the venue the following December. I contacted the band, and they graciously allowed me to bring in my professional gear, and so a Midwest Hype photo gallery was born. Upon revisiting the 2014 photos to move them to the new website, however, I discovered that although my memory of the show was extraordinary, unfortunately, the pictures were not so much. My first thought was, “Wow! I wish I had learned how to use my camera right the first 2 years I owned it!” and secondly, “Dang, those guys were nice for humoring me!”
I finished the gallery update, and finally allowed my curiosity to get the better of me wondering what the guys were up to today. I hoped against hope that this band who’d previously garnished my attentions so quickly was still out there fighting the good fight. I looked them up online, and found that these amazing men not only still seem to be rocking the fuck out, but they are continuing to produce melodic miracles of the highest degree. The lineup of musicians behind the magic are George ‘Genrefree’ Matthew on lead vocal & guitars, Nate Miller on bass, Max Kepler on drums, Ideal on vocals & rhymes, Ben Morrissey on saxophone, EWI & background vocals, Scott ‘Hot Lips’ Whitford on trumpet, and Kevin “Keyz” Krizmanich on keyboard.
The Facebook page for Midwest Hype boasts a new video for their single, “Nightglow”, off their 7″ Vinyl record Nightglow, Ch. 1, and it was the exact thing I needed to hear tonight to put me back in the right mood. The video was recorded at The Emporium at Wicker Park in Chicago by Jayy Willis which proved to be a wise decision on both parts. Looking in on the action through the lens at the club that night made every part of my being wish I was there in the middle of that wicked and wylee crowd. Willis definitely captured every single moment perfectly. My hunched over comatose posture left over from hours of photo editing was quickly interrupted by my involuntary feet tapping beginning immediately with the first downward stroke by Kepler on his kit. The irie voices of Ideal and Matthew begin, and pull you into the flow of their melodies faster than an Amtrak barreling down the tracks full speed. The entire video is a tasty treat made even more funkalicious by the hypnotic breath’s exhaled by the horns creating notes that raise up into the air to mingle with the dancing colored illuminations surrounding the whole scene. Then Morrissey breaks in on his sax, and delivers some much-needed funktastic sensations long-lost in today’s age of hipster folk and dubstep. It dawns on me that now my feet are tapping away on autopilot with the beat, and it’s become nearly impossible to keep listening and not fall into a full body boogie.
Matthew’s mesmerizing vocals gracefully shimmy out into the club just like Kevin’s agile fingers graciously yet commandingly coerce his keys, and they continue to carry me along with the song as if I were right there in that beautiful room along with them. Ideal’s sweet rhymes cling to the sticky thumps brought by Miller for a tasty musical treat that binds me to their rhythms even more. The tempo suddenly speeds, and the upbeats culminate in a face melting fire that’s immediately put out by the cool tones of George ‘Genrefree’ Matthew’s libretto. Together these men have somehow created a hip-hop jam funk like none other with a contagious energy that leaps off the stage onto the crowd like a live wire looking for a ground. Although in this day and age it would almost be easier to just shove a CGI audience in front of the stage these gents are the real thing in everything they do. A live video of this caliber does not just show their bravery, but it is a testament to the loyal following amassed by these prodigious musicians. It’s obvious that the excitement in the crowd is genuine, and that every face in the house was wearing a smile a mile wide thanks to these amazing fellows. The video ends on a calmer note with a final verse by Matthew that carries me away to that land of relaxation that can normally only be found after the most powerful climax or near death experience. Now, I suppose the only thing left to do is grab that lefty, batten down the hatches, and put “Nightglow” right back on repeat while I wait patiently for the Hype’s next dopamine filled release, and for these Chicagoans to once again show the whole country, and soon the whole world, just how it’s done in the Midwest.
Watch the video for “Nightglow” at The Emporium at Wicker Park in Chicago by Jayy Willis at www.facebook.com/midwesthypemusic/videos/10155084603136182/ or below now, and check out the original photo gallery by Photographic Melodie at https://melodieyvonne.com/2015/01/21/photo-gallery-midwest-hype-the-bluebird-12-19-2014/
SEE even more of the Music on Melodie’s YouTube now!
View more of Melodie’s concert and event photography at melodieyvonne.com/photo-galleries/concert-and-events/
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Photo and video footage shot for Photographic Melodie by Melodie Yvonne Ramey. Shot with Nikon D800E
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