The Midnight Beast

02 Academy, Glasgow, October 2

Hugo May/NME
Pic: Hugo May/NME
A disquieting thought occurs to us about halfway through The Midnight Beast’s set tonight: has pop music reached a place where it’s so unsalvageably shit and simultaneously so idiotic, generic and predictable that it’s actually beyond parody? This is the dilemma the trio face. Take away the English sense of self-deprecation, their love of swearing and (most of) the dick jokes, and what you’re left with is uncomfortably close to something might actually give himself a pat on the back for writing.

Their targets – ranging from oversexed boybands to Primark playas and the Glee-ification of the high-school experience – have perhaps been chosen too well. But hey, The Midnight Beast probably aren’t losing much sleep over it. In truth, there’s much to enjoy about their live show – which, wisely, doesn’t bother incorporating a Boosh-esque narrative, and instead plays it relatively straight. Even weaker songs like ‘House Party’ and ‘Ninjas’ succeed through sheer physicality and enthusiasm, with the trio busting synchronised moves accompanied by backing dancers and a band wearing tiger-stripe onesies. You can’t fault their eagerness to entertain.

By positioning yourself as “the greatest unsigned gimmick rap band from southwest London”, however, you’re automatically inviting comparison to New Zealand’s self-proclaimed “fourth most popular folk parody duo”, and The Midnight Beast simply aren’t at Flight Of The Conchords’ level yet. ‘Medium Pimpin’ and ‘Friends For Never’ are both genuinely great, but too many of the songs are samey and not particularly funny. For example, if ‘Nerds’ is supposed to be taking the piss out of landfill indie, then it’s musically on-the-nose. But lyrically, you’ll find wittier couplets than “know it sounds absurd/ That all my friends are nerds” on a Wombats record.

So, to return to our original point, we’re not sure if it’s them or the music they’re parodying that’s at fault here. The Midnight Beast are basically a comedy band, but given tonight’s lack of laughter, you have to wonder whether all these screaming teenage girls are even making the distinction any more. In their defence, even the band themselves seem a little uncertain.

Barry Nicolson

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