Midnight Wire's Alex Van Roose by Mat Borland

27th November 2014

Midnight Wire

Album: Crossing the Rubicon

Leicester band Midnight Wire launches it new album Crossing The Rubicon in December.

This article reviews the album which will be launched at a show on December 19th 2014, at the Y Theatre Leicester (with support from Casino Empire and Stop That Train).

Midnight Wire by Mat Borland
Midnight Wire
by Mat Borland

I can’t wait to see MW at the album launch on 19th December.

It’s not just that I want to hear all those marvellous songs again; I love big gigs and have been to many, many previous shows put on by MW and The Heroes before them. They are iconic moments in the life of live music, as far as I am concerned. Lead singer Alex Van Roose has been telling me about Crossing The Rubicon for what seems a very long time. My sense of anticipation is overwhelming. Alex is one of the very best song-writers I know; since the launch of Midnight Wire, Alex has been a prodigious writer of songs, melodies and tunes. His knowledge of music – and of the people who work within it – is humblingly inspiring.

This album is perhaps the flowering of MW’s musical career to date; if that is proven to be so, who knows what they could come up with in the years to come! Crossing The Rubicon is a collection of the some of the most likeable and memorable tunes I have hard from a Leicester band.

Songs on the album

Crossing The Rubicon has 11 Tracks:

New York City Lies
I’m Yours
Running Forever
Not Just Selfish
Shake It Baby
All For You
Never Gonna Leave LAS
Wait For Me
Escape From Bleak Street

Crossing The Rubicon Teaser

The tracks

New York City Lies  (Midnight Wire performing their track New York City Lies live at the Y Theatre in Leicester as part of their first year anniversary showcase on the 31st August 2012.)

I’m Yours (Alex Van Roose – I’m Yours – 15/08/12 – Open Mic Night at The Cradock Arms)

Running Forever (published on YouTube 1/10/14)

Not Just Selfish (received worldwide radio play … The track has now racked up over 72,334 views which is an astonishing feat for any unsigned band.)

Shake It Baby (performed at The Musician, Leicester, 04/05/12)

Excuses (played at the Firebug gig on 6th April, Published on YouTube 25/20/12)

All For You (played at the Firebug gig 6th April, ‘a dancey song that cantered down the home straight, full of rocky riffs and bouncy breaks.’ published on YouTube 29/10/14)

Never Gonna Leave LA (published on YouTube 12/7/13)

Honey (the band’s first song, was recorded by Dean Jackson of The Beat programme, published on YouTube 5/10/14)

Wait For Me

Escape From Bleak Street

We look at Midnight Wire – the band.

Midnight Wire
Midnight Wire

Midnight Wire – the story

Midnight Wire has firmly established itself in the conciousness of the Leicester music scene, since their launch at Sub91 in 2011. We wrote:

Friday 2nd September 2011. Midnight Wire’s launch at Sub91.

The members of Midnight Wire are no newbies, still wet behind their musical ears. Most of them had previously played in successful bands. So, as you would expect, they delivered their songs with a healthy dose of confidence. Their forty minute headline set was filled with exquisitely good songs; catchy tunes, compelling beats and memorable lyrics. From start to finish, the band unleashed one stonkingly good song after another. The crowd lapped it all up with relish. … On the lead mic, Alex Rooster Van Roose. Behind him on the skins Adam Horton. To Rooster’s left, guitarist Chris Merriman and on the bass, Arjan Johal. … On the lead mic, Alex Rooster Van Roose. Behind him on the skins Adam Horton. To Rooster’s left, guitarist Chris Merriman and on the bass, Arjan Johal. …Their set finished, the kids were not going to let them go. They had to come back for an encore, …They weren’t short of extra songs. Since their formation earlier this year, they have penned a catalogue of new songs that would have taken most established bands several years to complete. These guys are driven by youthful energy. Songs writers in the band have been doing a great job spinning out new tunes. With a launch like this, they have a defiantly bright future ahead of them. They are full of ambition, they are insatiably restless and they are dripping with adrenaline-fuelled talent. Artsin will be following their progress with keen interest.
[Arts in Leicester magazine, 2011]

When MW played at Olive’s bar in February 2012, I wrote

I think they have written some of the best popular rock songs of last year … and they are still churning them out. … Midnight Wire came on. In front of them a packed crowd of happy faces. They opened with their song Honey. With a tantalising guitar intro and a memorable melodic line, it was a song that could spin round in your head long after the gig; had they not gone on to play all their other hit songs. Coming Clean, Oh Lola, New York City Lies, Excuses, Running Forever – almost too many to remember! These guys are seriously good at composing catchy songs. Some industry bloke came up to me afterwards and said “That song New York City – they could make a really big hit with that.” … I got asked “who do they sound like?” Easy. “They sound like Midnight Wire”. It’s an unmistakable sound. The densely packed throng were trying to dance as they got the infectiously driving rhythms but there wasn’t a lot of room to do more than jig up and down. Alex looked like the Dulux Dog, his now quite long hair falling over his eyes. The chirpy chappy got the songs out despite having a nasty bout of tonsilitis. Chris, always calm and controlled. Arjun, likewise, doing the business on the bass. Nik at the back, shattering the skins. I checked out their tour itinerary. Almost a working guide to England’s small venues, I noticed they had managed to bag a slot at the iconic 100 club in London. Wow! How did they do that? [Arts in Leicester magazine, 2012]

In March 2012:

Midnight Wire.
A band that has already created quite a following, Midnight Wire performed one of the best sets I have seen by a band in a small venue. They belong at festivals, owning the stage and making us lot spill our beers while we attempt to dance. Melodic, fun, well written, very well performed, modern British pop rock. Playing a genre I don’t usually buy into, I was surprised that before they reached their first chorus I was already loving this band! Alex Van Roose is quite simply a star; a rare talent, a voice to fall in love with, a skilful guitarist and an absolutely amazing stage presence. The rest of the band are on a par with Alex; I was very impressed by Chris Merriman on lead guitar and found that I couldn’t take my eyes off of Nik Green on Drums, he is crazy good! Their songs are really catchy and get everyone moving; I particularly liked the song Excuses. Midnight Wire thoroughly deserved their winning spot in this OBS heat. [Arts in Leicester magazine, Saturday 31st March 2012.
The Musician. OBS. Written by Pete Coombs]

At the grand final of OBS in 2012:

After a dramatic sound track, the four members of the band walked on to the stage to rapturous applause. The guys launched in to their set with their first bouncy number, laden with catchy hooks. New York City Lies has an engagingly jaunty rhythm and iconic lyrics and when it finished the crowd showed enthusiastic approval. As he introduced the second song, Oh Lola, lead singer Rooster drew the crowd into the action, commanding them to sing along with the chorus. Which they did with gusto. Enhanced by backing vocals from guitarist Chris Merriman, this was another song baited with catchy riffs and foot-tapping beats. At the start of the third song, Alex shouted “One, two” and the crowd resounded with “One, two, three, four …” and they were away with Honey and its plethora of syncopated rhythms and infectious riffs. Kings of the City has all the hallmarks of a hit song. You might as well be listening to The Clash or The Libertines. It was as good as anything they had. At the back of the stage Nik Green was working hard on the skins. Midnight Wire ended their set with with their punk speed song Never Gonna Leave LA. Even before the last chords died away the crowd was cheering and screaming. Eight classic pop/rock ballads without equal in our local area. … And the result?
Jono (Jon O’Neill) announced that the 2012 OBS top prize had gone to Midnight Wire.

[Arts in Leicester magazine, Saturday 19th May 2012. The Musician. The Grand Final of the Original Bands Showcase 2012.]

Midnight Wire. (Strawberry Jam Stage). 2012.

The four ‘Wires were on top form: Rooster leading the vocals and doing his usual dancing around the stage, with Chris Merriman and Arjun Johal putting in some backing vocals and, at the back, Nik Green giving the skins some welly. They played a couple of new songs and many of their old favourites, these are the barons of bounce, weaving plenty of tantalising keys into the music to go with the memorable melodies and compellingly foot-tapping, catchy rhythms. The crowd starting dancing as they broke into Excuses, and their street teamers went round the crowd handing out flyers. With their usual high-octane performance they played Running Forever. These songs stick in your mind and when you have heard them a few times, they feel like true iconic hits. These guys certainly know how to write popular songs. A superb performance from one of Leicester’s gold medal bands. Trevor. [Arts in Leicester magazine, Strawberry Fields Festival, 2012]

Friday 31st August 2012.

Y Theatre with Midnight Wire.
I can’t believe it’s been only a year since Midnight Wire set sail on the seas of live music. Sure enough tonight saw them celebrating their first twelve months with a big show at the Y Theatre. Where better to hold a show! It’s a nice theatre; its gilded balcony, it’s nice bar area with a selection of reasonably priced beverages and it’s sprung dance floor make it the destination of choice for discerning acts. More of a sense of occasion, I feel, a gig at the Y. Being the Y it is accustomed to having a lot of the younger generation running around the place. Happy, uplifting and vibrant sounds, Leaving Party were a good choice to pave the way for the headline set. With sirens blaring and a back drop projection, on to the stage came the members of Midnight Wire – making an entrance. Rooster takes position at the mic and calls out “Hands in the air Leicester” and a forest of glow-stick wielding arms appear in front of him. Chris Merriman strings in the opening chords of Lola and the set takes off. It’s not long before the ultra-catchy chords of Running Forever reverberate around the gold encrusted hall. Rooster is in his dapper gray jacket and Arj is clad in a parker. By the third song the ‘Wire is beltin’ out a high-energy number to which the fans respond by joining in with the clappy bits. It’s not long before the jacket is abandoned and Rooster appears in his hall-mark white vest. Kings of the City gets them all dancing and the sprung dance floor is resonating to the vibrations of several hundred feet. Towards the end of the set a photo of the New York skyline appears on the back of the stage and the band gets into its hit song New York City Lies. Kids get up on each other’s shoulders and they are all waving and cheering. It’s where the band shows off their considerable aptitude for writing massively attractive pop/rock songs. They are called back for an encore and play one of their new songs. The band shows they can sell out a venue and put on a night of top notch music. I have seen people saying that there are no good gigs in Leicester anymore. Methinks they are going to the wrong nights. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole show and did several hundred other people. [Arts in Leicestershire Magazine, Music Section, gigs diary]

When Midnight Wire won the Original Bands Showcase, I wrote

Last year’s OBS winners – Midnight Wire – took to the stage to play their guest slot, capping a long night of right-royal rock with the songs that they have carried around the country during their tour, for which this was the final gig. Led by the vocals of one of the youngest artists to have performed at Glastonbury, MW brought out a smorgasbord of new and established tunes to show the rest of the assembled musos how it’s done. Honey, Excuses, Running Forever – MW played some of their best tunes and a few new ones for good measure. These are songs that grab you right from the start, they stick in your mind and the more you listen to them the more you like them.  As they told me before the show, they had been to venues in various parts of the UK and played to people who had never heard of them before and came out having won over crowd after crowd. Watching MW on stage tonight, you see a well-oiled casualness about them, something seen only with bands that have toured and played extensively and to cap it all, Alex shouted “hands in the air Leicester” almost as though playing at the Musician was just another stop for the tour bus and none of the other bands used the word “Leicester” in their shout-outs to the crowd.

Songs by Midnight Wire do not sound like those made by small local bands; they sound like national chart material. Running Forever, as an example, is one that stands up to scrutiny way beyond our local area … it’s got a magic in its memorable melodies and ear-licking guitar riffs that makes it stand out. Midnight Wire is the heir to the Heroes and to songs like Blue Rave and Flowers in Golden Times that drew praise from the likes of Zane Lowe and Jo Whiley.  As the cheering died down, the OBS came to a close. Unlike some, I staggered off to my bed but as I walked home I reflected on what the OB Showcase has achieved in its eight years of sifting out the top bands of Leicester.
[Arts in Leicester magazine, OBS 2013]

Alex Van Roose (lead singer of Midnight Wire)

Alex Van Roose is a singer and songwriter. He is the lead vocalist with Midnight Wire and was previously with The Heroes. Alex’s song writing has won him national acclaim. He is also a writer of solo tracks and has made several solo appearances. Having toured with both his bands across the UK, Alex has also toured with his acoustic set. Alex has previously had solo tracks featured by the BBC and most recently had his track Never Gonna Leave LA (with Midnight Wire) featured as BBC Radio 1’s track of the week. Don’t expect the high energy you would get with his band, but do expect it to be fun and full of surprises.

So there you go;  lots more has been written about this band but that’s a fair sample.

Midnight Wire's Alex. Photo Kevin Gaughan
Midnight Wire’s Alex. Photo Kevin Gaughan

Crossing The Rubicon

Midnight Wire’s debut album ‘Crossing the Rubicon’ is out now!  (also available on Spotify)

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Join MW’s Album launch at the Y event page on Facebook

See also:

Midnight Wire at The Firebug (April 2014)

About The Editor 535 Articles
The Editor of Music in Leicester magazine is Kevin Gaughan assisted by Trevor Locke