It has been about six years since we last saw or heard of Midnight Masses. Then, the band was a stark indie outfit from New York with fresh singer and voice in Autry Fulbright and ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead's Jason Reece. The band at the time were working on an E.P. and then things went quite after 2009. Fulbright joined Reece full-time in Trail of Dead and it seemed like Midnight Masses was done. That was all until this summer.
Last month, the band released their long awaited debut, Departures and now with a new line-up, new sound, and new songs they hit the road. The band, now based in Austin, Texas, returned to New York for two area shows, one in Brooklyn and one at Manhattan's Mercury Lounge where we saw them. Going on stage just around 9 p.m., Masses came to preach to the room who were anxiously waiting to see them all of the years. Opening with a couple songs from Departures they sprung into the fan favorite and one of their first tunes, "Preacher Son." It was at this point the crowd realized things had changed. That stark sound was traded for a much more rock / blues vibe and with enough sound and energy to fill the room, the once mysterious band seemed tangible and one to easily fall for. Fulbright would crack jokes in between songs and discuss his life on the road as well as the meanings behind the songs they would play. He even noted how some songs would get a different "live sound" than what fans were used to. In fact, it was live where these songs are meant to be heard, felt and desired. While Departures is a solid debut and enough to make fans of the band excited, the songs really need to be heard right in front of you. Tracks like "Am I A Nomad," "All Goes Black," and even "Golden Age," which paid homage to Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark" as the shows epic closer. For the 40 minutes Midnight Masses were on stage they preached to the glory of rock and roll and the faithful who have followed them for so long waiting for this moment of return.