CONCERT REVIEW: Midnight 20th Anniversary Show with Nunslaugter and Destructor Live at The Beachland Ballroom

When I heard that Cleveland-based sleaze merchants Midnight were having a 20th-anniversary hometown Halloween show, I knew I had to get my ass there. I live in the Cincinnati area so it was just a quick 4-hour drive and a great excuse to stop by Grandpa’s Cheese Barn along the way.

I wasn’t the only Midnight maniac to take to the road. I spoke with several fans who had traveled from Milwaukee, North Carolina, New York and more. Fans came away from near and far to celebrate Midnight’s legacy and witness what will surely go down as one of the band’s most unforgettable performances. 


Midnight is the darkened child of the mysterious black masked and hooded Athenar who started the one man recording project 20 years ago. After a few singles recorded here and there Athenar started to put more focus into the band and started to record full length albums as the band’s popularity grew. With a style that melds the best parts of Venom, Motorhead, punk, thrash and sleaze, Midnight packs a powerful punch. While Midnight is essentially a solo project Athenar has had several live members of the band over the years. For the last couple years he has been joined by Commander Vanik on guitar and Iron Possessor on drums while handling the bass and vocals. 


Opening bands for the evening were a selection of Cleveland’s finest metal warriors that included Destructor, Necroprophecy, Nunslaughter, Assault and Black Death. The Beachland Ballroom has two rooms: the Ballroom itself and the smaller tavern which kept the music rolling all night. The crowd packed the tavern to capacity with each set and I was unable to check out Necroprophency, Assault and Black Death’s performances. Though judging from what I could hear outside the room, each band put on a helluva show.

Destructor and Nunslaugter each put on great shows that would have been worth the drive admission alone. This was my first time seeing Destructor and I was really impressed with their old school thrash metal attack. Nunslaugter whipped the crowd up into a frenzy as plenty of pits erupted during their furious attack.

When the dust from Nunslaugter settled the crowd had the choice to catch their breath before the main event or to check out Assault’s performance in the tavern. After a brief set change the room went dark and the ominous sounds of bell rang through the venue. A loud cheer came from the crowd as three black masked and hooded hoodlums took the stage.

With it being a home town Halloween show, Midnight had plenty of trick ‘n treats for the audience. Standing to the right of the stage, I noticed the guitarist looked a little different but it was hard to tell since everyone in the band wears a mask. To everyone’s surprise, past live guitarist Filley stepped in to play a few songs. In addition, past drummers SS, Refuzor and Zigar were there to play as well. Wow, talk about a killer treat! For fans new and old this was a big surprise and a fitting way to celebrate Midnight’s enduring legacy.

True to their fast, furious and filthy style, Midnight’s set went hard with barely a pause between songs. The band played tons of classic cuts from their entire discography including, “Speed and Fucking Darkness,” You Can’t Stop Steel,” Satanic Royalty,” and “Unholy and Rotten,” Athenar and Vanik ran around the stage throughout their set like maniacs amping up the crowd the entire time. They stood and jumped off amps, got in the audiences faces and beat the living shit out of their instruments while still sounding amazing. Fans screamed and sang along the entire time. (my throat felt it the next morning) Towards the end of the set Midnight played a cover “T.A.P,” one of favorites I haven’t heard live yet which turned out to be more amazing than I had hoped.

Midnight played well over an hour but it was all over in a blur. The performance was wild and crazy with tons of energy, carnage and crowd participation. Everything you want in a Rock ‘n Roll show.

Cleveland rocks. 

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