Sara Robinson and the Midnight Special - Crescent Ballroom - 7/18/2014
Jim Louvau Sara Robinson and the Midnight Special, in front of strong local support, played the Crescent Ballroom Friday night. Full slideshow here.
On July 13, Sara Robinson and the Midnight Special announced through their Facebook page that they would be splitting with their original lead guitarist and chief songwriter Brandon Croft. Furthermore, the band announced that following their headlining date at Crescent Ballroom last Friday the band would be taking a hiatus for an undetermined amount of time.
"We would like to get our ducks in a row and come back with a bigger and better SR&MS," read the post. Quite frankly, I have to agree with that decision. Some time off could be exactly what Robinson and the Midnight Special needs to rekindle the passion that propelled them to local stardom so quickly.
In just more than two years, Sara Robinson and the Midnight Special have managed to headline Apache Lake Music Festival, open for local legends Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers at the Marquee Theatre, and just for shits and giggles, open for George Thorogood and the Destroyers in a stadium in Vegas. Friday's headlining set at Crescent Ballroom, which easily attracted more than 230 people, was a testament to the band's success on the local scene.
However, the break with Croft wasn't entirely clean, and though none of the details made their way to social media, judging by the jabs thrown publicly on the Facebook post about Croft and the hiatus it would seem that there were haymakers being thrown behind closed doors. Also, after the show at Crescent it is quite evident that Croft's replacement, Nick Sterling, can use a bit more practice with the band before being thrust into regular action as lead guitar for an act that is right on the precipice of "making it."
Furthermore, and this is not a knock on the talent of the remaining band members, but replacing a lead guitarist is hard, especially one who was so integral to the songwriting process for the band. But it's also true that when a fairly established band like Sara Robinson and the Midnight Special breaks in new members, their fan base provides them a certain amount of leeway with new music. So the group has some time.
Not that Sterling was bad. Considering the fact that he was not announced as part of the band until six days before the show, he was really quite spectacular. But Sara Robinson and the Midnight Special is not a barroom jam band, and being off key for nearly an entire song is not something that is really going to fly. Sterling's voice also didn't quite mesh as well with Robinson's on the background vocals. But that's what the hiatus is for.