[Locals Only] Midnight Hour

Short-sleeve T-shirt AND vest? The best of both worlds!

As far as band names go, Midnight Hour is fairly loaded, conjuring thoughts of everything from the iconic ’60s tune (“In the Midnight Hour”) to the chorus of “Like a Prayer.” But this Orange County five-piece aren’t anything like Wilson Pickett or Madonna, instead falling much closer to the the adult contemporary, powered-by-Grey’s Anatomy sensitive (harsher folks might say “wussy”) piano rock of the Fray or Augustana (the latter actually had their big break on Scrubs, close enough). Sort of a weird choice for Detroit Bar, where the band are currently (along with San Diego’s Dynamite Walls) playing the club’s monthly Monday-night residency. But clearly, they’re doing something right: They’ve got a major-label debut coming out in the near future (no release date yet) from Interscope, and they fulfilled their prime-time destiny when their song “Running Away” appeared two years ago in an episode of Ghost Whisperer.

But if you’re going to remain successful doing that style, you’ve got to a) do it well and b) bring something else to the table. They’ve got the first part down pretty well, but the second part’s trickier. The zippy (by their standards) “Can’t Get Away From You”—a demo version is currently streaming on their MySpace—sounds almost exactly like one of Keane’s faster songs, except without the British accent (though lead singer/pianist Brad Lodge is nonetheless appropriately passionate).

Midnight Hour are certainly not for those about to rock, but there is a sizable segment who absolutely love this stuff. Based on early versions of the album tracks, it’ll prove excellent fodder for those looking to score their homemade YouTube videos that celebrate the romances of their favorite TV characters. And depending on how the album eventually turns out, it could be something more than that, too.

Midnight Hour with Dynamite Walls at Detroit Bar, 843 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, (949) 642-0600; www.detroitbar.com. Every Mon. in December. Call for time. Free. Visit Midnight Hour online at www.myspace.com/midnighthourrock.

Attention Orange County/Long Beach musicians and bands! Mail your music, along with your vital contact info and decent high-resolution photos (plus any impending performance dates) for possible review to: Locals Only, OC Weekly, 1666 N. Main St., Ste. 500, Santa Ana, CA 92701. Or just be lazy and e-mail your MySpace link to aching@ocweekly.com.

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