Midnight Shift is a down home rockin’ combo that specializes in Chicago blues with a flair for jump and 50’s rock. Hailing from Pennsylvania the band is dedicated to continuing in the tradition of Little Walter, Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry. Midnight Shift has been a part of the Lowcountry Blues Bash in Charleston, South Carolina as well as competing at the 2006 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. They have opened for Carey Bell, Popa Chubby, Guitar Shorty and Asleep at the Wheel.
Harmonica player and vocalist Mike Mettalia wrote ten of Bullet Proof’s thirteen songs. Midnight Shift is propelled by a strong rhythm section consisting of Nick Lauro on drums and Doug Brown on bass. Doug also sings and plays guitar on Eddie Cleanhead Vinson’s, “Hold It Right There”. Rounding out the group playing some very tasteful licks on guitar is “Lonesome George Riola. The band also features guest vocalist Marie James who sings her own “Heart To Break” and John Lee Hooker’s “Goin’ Home. The overall mood of the recording is reminiscent of a party in progress and has already garnered some very strong reviews.
Graham Clarke of “Blues Bytes” writes:
“Mettalia proves to be a gifted composer as well as a harmonica ace. “Jump This Dive” is a nifty little piece of jump blues and “ Work Don’t Work” would have been a solid fit as a Billy Boy Arnold single from his Vee- Jay days. “ Bullet Proof “ is a rock-solid disc of blues and rock from a band that knows its stuff”.
Roger and Margaret White of “Big City Blues” magazine in Detroit contribute this review:
“Songwriting is what pushes this band ahead of the rest. “Bullet Proof” is a rockin’ little instrumental that proves that they are not just a bar band. I hate saying that because they are just a really good band. Unemployment Risin’ is a real blues statement for these modern times. The lyrics hit home in today’s economy. “Jump This Dive” is the kind of dance song one hopes for in a smokey bar at midnight. The song that may slide right in on you is Midnight Shift’s theme song “Midnight Shift” it tells you how “The blues got to be funky got to greasy like barbeque”. The Midnight Shift have put in their time, punched the clock and are ready to work”.
Bruce Iglauer of Alligator Records writes:
“Built For Speed”, harp has good tone, clever lyrics, solid shuffle. Guitar player has a good sense of tradition and rhythm section supports well. “Midnight Shift” some strong confident harp, cool groove, nice guitar work too. “L&N” really liked your harp concept on this one. “Calabash “ fun little rocker with good guitar and harp. “Work Don’t Work” nice harp and the band locks up well. You have a solid band here with quality playing all the way around. You do a fine job, very well played. For a local band that I hadn’t heard of, there’s a lot to like here”.
The Pulse Weekly out of Allentown, Pa. adds:
“Midnight Shift plays blues and they play it very well. Make sure you check out Midnight Shift’s strong vocals and harmonica player-they’re both tight. They make music that is danceable and fun and is perfect for outdoor festivals”
Rosemary Pratka of the Morning Call newspaper in Allentown, Pa. writes:
“Bullet Proof” the band’s latest disc , displays Midnight Shift’s versatility in the blues idiom. Mettalia’s harp plays a dominant role on blues tracks such as “Midnight Shift”, the group’s namesake number and the saucy “Built For Speed”, where Mettalia’s smooth vocals roll along like a 50’s Cadillac looking for action. On the rockabilly tip, “Heartsick”, is a rousing Jerry Lee Lewis tribute, with guest Dan Mckinney’s outstanding piano played off against George Riola’s guitar riffs. Overall, “Bullet Proof” is a testament to the Lehigh Valley’s ongoing love affair with the blues and sure to keep the local scene jumping”.
From Smokin’ Joe Miklos of the Billtown Blue Notes:
“The Lehigh Valley has a pretty good blues scene and Midnight Shift is one of its premier bands. Mettalia has a warm engaging voice. His harp work stays mostly in the mid range which he has a great command of. “Bullet Proof” is a darn good effort”.
Dave Howell of the Lehigh Valley Blue Network writes:
“The songs are upbeat, with Mettalia singing about playing in the joints (the swinging “Jump This Dive”),
drinking (“I Don’t Remember”) and not working (“Unemployment Risin” and “Work Don’t Work”), making this group sound like a decidedly shifty bunch. The sound is revved-up without slow spots, but also laid-back, in that the music is never forced or jagged. Everything keeps moving along like it knows where it is going. Probably to a party somewhere. Yes this is a party CD, so get “Bullet Proof” before those shots hit”.
From Austria the Blues Art Journal adds:
“With this, their debut release I feel that they can only improve on what is a wonderfully understated and at times mellow album. The sharp harp and lyrically jazz tinged flowing guitar led collection of foot-tapping numbers are undeniably in the great tradition of Chuck Berry and Little Walter. The whole proceedings are backed with, and infectious inferred rockabilly drum ‘n’ bass rhythm. Throughout the album a contented, satisfying feeling of warmth is felt. A fine, fine album”.
From Chicago piano great Barrelhouse Chuck:
“I enjoyed listening to it”.