Chris Catalyst is one of those blokes. You can’t help but warm to him, but it’s more than that.

The reason MV and plenty of others have followed his career for getting on for two decades now is that he’s clever. He wraps his songs in happy tunes when the words? Well, they’re anything but.

Here tonight for his first show with this new band, his opener, the understated title track of the “Mad In England” album that he put out six months or so ago, is sweet, harmonic and yet, biting.

A born performer “King Of Everything” and “Wake Me Up On Monday” are all very well but they’re not “I’d Rather Be Anywhere”. It nearly got him in Twitter jail this week but for all its namechecking of “Celebrity wife swap with Rosemary West” and imagery of Katie Hopkins doing burlesque, it’s the “house with Live, Laugh, Love” on the wall that most chills…..

He goes back to the Eureka Machines for “Brainwaves” (and confirms a new EM album later in the year) but whether he does band stuff or solo material like “My Family” it rather doesn’t matter. It’s cut from the same cloth, the sort of stuff bands were doing in 96 and still sounds fresh today.

He ends with “Happy”, sort of balladlike and containing the words “I wish I could be happy like everyone else/content with my existence, hanging smiles up on the shelf”. Oddly, although he’s done a lot from starting in Sisters Of Mercy, playing with The Wildhearts, Ugly Kid Joe and Ghost, right here, among what he terms “like-minded people” is where Chris Catalyst seems happiest.

“We’ve got one more left” says Nick Hughes, “then we’ll go to bed”. Then the masked men if Middlenight Men and women launch into “You (Getting Over)”.

One of the few songs they play from their debut, it is nonetheless everything that’s good about them.

The basic facts are these: if you loved (as MV did) bands like Honeycrack and Senseless Things in the mid-90s then Middlenight Men should be right up there in your modern listening.

With one key difference. As “The Middlenight Men Intro” rather neatly underlines, they have a rather fabulous line in harmony vocals.

The energy they play the likes of “Fighting Skylar” with is wonderful, and when they go back to the first album for “B.A Baby” you can get a sense that they’re always been this good.

It’s odd, really because for all the knockabout stuff (Hughes introduces the wrong song and the Zorro make-up) TMM are utterly deadly serious about songs.  “Issue 2” is one of the albums of the year so far, and “Bruno” – like going back in time for me – and the slower “Living In The Heart Of Hell” are both perfect pop-rock gems.

They’d worked with Jason Perry (Hughes introduces him as “McFly’s Producer” but to me, he’ll always be the genius behind A) and if the results are the reflective “Kids We Want To Be” it was worth it.

“The Longest Goodbye” the last song on “Issue 2” is the penultimate one here and listening to it you are struck by something Catalyst had said in his set: “Thanks for supporting live music, instead of paying £430 for a Taylor Swift ticket” and there’s a bit of that here.

I wouldn’t insult the intelligence of anyone here by saying they were headlining arenas in six months (although given their other jobs have taken them there that’s not such a leap) but it shines a light on the fact that there are so many gems in the underground.

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