As the sounds of live music begin to thump through the summer air all over C-U, Mid Nite Leg has other plans for the season. Only just forming in the fall of 2022, the band has already begun to make a name for themselves in the area. Between playing the Loose Cobra in April and playing multiple shows in Champaign’s newest venue The Space, Mid Nite Leg has been busy.
Most recently, the band closed out a Friday night at the Rose Bowl. Despite the warm evening, music lovers were able to dive into the frantic pace and 70s-style punk that Mid Nite Leg is bringing to the C-U music scene. Their set was crisp, and although just arriving on the scene, several fans were already eager to hear original songs such as “Just a Friend.” By the time they finished, they had several people on their feet and dancing in front of the stage.
So who is Mid Nite Leg? This four-piece punk rock band describes their music as sounding like the first wave of punk from the late 1970s. Their music is driven by melodies of power pop and the spirit of New York and British Punk. Specifically, the group was inspired by bands like The Ramones, The Dead Boys, The Damned, and Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers. However, don’t consider them retro, as they find their energy and style is similar to modern punk bands such as The Ravagers, Wyldlife, Poison Boys, Tuk Smith, The Restless Hearts, and Exploding Hearts.
Every member of this quartet hails from somewhere within the C-U community and has either played in previous groups or is still active in other groups today. Mid Nite Leg consists of vocalist Austin “Gavel” Parker (formerly of Insolent and Private Thoughts), C. Francis Wossom on both guitar and vocals (formerly from The Failures and The Joy Machine), Tyler Adkisson on drums (formerly from Dry Looks), and Nico Hualde on both bass and vocals (formerly from The Dry Look and currently in the Power of Dusk).
As for how the band came together? Well, the band says that it was Austin’s brainchild. He had been working on lyrics for multiple songs and was looking to start a band to bring them to life. He first got together with Chris, who developed the melodies to go along with the lyrics Austin had written. From there, Austin asked Nico to play bass and already knew that Tyler would join in on drums. All that was left was to name the new group.
“Austin and Chris came up with the band name together early on,” says Mid Nite Leg. “We all agreed that midnite is just a cool word that evokes ‘Rock N Roll-ness’. From there, Chris suggested adding ‘leg’. We liked that it could have multiple meanings like the ‘midnight leg’ of a long drive or something of that nature. We then stylized it to our current name, Mid Nite Leg.”
Although the band is relatively new, they’re already focusing on the next step. After playing multiple gigs to start off 2023, Mid Nite Leg is taking the summer off to focus on recording. Currently, there isn’t another gig scheduled for the group until August 12th when they perform with Poison Boys, another punk band from Chicago. From there, the only other gig on their calendar is a benefit show with other local artists on August 27th for their friend Barney “Moose” Joyce. However, that doesn’t mean they’re not open to other opportunities.
“If something comes up that we can’t say no to (and our schedules say it’s doable) then of course we’ll consider,” said the band. “If Johnny Thunder rose from the dead and the New York Dolls wanted us to play then all we can say is ‘Oh, hell yeah!’”
In the interim, Mid Nite Leg is dedicated to creating “some cool tunes from the heart.” They’ve already been in the process of recording their first album, with the majority of the record already completed. Although they couldn’t fully confirm or deny that a single is on the way, they did share that it’ll be seven songs. And although an exact date isn’t set yet, they know that the release is imminent sometime this summer.
And so while we wait for Mid Nite Leg’s first album and to return to playing shows, for now, they leave us with a message. First, they’re thankful for everyone who has been supporting them, whether it’s booking them for gigs or attending their shows. They believe the support has been incredible and while they’re taking a break from playing, they would encourage everyone to continue to support other local bands, music venues, and record stores.
And for new fans?
“Mid Nite Leg is an inclusive, fun-loving band that is all about the music. We invite you to simply come rock out with us and have fun. Every time we step into a venue we check our differences and egos at the door to provide everyone with the quality show they deserve. This music was generally made for everybody, but in particular for all the troubled misfits and unwanted poor kids that feel as though they have no future. We all share a common bond trudging through all the crap in the world. We hope that with our music we can give us all a place where we feel we belong. It’s like what Joe Strummer meant when he said ‘Punk rock means exemplary manners to your fellow human beings.’”