Midnite: Live Vibes In The NW

Ron & Vaughn Benjamin of MidniteWhen Paula Fuga, Mike Love, & Sam Ites concluded their beautiful, soul moving set, most of the Southern Oregon Reggae Massive headed outside to hang out and join the family by the warm, enticing bon fire while we waited for Midnite to take the stage.

It was still early, I would say maybe 9:30pm at the latest. The night was clean and clear, with no alcohol in sight. There was a ton of people there that I had never seen in Southern Oregon before at any show…but wait a minute, maybe I had? Yes! At the last Midnite show!!Vaughn Benjamin

The other day, I caught part of a conversation on the SNWMF Phorum that stated something to the effect that Midnite was Reggae Music’s version of the Grateful Dead. Many users in the thread did not understand the connection, and this could be debated back and forth on many levels, but to me it seemed on point in a lot of ways:

1) People looked up to and honored Jerry Garcia for his beliefs and for his active role in the Ron Benjaminbetterment of the world. I see Vaughn Benjamin in this same regard.

2) Touring with the Grateful Dead was an international phenomenon. Midnite is on track with that same feeling: People “tour” with and follow Midnite around the globe, seeking and reveling in the musical moment for love, light, and wisdom.

3) A lot of people complained about Jerry’s voice and that it just didn’t fit. I personally adore Vaughn’s vocal abilities, but I can’t say the same for quite a few people I have hadEdwin Byron conversations with about Midnite’s music.

4) The Grateful Dead really had a family feeling, a feeling of belonging, a feeling like someone is looking out for you, your brothers were our brothers, and your sisters our sisters, all united. Midnite definitely puts out this same family vibe with strength, and knowledge.

I think it was about 9:45 when Midnite’s van rolled into the lot. I could feel the excitement building in the air, but I didn’t want to go in just yet because I knew that once I was inside, I wasn’t leaving until it was over. There was no way I was missing even one minute of Midnite’s performance. The next ten minutes seemed to take at least an hour. When I started to hear instruments being dialed up, I cruised in to check the scene.

SONY DSCRon Benjamin and the rest of the band (minus Vaughn,) were already on stage, almost finished getting set up, and perfecting the sound. As I watched, there was a point I thought the night was over. Apparently, there was some kind of issue with the sound where every time Ron played a note, it shook something that buzzed in a bad way. Ron was very patient, trying to communicate with the sound guys, but after about 10 minutes his frustration lead him to pull his cord out of his amp and stand there, arms crossed, waiting. My heart felt like it was going to sink…

I turned around and stared at the sound guys, sending positive vibes as hard as I could to Ras L“Fix it and FAST, Boys!” I could tell people in the room were getting a little nervous too and started thinking to myself “Come on! You can do this!!”

Giving thanks and praise, the show started at about 10:15pm…and Midnite was ON!!!

Once the music started flowing, and my camera started going, I kind of lost track of time and space, so I can’t say that I remember every Christian Molinasong they performed. The vibrations of these humble men and the music they express from their hearts had me floating on a sea of love.

I do know Midnite opened with “Mighty Race” and then went into “Carboniferous Land“. “Birthright Is The Ticket“, “Meditation“, “Breathing Scrolls“, “Mongst I&I“, “Lianess“, “Force n Flames” were all performed and the set ended with “Roll Call” at about 1:15am.

After the show, I made my way to try and get a moment with Vaughn. I popped my head into the small room off to the side of the stage and he was sitting there, relaxing, no Edmundone else around. I introduced myself and made sure he remembered me from our reasoning the last time he came to town. I told him my mission in photography is very similar to Midnite’s mission in music. Knowledge is the foundation of our lives and the key to the future, without it we have nothing. Spreading knowledge through musical photography is the heart and soul of Rogue Agent Photo and I love every second of it.

Vaughn graciously listened and confirmed my sentiments with a few “Yes, I” ‘s, which made me smile. I even got him to sign a poster from a 2004 Santa Cruz show that my sponsor Mystic Ron & Vaughn BenjaminLion did the artwork for and gifted to me. It was a precious moment for me, but I made it quick. I don’t like to bug people.

I then set my sights on Ron, the bass player and musical mastermind of Midnite. I jumped up on stage while he was just about to exit, showed him the poster, and with a smile on my face said “Would you sign this for me?”

Ras L, the keyboardist was in between us and said “He got you, Man.” Ron laughed and said “You got me.” His eyes lit up when he saw the poster and said “Where did you get this?”

I told him my good friend Mystic Lion gave it to me and he smiled with a kind of “Oh yeah, Mystic Lion!” kind of look. I also told Ron the same thing about my mission with Rogue Agent Photo as I told Vaughn while he signed the poster. Ron said something to the extent of “Give Thanks, Yes I,” and gave me a bro shake.

I turned around to leave with the highest vibes in my heart, a huge smile on my face, and a new outlook on the future. Once again, Midnite changed my life…for the better. I love what I do so, so, soooo much!!!

Check out all the images from this special night in the Photo Galleries section of my website HERE.

I want to GIVE THANKS to Juliette Mountain of Roots Family Productions for always showing love and respect to Rogue Agent Photo and for continually bringing world class artists to Southern Oregon!!!


Joe McLaren

Rogue Agent Photo

Ron & Vaughn








About Rogue Agent

Spreading awareness to the masses in the form of emotional imagery, our hope is for the viewer to feel the power of the moment that took our breath away. That is why we do what we do...so YOU can FEEL it!!! Professional Photography for Live Performances, Portraits, Festivals, Weddings, Concerts, Portfolios, Events, and Everything Else You Can Dream Of. Serving Northern California, Oregon, and Beyond... Booking: Please Call 541-631-8774 or Send An Email To: info@rogueagentphoto.com and/or rogueagentphoto@gmail.com
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