After taking time to listen to their discography, it’s apparent that Midwell is ahead of their time. “It’s Kings of Leon meets The Band CAMINO.” I’ll bet you haven’t heard a band show so much range in just 2 projects. Even with one of their members living 3 and a half hours away, they manage to create a powerful sound that can easily be connected with. If there’s any artist bandwagon you should hop on before they blow up, it should be Midwell.
The Alpharetta based band officially started in March of 2018, but they didn’t ‘get the ball rolling’ until late 2019. Since then, they have played multiple venues across the state and have even paid a visit to Statesboro a few times. In early February of 2021, the band had a show at Three Tree Coffee Roasters.
The pandemic was still going strong at the time, so it was lightly attended due to social distancing guidelines. Despite the circumstances, Midwell gave a top tier performance. They sang some of their own hits like Handful, Reasons, Aztec Carpet, and their top spotify hit, Moving On. For the people that didn’t know their sound, they sang covers of some pop culture staples like Fortunate Son, …Baby, One More Time, and the major crowd-pleaser, Sugar, We’re Going Down. Unfortunately, O’Neil couldn’t be present due to a health emergency (not Coronavirus).
But the guys shook the house in his absence. They opened the show with their title song, Midwell, and Nate’s intense drumming gave us all the energy boost we needed. Cristofanelli’s powerhouse vocals shined consistently through the night. Brad came through with some of the sickest guitar melodies you’ve ever heard. Heartthrob Wesley was definitely a highlight of the evening on the bass, as the crowd would randomly cheer him on throughout the show.
The band started with Joey Cristofanelli (vocals) and Gray O’Neil (keys). The two had been friends since high school and decided to start a band together when they were in college. “He and I never felt like [college] was our place. We never felt like we were supposed to be there. We always felt like we were just supposed to do something different,” said Joey. Soon after, they added Nate Rees (drums). According to Joey, they had known Nate since high school and asked him to join because he was one of the two drummers they knew, and the first person they asked would only agree if he was paid. Finally, brothers, Brad (lead guitar) and Georgia Southern’s very own Wesley Strong (bass), rounded out the Midwell sound.
Currently, they are independent, and for them to carry on as they have without a label is a really huge accomplishment for them. “We are fully independent. Being a band, it is harder to be independent, because we have a lot of mouths to feed.” Long term, the guys admitted that they would like to sign to a label, but it’s not a priority right now. They seem to be doing pretty well for themselves, though. Their first single, Moving On, has racked up over 50,000 streams on Spotify.
In their music, they cover a lot of relatable topics like making mistakes, having anxiety, and being in love. One would think that they might get emotional while performing some of their more risque’ songs, like Holcomb Bridge that alludes to suicide, but that’s not the case. The song starts heavy with lyrics like ‘What if I kept on driving and left this life behind?’ Ultimately, they agreed that their musicianship is the way that they release their emotions. All except for Joey, that is. “I have to be the outlet for other people’s emotion. People come to a show to have a good time–to feel something. It would be irresponsible of me to not empower them to do that.”
In the whirlwind of 2020, they saw the extra time in quarantine as a gift and released 2 projects: Claystone and Built on Bad News. They almost released a third, but it was “a real crap show,” so they 86’ed it. The projects that they do have offer distinctly different sounds, which they did on purpose. The biggest difference is the production. Their first EP, Claystone, is a very polished and relaxed vibe, since Zach Berry of Berry Records produced it. They completed the entirety of Built on Bad News on their own, and it showcases them in their rawest form. They wanted to offer a spectrum from the start and, ideally, all of their music in the future will fall on a spectrum between the two.