The Medium Eat Halal & Play Manhattan

NYC can get you down sometimes, but The Medium wasn’t going to let that happen Monday night.

Even though it was shitty out and traveling the MTA made me feel like I was in an episode of Punk’d, I still arrived at Manhattan’s Mercury Lounge in high spirits.

I walked in while NYC’s LUECK was on stage. The 5-piece’s emotional melodies were sweet, but still very much rock ‘n’ roll. Frontwoman Katy Lueck’s vocals flowed smoothly over the rockin’ band and their sound filled the entire room. Though the audience was small, the band still played like it was a sold-out show. “I see a lot of familiar faces out there and I love you guys,” the frontwoman said before exiting the stage.

While LUECK packed up, I got a drink at the bar with the boys in The Medium who I first bonded with while drunkenly chatting at SXSW in 2018. The four of them got to NYC around 2 a.m. after a 14-hour drive from Nashville, but that didn’t stop them from having a full day of NYC experiences.

“We got Halal twice today,” Medium bassist Sam Silva said. Guitarist Michael Brudi said they walked all around the city stopping at as many hot dog stands and bodegas as they could. Guitarist/vocalist Shane Perry said all he wanted to see was a real NYC street rat. And drummer Jared Hicks recounted a “real New Yorker” conversation he overheard on the streets about a man saying his mother would slap him if he knew he ate fried catfish.

Equipped with a newly acquired NYC-attitude, The Medium took the stage. These boys truly know the meaning of fun and know how to spread it all around. Their intricate vocal harmonies are always impressive and they sing it nice and cozy into one mic together. Though they didn’t have time to play my favorite song “Space Horse,” they still played hits like “The Groove,” “Lazy Sunday” and “Good ‘Ole Days”—which have been stuck in my head since.

After The Medium wrapped up, Brother Reverend took the stage. These true NYC indie rockers have been playing the NYC scene for over a decade. Frontman Keith Xenos dropped to the floor whenever he wasn’t singing into the mic and crawled around on his knees. It felt like the perfect cool-guy mixture of laidback and passionate shredding. Though their songs were also mostly uplifting, you could still feel that melancholy only those who have braved multiple NYC winters know.

When the show ended it wasn’t the NY-native bands that kept the night grooving. The Medium boys outshined all those New Yorkers by staying out until the bars closed at 4 a.m.—and I, of course, joined them. We took pickle backs and “Ass Juice” shots and watched porn at the grungy Lower East Side dive Double Down Saloon before heading back to gritty Brooklyn.

The night ended like a proper NYC night should—with a .99-cent pizza slice in hand.