Taking a (Milky) Chance at Metro City

On the final leg of their Groovin’ The Moo sideshows, German electronic/folk trio Milky Chance and their support act Amy Shark provide a blissful Wednesday evening of melodic mid-tempo magic in Perth venue Metro City. Currently on a world tour to promote their new album Blossom, the Milky boys effortlessly coaxed the audience into a euphoric state of head-bumping and hip-swaying for their 16 song set.

The night kicked off with Gold Coast darling, Amy Shark, fresh from bagging number 2 in Triple J’s Hottest 100 last year. Her performance was simple: no lightshow, just a woman alone on stage with nothing but her guitar, filling the room with her beautiful voice, serenading the audience with emotional ballads of candour. The frankness of her song writing made me melt like a snowman in the Bahamas as I swayed to her sultry guitar chords.

Shark’s set was short and sweet, notably comprising her Unearthed tune Spits on Girls and a stripped back indie-pop rendition of Superman by rap-god Eminem.  Ending with her viral hit-single Adore, Shark’s power-ballad made the hairs on the back of my neck (and a hundred phone screens) rise as she proved why she is someone to watch in the Australian pop scene. Shark elegantly thanked the crowd and the “crazy Germans” for the fun she has had on their tour before saying farewell for the evening.

The crowd thickened during the short intermission as the roadies checked instruments and setup the stage with four huge circular stage-lights before Milky Chance jump on stage and get stuck into their set. They begin with new songs Clouds and Ego in a swirl of red and blue lights. Since seeing them in during their 2015 Australian tour at Southbound, they have acquired a touring drummer which adds a whole new dimension to their live performance rather than having a pre-recoded drum track. The DJ and Producer of the band, Philipp Dausch, stood behind a computer and large rack of synths and various percussion instruments controlling the bassline groove and singing backup vocals whilst adding understated, yet essential Latin, and jungle flavours to the laid-back neo-folk (everything sounds better with a set of bongos).

Singer and guitarist Clemens Rehbein says a very brief “hello” before the band hop straight back into the show with two of the lead singles from the new record:  the album title-track Blossom and foot-stomper Doing Good. Showing no inclination for any interlude banter, the band play on: both Rehbein and co-lead guitarist Antonio Greger unleash grooving guitar riffs, coaxing even the most unwilling of feet to get up and jive.

The crowd roared in response to the first three notes of 2013 hit Flash Junked Mind, boogying hard throughout the bracket of songs including a minute-long Cuban-infused jam: both guitarists saunter around the stage effortlessly plying their instruments with finesse. Some of the bands more bluesy tracks, Peripeteia and Cold Blue Rain feature Greger showcasing his phenomenal skills on the harmonica busting out some huge solos that make my heart tremor. Going back to a tune from Milky Chance’s debut album, Down By The River, the multitalented Gregor was back on the guitar channelling some squealing riffs; heavily influenced by ex-member of Red Hot Chili Peppers, John Frusciante.

Towards the end of the set Dausch picks up a bass guitar and lays down a dark and brooding bassline to match Rehbein’s heartbroken lament Alive, a tune that builds causing the crowd to slowly sway into the instrumental climax which gives me goose bumps. The smoke machines billow as if there is a fire under the stage

Toward the end of the set Rehbein gave an impromptu language lesson teaching us “prost” the German word for “cheers” as he toasts Perth. He asks everyone to “get cosy and cuddle each other” as he serenades the crowd with an astounding rendition of the acoustic song Loveland, crooning into the mic whilst accompanied by beautiful harmonica notes.

The sun dappled lyrics of Cocoon revs up the thinning crowd to dance a little more fervently as this is Milky’s “last song”. The boys leave the stage, but soon return to calls for an encore (no one doubted for even one second that they would) of the 20th most Shazamed song of all time: Stolen Dance. The whole song you can hear audience’s echo, dutifully singing along to every word: “I want you, we can boogie all night long. Never danced like this before.”

Finally, they end the gig with Sweet Sun accompanied by a kaleidoscope light show of rainbows through smoke. The punters cannot help but shake their hips to this upbeat song complete with a satisfying crescendo of harmonica and tom drums.

Milky Chance are not the most energetic performers I’ve ever seen, but they are such skilled musicians that it doesn’t matter. Their relaxed blend of folk and electronica alongside Rehbein’s unique throaty voice left me hypnotised as I groove to the smooth vibrations. The band wish us farewell, there is a sense of joyful euphoria in the room as people slowly mosey out of the building. I wander out into the brisk night air; a Wednesday night well spent.

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