Friday 25 January 2013

Milo Greene @ St. Pancras Old Church

Are Fleetwood Mac the most cited influence on new bands at the moment?  It certainly seems that way, but if it results in music like this then who cares?

Support act The Night kicked the evening off to an ethereal start, with beautiful female vocals floating atop bluesy guitar lines.  The six-piece band may have few gigs under their belts and seemed a little nervous, but the music was evocative and tightly performed.  Though perhaps a question of acoustics, the harp needed to be louder in the mix – it’s a distinct quality of The Night that would help them to carve an identity away from Fleetwood Mac.  In the final song the band really hit their stride, showing plenty of potential.

LA five-piece Milo Greene hit the ground running with their hour long set, consisting of songs from their recently released self-titledalbum, as well as covers of Sufjan Stevens and Wilco.  Yet what most impressed were the differences to the record.  Where the album merges the vocals together into a harmonious whole, the live set revealed four individual voices (the drummer is the only non-singing member of the band).  Lines, choruses and even whole songs were volleyed between band members, imbuing each song with its own feel from rasping rock to blues.  Marlana Sheetz, the only female, is vocally reminiscent of a young Karen Carpenter – particularly singing the yearning melodies of Perfectly Aligned

And that’s not all.  The four vocalists are also multi-instrumentalists, deftly switching between various guitars, keys and handheld percussion.  Watching the band juggling instruments mid-song as well as seamlessly segueing through the setlist was as impressive to watch as to listen.  Each song was richly textured, layering together multiple instruments along with a backing track.  At times the sound was too big for the small confines of St. Pancras Old Church, but the gradual crescendos from gentle guitars to grand cacophony were well nuanced in each instance.  The lyrics may be melancholic, but played live the music was dynamic and urgent, without losing any of its haunting brilliance.

The influence of Fleetwood Mac is strong on both bands, though with Milo Greene it has seeped into their veins to bring 70s folk-rock into the twenty-first century.  The evocative, reverbed guitars and harsher edge of their live performance brought a new dimension to their softly lilting album.  This is a band that deserve to be seen as much as heard.


Listen: Milo Greene's self-titled album is available now. The Night have a free download available on the band's website.

The Night

Milo Greene