Milo Greene’s show at DC9 last Tuesday was one of those you just know will be your only opportunity to see the band in a really small venue. They’ve been gaining buzz from the full spectrum of media, ranging from CMJ to David Letterman. Of course, it helps to be on Chop Shop Records, a label run by the music director for insanely popular TV shows like Gossip Girl and Grey’s Anatomy. But, despite their potential upper-hand in publicity, it’s their music and their energy that led to a sold out venue just a week after releasing their debut record. Check out a couple of their videos and you will see what I mean.
The night started off with L.A.-based indie pop band Family of the Year. They immediately made note of the closed circuit projections of the stage; DC9 was prepared for a crowded room and had done its part to help everyone see what was happening on stage, even if indirectly. Their music has that West Coast sound: soaring harmonies, lots of guitar, a shoeless keyboardist; that sound that Phil Spector established as the sound of the West. Their songs about “marrying me with my guitar” and “a night of campfires and MDMA” set the tone for the rest of evening. The last song of their set was an almost perfect embodiment of the band, five part harmonies with everyone in the band singing and lyrics of “Living on love. Living on love and libations. No complications.”
Milo Greene is not an eponymous act, but rather a 5-piece band (also from Los Angeles). They were surrounded on stage by seven tubes of LED lights in addition to a tightly packed crowd that was more than ready for their arrival. They began their set with the slowly building song “Cutty Love.” After handling a few small mic feedback issues, the band was off and running. (It is no wonder that Milo Greene travels with their own sound guy). On nearly every song of their 13 song set the band rotated instruments, changed who sang lead, and moved around the small stage to different mics.
And boy, were there harmonies. Unless I missed something — and I was paying close attention — every song of their set featured a four-part harmony. Whether it was Marlana Sheetz singing lead on “Perfectly Aligned,” or the song they played immediately afterwards, “Take a Step,” each song returned to a soaring four part harmony. Even with the record’s recent arrival, “What’s the Matter” and “1957” were obvious crowd favorites; seemingly the entire audience danced while singing along to the lyrics. The band loved it, clearly, and played off the crowd’s energy.
The night concluded with a two song encore in which the band declared that “this would be the time we would normally leave the stage,” but the venue’s unique setup and crowd size made it so they couldn’t exactly repair to their dressing room with ease. So, rather than hiding behind the drum kit, they simply announced that the next couple songs would be their encore and ignored the usual exit/re-entry portion of the encore. They ended the night with a fitting cover of Sufjan Stevens’ “Chicago.” Fitting because, once again they brought it with lots of percussion, lots of intricate harmonies and were once again accompanied by the crowd singing along. Finally they thanked the crowd and apologized for not being able to hang out much afterwards; they would do their best to say hi to everyone, but they had to head up the road to NYC to play Letterman (humblebrag).
Keep your ears open when watching your primetime dramas — not to mention the movie they made for their album — and check out Milo Greene the next time they roll through your town. It won’t be long before your buddies, your sister and even your mom will be asking “have you heard this band Milo Greene”.