herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Review

VICAR STREET, CHRIS WASSER

We've got dreamcatchers, people. Giant ones, too. A handful of them hang from the ceiling, high above the smartphones and shoulder-climbers. It's as if German folk/reggae/electronic outfit Milky Chance are trying to tell us something.

Either way, they're probably the first German folk/reggae/electronic outfit we've ever come across. Who or what is Milky Chance? Well, there are usually two of 'em (guitarist/vocalist Clemens Rehbein and DJ Philipp Dausch), but tonight, the summer chart-toppers have an extra six-string/harmonica player in tow.

The big-haired dudes in T-shirts hit it hard last year with the relatively catchy Stolen Dance. How can we tell if the duo's groovy beach smash is destined for one-hit wonder status? Easy.

Stolen Dance (115 million YouTube views and counting) went to number one in Ireland, whereas debut album Sadnecessary crashed in at the wrong end of the top 100.

True, they've had some success Stateside, and the band's first Irish gig had to be moved to a bigger venue to accommodate all those new Milky Chance fans.

On the basis of tonight's murky, monotonous performance, however, it's only a matter of time before we forget about Rehbein and Dausch and move on to the next Next Big Thing.

It's all so bloody repetitive. It's as though the same song is stuck on a loop, with Rehbein doing his best Marley-goes-grunge trick over and over again. What's wrong, has he got a sore throat? Maybe.

Alas, Rehbein is the weak link, all incomprehensible (English) lyrics and questionable vocal stretches that grate. At one stage, he brings out a banjo. It doesn't end well. It's a disengaging performance, Milky Chance relying heavily on the lighting guy to create an atmosphere.

CIRCLES

There are some delicious beats in the mix, but the songs aren't up to scratch, Rehbein spending the best part of an hour going round in circles, looking for a tune that sticks.

Some of them hit the target (Flashed Junk Mind isn't bad), even if this is one of those gigs where the audience's vocal talents far outweigh that of the bloke standing behind the microphone.

Busy button-pusher and percussionist Dausch does his best to interact ("the next song is a love song, so find someone to make love with"), but Milky Chance need to try harder. Show a bit more enthusiasm; ditch the harmonica howls; sing properly, gosh darnit!

This is the type of generic folk pop noise you'd hear emanating from a festival tent at 1 o'clock in the afternoon. Or sitting by the pool on your holliers.

Indeed, the Milky Chance boys bear all the familiar hallmarks of a band that hasn't yet mastered the art of standing out. We doubt they ever will. HHIII

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