Friday 25 May 2018

Gig review: Milky Chance at Vicar Street, Dublin

BERLIN, GERMANY - AUGUST 30: German singer Clemens Rehbein of Milky Chance performs live on stage during a concert at Zitadelle Spandau on August 30, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Stefan Hoederath/Redferns via Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - AUGUST 30: German singer Clemens Rehbein of Milky Chance performs live on stage during a concert at Zitadelle Spandau on August 30, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Stefan Hoederath/Redferns via Getty Images)
Ed Power

Ed Power

Almost nobody over the age of 25 will have heard of Milky Chance and their uber-hit Stolen Dance and frankly their billing as a reggae-flavoured Mumford and Sons is enough to strike cold dread in the heart of the sensitive listener.

Actually, their first Irish show was far less mind-bending than might be expected.  Screen out the squealing teenage audience – merrily hyperventilating from the outset – and the German duo's mash-up of dub, electronica and plaintive folk was perfectly pleasant. Guitar-hefting frontman Clemens Rehbein had a sweet voice and an engaging style of strumming; beat master Philipp Dausch, on drum and keys, couched the music in soulful grooves. You feared a YouTube novelty act – what you got was far more subtle.

If anything is going to hold Milky Chance back it may be diffident stage presence. There was a great deal of love in the room – and yet Rehbein and Dausch appeared ill -inclined to reciprocate. Standing absolutely still they were content to cede the spotlight to the music (the singer's towering afro made its presence felt also). From a certain perspective this was absolutely admirable – nonetheless a glimmer of showmanship might have raised an enjoyable evening to even dizzier heights.

While it may have slipped beneath the radar of the truly ancient – i.e. anyone permitted into the Vicar Street bar without having to show ID – the pair have built a global following at remarkable speed, with Stolen Dance streamed a hard- to comprehend 115 million times on YouTube. Sensibly, they held their smash back. And yet there was no sense of gratification delayed. Two tunes in and the sell-out crowd was already grooving on the spot – proof, against all odds, that reggae,folk and electronica really can enjoy a happy future together .

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