Milo Greene | 11.07.12

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live milo-green_75I dare you to listen to songs from their self-titled debut LP and not just fall stupid, silly in love with them.

 

Firebird, St. Louis

live milo-green_500

Here is what you should know, good people of the interwebs: Milo Greene is my happy place. As I have said to anyone who will listen: Their music makes you feel ooey gooey. It's as if someone has dunked you in caramel and then rinsed you clean under a gently cascading waterfall, dried you off with a velveteen towel, wrapped you in yardages of gauze and feathers, filled your belly with pot roast and mashed potatoes, lay you down in a bed made out of puppies*, and snuggled you under a cover stitched from cotton candy and dandelion fluff, leaving you floaty, full, hazy, and oh, so very, very happy. So there's all of that, but also they can rock your face straight off your head, and make you bounce so much you run the risk of turning into a pogo stick. What I am saying is that I like them a whole lotta lot. There was never any question that I was going to have fun at this show, have sore calf muscles by the end, and smile like a lunatic throughout.

What I did not know is that the evening would hold a double dose of awesome. I didn't know about Bahamas. Well, of course, I knew of the Bahamas, the locale—Eleuthera, Bahamas, was the dreamy destination of my honeymoon. The sonic beauty of the opening act definitely equaled the visual beauty of the Bahamas. Appropriately enough, someone standing near me at the show was either chewing gum or wearing lotion that smelled like a tropical resort.

I appreciate the irony that this Bahamas is actually out of Toronto. I am serious, Canada: What the what is going on? Suddenly, nearly all of my favorite music is born out of the woody tundra of your beautiful belly. While a lot of our citizenry makes a big deal about wanting to move to our great northern neighbor, for one political reason or another, I am tempted to jump ranks solely on the merits of the music scene. This latest major attraction, the band Bahamas is the solo project of guitarist Afie Jurvanen, whose past includes time playing piano and guitar for Feist. Accompanied by a drummer and two backup singers, Jurvaven proved his prowess as a guitarist and as a writer of original songs.

During his too-short set, Jurvanen balanced the sweetness and sometimes sadness of his bluesy songs with an offbeat sense of humor and endearing smirk. He joked, "I'd thought I'd seen an all-you-can-eat buffet before, until last night at Lumiere," and promised it would be the same philosophy with his music: He'd give "all you can eat, all you can handle." I could've used another helping, but I am a total glutton.

In going to Jurvaden's website and researching Bahamas a little more, I enjoyed watching the intro documentary about him and his music. It gives you a little insight about his songs, which are all about family and relationships, love and loss. I agree wholeheartedly with two things: First, that there is more inspiration to be found in old things (plates, guitars, and other various objects) than in almost anything that's being made new, right now. Also, I must concur with his mum, who says about her son's work: "I'm deeply moved by your talents and your gifts and your music... I'm so grateful that you've found a way to put all your resources into your music and songs...found a way to put yourself out into the world in such a beautiful way. You're magnificent!" His music is magnificent, and I am so excited to hear more from this up and comer. Also, for the love of love, what is that tasty-looking, savory pastry shaped like a fish that his mom makes in that video? I want to eat that right now.

From the beginning and throughout Milo Greene's set, they seemed genuinely surprised at the size of the crowd, and mentioned several times how much it meant to them after playing for so long to audiences of four and five people. "It's the first time we've been here, and we don't know how you know who the hell we are!" I think that The Civil Wars' glowing endorsement of them helped, but there's a lot of word of mouth about this band. I am not going to be the least bit surprised if you never have the opportunity to see them in a moderately sized venue again. I dare you to listen to songs from their self-titled debut LP, such as "1957" and "Cutty Love," and not just fall stupid, silly in love with them. Seeing them live? Holy cherry on top. The musicianship is so good that there's little to no difference in the quality of their studio recording and what you see right in front of your face. I really enjoyed the extended jam sessions that preceded a couple of songs, including "Silent Way." All in all, there is just no way to sustain a bad mood around this gang; they are like uppers for the soul.

The band shared the crowd's jovial mood and joked a couple of times about Firebird's videogame options. Marlana Sheetz exclaimed, "Just saw the Ms. PacMan machine back there and it's kind of my jam." Later, Robbie Arnett and Graham Fink proclaimed their complete and total domination of Photo Hunt on the Megatouch, overthrowing "Punman's" high score. "It took a whole dollar, but we fucked his shit up." Milo Greene is now listed as the high score and promises that, if you can take them down, you'll get into their next show for free.

While the evening mostly consisted of originals, they did throw in a cover of Sufjan Stevens' "Chicago" which is perfect for a crowd sing-along. At the end of the night, they returned to the stage for their encore, and commented on Roadhouse playing, as it so often does, on the TV at the back of the house by the bar: "I can't take my eyes off Swayze back there," said Fink. They covered "A Shot in the Arm" by Wilco—"for Patrick Swayze." Then they ended the set with "1957," and left me wishing I could rewind the evening like a videocassette, and press "play" all over again.

After the show, I had the chance to talk to Fink a little about the brilliant short film by Chad Huff, "Moddison," created to showcase the songs on the LP. Fink explained that the band had always wanted to score a movie, and these videos were a further way of telling the story of the album. I highly recommend that you check it out. I would also suggest that, the next time you hear Milo Greene is coming to town, you snatch your ticket quick as a wink. I repeat: Their days to playing to four or five or even several dozen people are long gone. | Janet Rhoads

Please note: No puppies were harmed in the making of this imaginary bed. The puppies are all sleeping, and you are floaty and weightless so you can't hurt them. Um...duh.

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