After having a great idea on a trip back from Nottingham and being inspired by Graham Duff’s memoir -Foreground Music: A Life in Fifteen Gigs- I’ve decided to tell you about my journeys inside the music world. My objective is to inspire you to stand up and go to a gig, a party, listen to an album, or to just dance alone in your room; Because music is beautiful, enjoy the ride!
I always forget about rush hour and get annoyed at the amount of people waiting in line to board a train. But today I did not care – I was eating a delicious chicken and avocado sandwich and on my way to a gig – it doesn’t not get better than that. The ride was tight and quick. Changed at Stockwell and in under five minutes I was out and about walking on Brixton Hill’s sidewalk. I was on my own, if it’s a gig in London you’ll most likely find me on my own – I’ve only been living here for five months, and still haven’t found a gigging buddy that will say yes no matter the event – with a big Cheshire Cat smile going from ear to ear. Bright lights and a sign that read: ”Milky Chance – Feb 5th – SOLD OUT ” gave away the venue. A security guard directed me towards the box office. I waited eagerly to receive my ticket. Another security guard ripped the stub off the little piece of carton and, after a quick check, I was inside. I headed upstairs to try and find a good seat.
The wait for the band to begin their set felt very long because of the two, in my opinion, boring opening acts. First there was Casey Lowry, he was accompanied by a small ensemble conformed by a bassist, guitarist and a drummer. Lowry was chirpy and overly excited. At first I sympathized with him because it was his first time playing at the legendary London venue, but after three simple teenage pop songs I tuned out.
It was over and I got excited again, “Milky Chance’s turn!”, I thought. But I was wrong, as the stage was cleared and a couple of synthesizers and mics were placed center stage. I realized someone else was going to play before the German band. It was producer and songwriter Edelbrook who played through a quick set filled with pre-set samples and pre-recorded tracks and harmonies. His music did not bother me at all, I actually thought it was pretty good, but the way he decided to play them live exactly the way they sound on recording was a bit disappointing. I was tired from work and school, and so far this show did not seem worth another sleepless night.
I started to reminisce about the time I first saw Milky Chance. It was winter 2018 in Guadalajara, the band had released their second effort the year before and they were visiting Mexico for the first time. The show happened at the C3 Stage, a small venue in the skirts of Avenida Chapultepec (one of my favorite streets in the city). The venue fits roughly one thousand people and it was sold out. It was such an amazing night – and that is why I was now sitting at the Brixton venue. I went with some of my best friends to that show and the nostalgia forced me to purchase the ticket.
My daydream was suddenly stopped by the dimming of lights and the screaming of 4,900 fans. The band came on stage, everyone positioned on their spot; guitars on, mics checked, everything was ready for them. The set began with three new songs (‘Fallen’, ‘Right From Here’, and ‘Fado’). Given that I had listened to the album once a few nights ago at around 2:00 AM, I did not recognize them. Clemens Rehbein stopped for a bit after ‘Fado’ to say hello, he seemed a little nervous as he said, “I can’t believe you are all here!”. He was in awe to see a sold out venue, and then the balcony lights were turned on. Rehbein took a step back, he was definitely impressed. It was a lot of people, a lot. I smiled as I saw his face of fear turn into a face of relief, he stepped up to the mic again and announced that the next song would be an old one. The first chords of ‘Blossom’ started, which I recognized immediately, and another unforgettable night was inaugurated. After that came ‘Cocoon’ and ‘Down by the River’ which I sang louder and harder each time another chorus came around. My body was begging my mind to stand up and dance, but I wasn’t allowed to. The only thing left to do was stomp my feet to the rhythm of the drums and move my arms in a chairercise manner. It was ridiculous, but I needed to move. There was so much energy in the room. Everyone was sintonized into the same vibration, singing the same lyrics and dancing the same melodies. I can compare this show to a two hour long hug, and not just any hug. You know when you hug someone and you can tell they want to hug you? That’s how it felt, as cheesy as it sounds. I was happy again.
The band left everything on stage, they turned uncomplicated songs into anthems and were able to evoke a wide spectrum of emotions. They had me feeling euphoric during ‘Ego’ and filled my eyes with tears during ‘Loveland’ as Antonio Greger played a cathartic harmonica solo. It all came to an end with ‘Sweet Sun’. Guitars filled with distortion, drummer (Sebastian Schimdt) on his feet, Philip Dausch’s bass rich and round, and Rehbein’s baritone voice delivering yell-like notes combined into a perfect finale. As they danced, jumped, and laid in the ground Angus Young style, I stood up and clapped. I had to stand up, I needed to stand up. “Woah, woah, woah”, my brain went on repeat.
As I walked out into the cold streets and made my way to the bus stop, I responded to Pepe’s (my best friend) message with a voice note describing how I was feeling. My voice sounded like I had smoked a whole pack of cigarettes in a couple of hours. All the yelling had killed my vocal chords. The bus arrived, I sat on the top floor (as always), and looked out the window. Suddenly, calm filled my body. A feeling of bliss arrived for a couple of seconds. “Woah”, I whispered to myself.
Words and Image, Jaime Suarez @jaimeduardos