German folk group Milky Chance stopped in Columbus Wednesday night as part of its “Blossom” tour.
This was my first time seeing the group live, and I was a bit apprehensive since its recorded albums seemed too relaxing to maintain a solid energy.
The stage seemed simple: two raised drum sets on either side, each flanked by two bronze circular light fixtures. By the look of things, I assumed the visuals were going to be tame.
But when Milky Chance came on stage at 9:00 p.m., my first impressions were shattered.
Once the lights went down, light fixtures resembling retro boom boxes were revealed and the circular lights came to life. Opening with “Clouds” and “Blossom,” the band members’ silhouettes danced amidst hypnotizing pastel hues of purple, green and blue.
The band’s stage presence was simultaneously easy-going and energetic. Lead singer Clemens Rehbein’s command of the mood seemed effortless. He gracefully nailed a guitar solo during the song “Firebird” and would playfully make off-hand riffs during other songs.
His gritty voice also carried surprisingly well—audible even when standing one or two feet away from the microphone. He was also extremely considerate of each member. As an orchestra veteran, I couldn’t help but smile seeing him hide on stage right to shift the crowd’s focus to other instrumentals during a song.
It was clear that Milky Chance was as happy to see its fans as its fans were to see the band. Between songs, the set was paused multiple times to shine a light on the crowd. Rehbein waved and gave shout-outs to fans on the balcony and those scattered in the back.
Milky Chance’s set was a healthy mix of hit songs off its debut album “Sadnecessary” and its latest album “Blossom,” which was released earlier this year.
Band member –– and new dad –– Antonio Greger missed this stop on the tour. However, his replacement absolutely stole the show. Rehbein introduced him as “Martin,” and boy could he play. Martin showed off his harmonica and trumpet skills during “Peripetia” and “Cold Blue Rain” respectively. His prowess on the trumpet stood out especially, contrasting energetic jazz inspired riffs with softer controlled melodies.
After ending the main set with “Loveland” and “Cocoon,” they quickly returned for an encore. Rehbein hushed an eager crowd and the band played an acoustic cover of The Tallest Man on Earth’s “The Dreamer.” Bringing the energy back, they finished with its hit “Stolen Dance” followed by “Sweet Sun.”
To kick open the show, California pop group Gene Evaro Jr gave a groovy opening performance. The crowd swayed along with smooth saxophone and guitar riffs. For its final song, Milky Chance’s Philipp Dausch came on stage early and joined in on the bongos leaving the crowd excited for more.
What I thought was going to be a chill night blossomed into a fun-filled rock show. I’m happy I took the chance to see Milky Chance perform.