Promoting their debut album, Milo Greene came to Madison for their second time at the High Noon Saloon Saturday night. The five-piece pair played with opener Bahamas.
Bahamas is more of a one-man show. The four piece set of guitar, drums and two backup singers provides a spotlight for Afie Jurvanen, the guitarist, to showcase his musical prowess.
Standing on stage in a denim jacket and a clean green hat in the vein of Indiana Jones, Jurvanen played his occasionally soothing, occasionally upbeat tracks, mostly off his new album. Live, however, his music takes on a whole other form.
Jurvanen doesn’t emphasize his ability as a guitarist in his albums, opting typically for clean riffs, conservative solos and overall simple, but enjoyable songs. Yet onstage, he lets it rip. In between drum fills and atmospheric backup vocals, Jurvanen throws in little guitar solos that are clearly inspired by classic American rock.
As Bahamas’ performance went on, the crowd slowly loosened up as well. Playing one of the hits off his most recent album Barchords, he invited the crowd to dance, and some obliged. Even in their mellow songs, the band found a way to give a certain amount of energy to the crowd that built song by song.
There’s an endearing characteristic about Jurvanen, too. A Finnish-Canadian, he looks distinctly, if not comically, American. His garb is rugged but well kept, his guitar old but in similar condition. When factoring in his musical style, he seems like an ode to a certain sense of classic Americana.
That said, he maintained his bizarre sense of humor. Throughout the show, he managed to produce a few laughs from the audience. After, he darted offstage to the back of the venue, where he manned his own table and sold his gear.
Milo Greene, on the other hand, was a more balanced ensemble, with all five members showing off their abilities. Sometimes switching instruments, sometimes serving as backup vocals, the performance brought a different, but still solid, sense of energy when compared to Bahamas.<">While Milo Greene and Bahamas seem like an odd musical pairing, the effect was enjoyable. Both groups benefit from backup singers who add a certain sound to each group that helps them stand apart. Less noticeable in their studio albums, this effect adds a lot to their live performances and helped one performance blend into the other just the right amount.
Despite having just one album under their belt, Milo Greene performed very well together. There is also something welcome and unusual about performances from bands with just one album: Stylistically, the music was all coherent. Moreover, the audience seemed familiar with the songs and enjoyed every one.
It was obvious Milo Greene is still establishing themselves, although it didn’t detract from their performance. The group spoke far less than Jurvanen did between songs and seemed a little more concerned with their appearance and performance.
The effect was oddly endearing. While Jurvanen awkwardly rocked around the stage and seemed to converse with his guitar, members of Milo Greene stood in place far more and seemed to have a certain focus the opener was lacking. Undoubtedly, the group will open up more as they play more shows, hopefully diving more into improvisation and experimentation. Watching the group’s performance change over time should make for an interesting experience in their shows to come.