Live Review: Milo Greene with Family of the Year at DC9, Washington DC – 24th July 2012

By on Tuesday, 7th August 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

In 2011, I covered this gig by the Civil Wars and was delighted by the support band. Fast forward nearly a year and that support band, Milo Greene, is now selling out venues as they travel through their own headlining tour. They made a triumphant return to Washington, DC playing to a sold out crowd at the intimate DC9 nightclub.

Starting out our night was the California-based band Family of the Year. Although they seem to fall into the current crop of folk bands, Family of the Year rocks much harder than your standard folk band. Yet, with an acoustic guitar out front, it’s got a bit of that folkish feel. I’m just happy to say that this band plays a great set from gentle, sweet tunes like ‘Heroes’ to the rocking ‘Diversity’. Playing mostly songs from their just release album ‘Loma Vista’, Joseph Keefe (guitar and vocals), Sebastian Keefe (drums), Christina Schroeter (keys), James Buckey (guitar) and Alex Walker (bass) got the crowd dancing with their bouncy, carefree songs. But it was ‘St. Croix’ that made me grin as they channeled, just for a moment, TGTF darlings Two Door Cinema Club with their “oh, oh, oh“ bit. Seriously, go listen. You will have the opportunity to see this band quite soon as they are playing Reading and Leeds on the BBC Introducing Stage. With a couple of other UK and European dates as well, I again predict good things for this band that I first saw playing support.

With the stage so tiny, I worried about how Milo Greene were going to carry out their trademark instrument shuffling. They slid into their set with ‘Cutty Love’ with one set-up and before the next song was underway, their first transition was complete: guitar to keys, keys to bass, bass to banjo. With nary a flub throughout the night, this band has clearly become very well polished during their short stint in the national public eye. Indeed, band members Robbie Arnett, Marlana Sheetz, Andrew Heringer, and Graham Fink share nearly all the instruments and vocal duties. “Four of us were lead singers in our previous projects, so we really have no focal point, no lead melody writer or lyricist. Everything is Milo,” Arnett claims. Only Curtis Marrero remains stationary at his drums.

I was thrilled to see the instrumental ‘Wooden Antlers’ was still on the set list – not many bands have the courage to have instrumentals on their albums, let alone in their live shows. Even though the album came out only a week before the gig, the crowd teemed with singalongs. The unforgettable melodies and catchy lyrics were sung back to the band, complete with harmonies from the couple next to me. Both meditative and swelling, Milo Greene’s live set sweeps you into a feel-good place that you want to go on and on.

It also seems that I was quite correct in originally tipping the song ‘1957’ as their breakthrough tune. Not only is it their first single, it’s the song they have chosen to end their set with. With supreme confidence in it, Arnett turned the mic out towards us for the ending chant “I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go, I.” With grins all around, the band watched as their creation was belted out back at them.

As the set wound down, Fink revealed that they were going to have to leave quite quickly at the end of the gig because they needed to get to New York City to set up for their ‘Late Night with David Letterman’ performance. (You can watch this performance below.) This is indeed a huge coup for a small band in America. While they do not currently have dates scheduled for the UK at this time, I won’t be surprised in the least to see them head over in the spring.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sp-FRU6YwrM[/youtube]

After the cut: the set lists.

Family of the Year Set List:
Buried
Stupidland
Diversity
Hero
St. Croix
The Stairs
Chugjug
Living on Love

Milo Greene Set List:
Cutty Love
Silent Way
Polaroid
Perfectly Aligned
Take a Step
What’s the Matter
Wooden Antlers
Don’t You Forget About Me
Staging Point
Son My Son
1957
Encore:
Autumn Trees
Chicago (Sufjan Stevens cover)

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