Saturday, March 2, 2013
Empire Dine and Dance, Portland, Maine
I saw Milo Greene open for The Civil Wars in November of 2011 and was very, very impressed. They have no lead singer, but a drummer (Curtis Marrero) and four other musicians (Robbie Arnett, Graham Fink, Andrew Heringer, and Marlana Sheetz) who all sing beautifully and pass instruments constantly back and forth. Their harmonies were spot on, and I loved their songs. I bought their three song EP for five dollars and listened to it on repeat for much of my three hour drive home to Maine. I got to see them again in Boston about a year later at Brighton Music Hall. I got to the venue super early and was literally the only person in line until Maddie joined me. Hi, Maddie! We’re still in touch almost six months later. She’s a Milo Greene mega fan. She went to a summer camp in California where Andrew Heringer was a staff member. He came outside for an interview while we were waiting and she said hello to him. It precipitated a twenty-minute conversation in which I learned how down to Earth and kind he is.
My Gardiner lady friends Andrea and Kate and I spent the day in Portland supporting the local economy and had a leisurely dinner at Local Sprouts and then a pre-show margarita at Taco Escobarr. We were sure to get to Empire Dine and Dance early to get a good spot for the show. We made our way upstairs and I spotted Andrew coming our way to get to the merch table. I decided to say hi and told him we’d met back in Boston. He said, “yeah, your friend was at our gig last night in Boston.” Good memory! He stopped and talked to us for twenty or so minutes. I’d seen on Facebook that they were looking for Vermont skiing suggestions and my friend Kate is a Vermonster, so they chatted at length about all the things the band could do on their day off. At some point, Kate even had Andrew’s iPhone in her hands using Google maps to show him some points of interest. It was hilarious. Anyhow, thanks, Andrew, for taking the time to be nice to your fans. It’s appreciated.
We wrapped our conversation because Brookyln’s Savoir Adore took the stage. They were dressed in all white and were mesmerizing. Andrea, Kate, and I took to them immediately. There was even synchronized dancing. What? Yes. It was awesome. I particularly liked “Loveliest Creature” and another song (sorry, I didn’t catch the title) about “teardrops in your eyes.” They had a lot of stage presence and personality and I liked their harmonies. I’d see them again in a heartbeat. Check out Savoir Adore’s full set from Brooklyn Bowl.
Savoir Adore and Milo Greene both took the stage to switch gear between sets. Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie” was playing over the PA and we all noticed that members of both bands were singing along and doing a little dancing. It was adorable. Andrea, Kate, and I solidified our spot front row center and waited a few more minutes for Milo Greene to start. Here’s their set list from the night:
- “Take A Step”
- “Cutty Love”
- “Silent Way”
- “Wooden Antlers”
- “Don’t You Give Up On Me”
- Wilco’s “Shot In the Arm”
- “Son My Son,” which is my favorite song on MG’s debut self-titled album. I love the line “just remember the weight of your world’s only resting on me.”
- “Staging Point,” which is the only one of MG’s original songs they played that is not yet recorded.
- “Perfectly Aligned”
- Sufjan Stevens’ “Chicago”—a very well done cover!
- “Autumn Tree,” which is the first song MG wrote together as kind of a songwriter’s group, which really spurred them to start a band.
- “What’s the Matter,” which is Marlana’s favorite song on the album.
- “1957,” which is in rotation on 98.9 WCLZ.
There’s no denying Milo Greene’s talent. Their songs are lovely and layered. They can all sing (well, I don’t know if Curtis the drummer can) beautifully, and they function onstage as a cohesive and comfortable unit. Their harmonies are breathtaking. I am ready for even more Milo Greene music. Their shows tend to be relatively short because even though they play a couple of covers and everything from Milo Greene, that’s only about an hour of music. They don’t banter a ton, either, so it does leave audience members wishing for more time with them. Is there new music on the way, Milo Greene? With their relatively quick rise to stardom and near constant touring, I am not sure they’ve had the time to write much new stuff.
Check out their short film, Moddison, which was released in October and is a series of music videos for every song on their debut self-titled album. I’ve read in Milo Greene interviews online that they are all passionate about film scoring and sometimes call their music cinematic pop. Their music would surely play well as a soundtrack.
Some magical things happened before, during, and after the show. En route, we passed by a gentleman who told me “I have a video of me killing people.” That was quite a moment. Before the show, we got to chat with Andrew and he was lovely. During the show, the woman next to me was beside herself with joy. She’d first heard Milo Greene while on the treadmill at the gym and was really moved by the music. It was hilarious. After the show, Empire turned on Madonna’s greatest hits and a bunch of guys hit the dance floor in rare form. It was a thing of beauty.
Milo Greene—come back to Maine someday? I learned from Marlana’s video blog that Empire Dine and Dance has a subpar green room, but I promise there are better ones in Portland! Thanks for a great night!