Review: Milky Chance @ O2 Ritz, Manchester

  • German electronic-folk trio Milky Chance play to a sold out O2 Ritz on their Blossom tour

As one girl in the audience shouts naively in to her friend’s ear, “EVERY BAND NEEDS A HARMONICA”, it sums up perfectly the experience of seeing Milky Chance at the O2 Ritz. It seems an odd declaration to make considering the German trio are celebrated for their masterful combination of electronic beats and reggae-folk infusion – but it’s a faultless depiction.

Milky Chance, extended to a quartet for live shows, shuffle almost unnoticed on to the seemingly, straightforward stage set-up but the band waste no time in showing off their spectacular light show. Bursts of pastel blue and pink dance around the ballroom as the group’s superb singles (Ego, Doing Good, Blossom) from latest album Blossom are ticked off early, introducing the Ritz audience to the effortless excellence that is Milky Chance.

Lead singer Clemens Rehbein’s gritty voice carries well, even when stood two feet away from the microphone, as the crowd sing back almost every word. Rehbein’s raspy intone is practically studio-sounding and places charmingly over the melodic beats of the backing band.

The group dutifully deliver a break from their latest tracks, giving debut album singles Flashed Junk Mind and Down by The River a taste of the wanting Mancunian audience, as the lights shift to green and red to represent the album artwork of Sadneccessary.

While the entire band sync together like one mind, non-founding member Antonio Greger, who joined the band three years after formation in 2015, stole the show. The harmonica is recurrent throughout Blossom but on the live stage, guitarist Greger becomes jack of all trades, master of one – the harmonica. Greger first shows of his skills during Peripeteia before unleashing an extended solo introduction to Cold Blue Rain which has the stunned listeners pleading for more.

As the band stop to interact with the crowd, it is evident from the smile on Rehbein’s face that the band are as happy to be there as the crowd are. Milky Chance fashion out the end of the set with a spirited rendition of Cocoon, a year to the day from it’s release date.

Returning shortly for the encore, founding member, Phillip Dausch, steps out from behind his abundance of equipment (keyboard, drums and even bongos) to reveal that it was Clemens Rehbein’s 25th birthday, to which the crowd react with a flamboyant rendition of Happy Birthday.

After heaping humble appreciation on to the crowd, Rehbein leads us in to the predictable hit, Stolen Dance, which receives the biggest cheer of the night but for the announcement of Rehbein’s birthday. The band leave us with an eagerly awaited Sweet Sun and one last taste of Greger’s prolonged harmonica solos.

What I thought was going to be a calm, relaxed gig quickly became an energetic and lively performance. Milky Chance certainly blossom out on the live stage.