May 2, 2009

My main problem with singer/songwriters is their live acts: if it don’t rock my socks off, it’s going to bore me to no end. The pretty songs that singer/songwriters produce, are more suitable for cozy nights in front of the fireplace rather than an evening in a smokey club, smelling the armpit of my too-close neighbor. After a couple of songs, you start feeling your feet getting tired, your back screaming in protest of having to arch in unusual ways because of the elbows surrounding you and you end up needing either a good dose of rock ‘n’ roll or to go home.

Luckily, up and coming baldhead Milow brings a band to the small venue that is Tivoli, in Utrecht, the Netherlands (capacity: 1,000). A bass, a piano and a set of drums to accompany Milow’s accoustic guitar ought to keep my feet moving. Halas, it takes the Belgian (but Dutch speaking) band almost two hours after the doors open to take the stage. Milow is a shy guy that isn’t exactly born to stir up a crowd, so no extra energy there either. He greets the audience and immediately starts the show with ‘Stepping Stone’. The crowd is not thoroughly impressed – it seems that half the people here have come to chat up with their friends. The buzz of voices is more than a little annoying. And that pretty much kills what’s left of my energy.

So was it all a drag then? No. Milows voice is amazing. It’s pure gold in fact and the accompanying sound of the backing vocals of his female band member is stellar. The songs start off small with just vocals and accoustic guitar, another instrument joining in with each refrain. It’s a simple but nice procedure that keeps you pay attention. Milow even losens up and turns out to be quite the funny guy in between songs. He does a solo cover of Thunderroad (Springsteen) that gives me goosebumps, not in the least because it’s a tribute to his mother, who appears to be in the crowd. Last but not least, our talkative crowd finally shuts up when the band plays their greatest hits here: ‘You don’t know’ and ‘Ayo Technology’ (yes, a 50 Cent cover but you wouldn’t recognize it).

The encore is a mini accoustic concert on its own. Of course my chatty neighbors can’t be bothered. I’m ready to go home before the last song. All in all not the worst show, but I was more impressed with Milow’s impromptu cover of ‘Drop it like it’s hot’ on Dutch national radio. And I can enjoy *that* in the comfort of my own home. Fireplace lit and everything.

++ his voice, the small venue, craftmanship of the band
— the crowd, the crowd, the crowd

(Editors note:  For our readers in the USA who do not know Milow, I have found a clip on youtube from this show.  You can view it here.)

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