Segerstrom Center for the Arts
Off Center Festival Party On the Plaza
There was a bit of trepidation going into this show with Los Angeles based quartet Milo Greene. Not only has the last year consisted of a bit of a rebuild for the band, but their event for the Segerstrom Center for the Arts Off Center Festival was also threatened by a prevailing thunderstorm that was tempting to wander into Orange County. Perhaps the dark clouds and stormy feel were just precursors to set the mood for this evening, since Milo Greene has a similar musical character to an oncoming thunderstorm. While New York is waist deep in snow, we enjoyed a crisp Southern California evening on the Segerstrom Plaza, with a cloud free sky and glowing moon.
To open the night, Milo Greene’s core trio, Marlana Sheetz (vocals/key/guitar), Robbie Arnett (vocals/guitar), and Graham Fink (vocals/guitar) each took vocal lead on a song. For fourth song, “Perfectly Aligned,” the three vocals merged together in harmony, and established their presence to the crowd. Flanking them were Charley Damski on bass and Curtis Marrero handling drums and percussion. A solid crowd of young intellectual adults cheered and moved along with the rhythm. Some people passing by, exiting other Off Center Festival events, were roped in by the music and joined attendance.
A year has passed since Milo Greene released their most recent album, Control, which varies in rhythm and tonal elements compared to their indie folk self-titled debut from 2012. During this set, older songs like “What’s the Matter” carried that previous ethereal mood. The celestial echoes of tracks like “Cutty Love” reverberated pleasantly in this enclosed, yet sonically open space. Milo Greene is reminiscent of Young the Giant, The Colourist, and Of Monsters and Men for their persuasion focusing on gazing guitars, subtle and intricate drum patterns, with well-constructed, interweaving melodies. Reverb on vocals and elongated chords on keys created a combination fascinating to observe live.
On newer tracks, drum beats are more driving, and the vocal melodies are less organic, and more technically inventive. With this departure from acoustic elements came a shift into more electronic pop sensibility—almost in the vein of modern disco, or the cinematic pop they categorize themselves as. Despite the crowd showing more appreciation for a return to the original songs of their 2012 debut, they also reacted to the danceable, bass-driven rhythm of the songs off Control like “White Lies.” There was interplay between the two styles all through the set, one more primal, and the other more angelic.
As “1957” commenced to complete the concert, the crowd’s reaction fluxes and smartphones lift up to capture the next few minutes of the music they’ve really been waiting for. Band member Fink conveys excitement to return to recording and document this next group of songs they have been holding onto, one of which they shared tonight for the first time, titled “Dozen Times.” The band has made their changes, and they are craving to depict themselves as the recently completed amalgamation of their form. As for tonight, it was clear we had dodged the storm and Milo Greene got the start they needed for their first show of 2016.
Lie To Me
What’s the Matter
When Its Done