Perpetually sunny indie-folk crew Milky Chance brought a little bit of much-needed summer warmth to the Danforth Music Hall this past Thursday with their mellow, inventive take on acoustic pop. The lighthearted act (and former Edgefest headliners) just released new album Blossom earlier this year and are touring in support of it.
Opening was Quebec singer-songwriter Gabrielle Shonk, who’s had quite the eventful year. Not only did she open for Rag’N’Bone Man earlier this summer, she also played the WayHome Music & Arts Festival at the end of July. The rising star is a trained jazz vocalist and plays a wistful blend of folk and pop that fits right in with Milky Chance’s aesthetic. The humble Shonk drew big cheers when she played her first big single “Habit”; another highlight was a cover of Tracy Chapman‘s “Fast Car”.
Milky Chance’s laid back, breezy tunes were perfect for the August evening and if you didn’t know any better, you’d swear that the German group were actually from somewhere in the Caribbean. Their vibe was downright tropical at times, with calypso rhythms and a colourful light show to match. The songs are also reminiscent of the easygoing alternative rock of the late 1990s, an amalgamation of various sounds that add up to a singular voice of their own.
It was a solid shuffle of old and new material, with the Blossom tunes neatly fitting in with all the Sadnecessary hits. Both sets of songs are hewed from the same winning aesthetic; a bouncing acoustic guitar laid over organic beats. The road trip ready “Ego” was an early highlight, as was the positive jam, “Doing Good”. The set featured a lot of harmonica from guitarist Antonio Greger, with his extended solos drawing massive applause from the audience. Frontman Clemens Rehbein was as jovial as always, at one point raising a glass with the crowd, imploring everyone to join him in toasting to the night with the German cheer “Prost!” Later in the set, he handed the microphone to a girl in the crowd asking for her name. “Audrey, what is wrong with you? Why do you know the words to all our songs??” he joked.
Latest single “Cocoon” closed out the main set, with their massive hit “Stolen Dance” of course saved for the encore. A fun affair as usual from the affable group, who will always be greeted here in Toronto with a hearty “Prost!”