Live Review: Milk! Records Good For You Tour @ Miami Marketta
Illustration by Elly Pugh
Milk! Records should really provide some sort of warning before their shows, or at least a sign that says, ‘Buckle up kids, you’re in for a ride!’. Because seriously. Phwoar. Never has a tour been so aptly named. Courtney Barnett’s very own label has been trekking across our fair nation over the past few weeks, and it all came to a glorious end at the Miami Marketta on the sunny Gold Coast.
With nearly every musician in the troupe performing in multiple bands, the show was like a really extreme version of musical chairs.
Emulating the bus tours of the ’60s, Milk! presented a spectacular four hours of musical madness. It seems that there are two qualifiers for becoming part of Milk! Records: firstly, being a wondrously talented musician and secondly, having shaggy hair. With nearly every musician in the troupe performing in multiple bands, the show was like a really extreme version of musical chairs. For the final gig, energy levels were through the roof, into the sky, and halfway to party town.
Kicking it off was The Finks, a super-mellow, super-chill group with a cello. Like, cellllooooo. Every band should incorporate a cello into at least one release. So badass. It was the first of many welcome surprises. Looking at the sheer amount of gear onstage, it became clear that this would be no ordinary gig. There were two drum kits, a rack of about ten different guitars, a buttload of pedals, a synthesiser, and some maracas. Kudos to the sound guy.
Jen Sholakis and Dave Mudie must have a telepathic connection because, sweet baby Jesus, it was incredible.
The Finks were followed by East Brunswick All Girls Choir, but it was more like the two blended together as band members tag-teamed in and out of the set. Like The Smashing Pumpkins meets Neil Young, these guys delivered a lively, endearing set. The highlight was the pounding track that featured not one but TWO drummers. Jen Sholakis and Dave Mudie must have a telepathic connection because, sweet baby Jesus, it was incredible. Synchronised drumming should be an Olympic sport. Frontman Marcus Hobbs engaged the audience with some insightful banter, mostly regarding his idea of a Schapelle Corby ride at Dreamworld. Naturally, it would involve riding a boogey board through different levels of security.
Music is exciting, and musical experimentation is mint. Enter Ouch My Face, whose musical experimentation is sincerely, electrifyingly brilliant. Their sound is void of genre (in a good way), high in humour and jam-packed with talent. In their short time on stage, they managed to mix in touches of grunge, riot, heavy, hop hop, and electro dance, and it all worked.
After a brief intermission, it was all-systems-go with Jen Cloher, who is basically a ball of pure energy in human form.
Highlights included Courtney Barnett joining the band on stage for their track Now, singing “I want valium, I want Xanax, I want whiskey, I want Codeine”. Pretty standard. Frontwoman Celeste Potter’s vocal distortion machine was both awe-inspiring and hilarious. There’s just something really funny about a voice going from high-pitched Le Tigre to Orgalorch the Demon Lord.
After a brief intermission, it was all-systems-go with Jen Cloher, who is basically a ball of pure energy in human form. Looking like an Aussie Joan Jett, Cloher subverted the notion of audience barriers as she fully engaged with the crowd. Cloher was followed by Fraser A. Gorman, a baby-faced Eraserhead crooner who exudes finesse. This Americana-inspired dude can also rock out on the harmonica. The only thing that could make his set more perfect is a start-to-finish cover of Neil Young’s 1972 album ‘Harvest’.
An amazing rendition of David Bowie’s Suffragette City and Neil Young’s Cinnamon Girl, complete with stage dives, made a perfect ending to an incredible four hours of music and a really f*cking good tour.
Courtney Barnett herself finished up the second act. She and her bandmates have seen an incredible reign of success, and they really do live up to the hype. Launching right into Dead Fox, Barnett and the band gave a stellar performance, spurring on the sweaty dancing and swaying with Elevator Operator, Pickles From A Jar, Pedestrian At Best, and, of course, No One Really Cares If You Don’t Go To The Party. Just to show our country’s collective appreciation, one punter presented her with a bouquet of Mi Goreng as thanks. She said it was probably the best give she’s ever received. It is arguably the best gift anyone could receive.
Don’t be fooled into thinking it was all over – this bonanza still had one more trick up its sleeve. After Barnett’s last song, all the performers piled onto the stage for a mass sing along, the cherry on top of this deliciously elaborate banana split. An amazing rendition of David Bowie’s Suffragette City and Neil Young’s Cinnamon Girl, complete with stage dives, made a perfect ending to an incredible four hours of music and a really f*cking good tour. It’s obvious that everyone up on that stage really, genuinely wants to be there playing music. No pretence. No gimmicks. No ego. Just a bunch of people who love to play and play well. Refreshingly simple. Great work Milk! Records. Ten outta ten.