MILK CARTON KIDS - THORNBURY THEATRE - 6 JUNE 2013
Carton Kids are Joey Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale, who through some freakish
chance have an extraordinary musical symbiosis. They each had low key
solo careers before they met, both being folk singer-songwriters who had
largely gone unnoticed. Since teaming up in 2011, their star has risen
to such an extent that their shows in the USA are sold out as soon as
they go on sale. They both hail from Eagle Rock California, but their
musical style could be from the remote Americana backwoods.
Melody Pool, who hails from the Hunter Valley, and has recently released her highly acclaimed debut album The Hurting Scene, opened the show and performed a riveting set of songs from the album. She is a skilled musician for one of her tender years and possesses a powerful and affecting voice somewhat reminiscent of Joni Mitchell. It is passionate and very suited to the sad songs she specialises in. The highlight was the gut wrenching breakup song Henry. She was a quality opener and worth the price of entry alone.
The Milk Carton Kids were scheduled to perform at 9.30, but they took everyone by surprise, ambling onto the stage a quarter hour early. The audience scurried back to their seats to catch the opening song Hope Of A Lifetime, the first track on The Ash & Clay.
In introducing what Joey Ryan termed the eponymous title track, he stressed that the ampersand between the words "ash" and "clay" was a deliberate design decision. He expanded on the origins of the ampersand later on.
The typographical references continued in the intro to Honey, Honey, Joey commenting on the deliberate placement of the comma between the two honey's. All this was - amazingly - highly amusing.
By this time the 'Kids' had the audience totally enthralled. Their act is magical - quirky, funny, endearing and musically enchanting, demonstrating as it does, a marvellous sympathy between the two young men, entwining melody on their guitars as they harmonise their voices singing their original songs, which have a haunting beauty and wonderful lyrics.
It was a night to remember with affection. I'm still buzzing several days after the show.
The success of this original tour will hopefully bring The Milk Carton Kids to these shores again. Australian audiences I'm sure fell head over heels in love with them. I certainly did.
Review and photos by Anne Sydenham