It’s an amazing thing music can do for you.
It has the ability to take you away–into another world–for just a moment, if you let it. It has the ability to move you in ways you hadn’t known–perhaps in the moment you hear something so new and strange for the first time, and you’re struck by this immense well in your gut that makes you question where it’s been all this time. Or maybe it makes you feel like you’re connected to something bigger than yourself–bigger than your body–when you pick up an instrument and you feel at peace.
That’s what music does for me, at least.
I once heard from an old teacher that moments of true beauty make us cry because we live in fear of that moment passing from us.
We fear the end of a moment–the end of a song, a work of art, literature or scene. We become so enveloped by the moment of a “thing” that we fear its end. We don’t want that moment to end.
I first discovered Milo Greene back in 2012 when their song “Cutty Love” appeared in an epic-ly ethereal dream sequence in USA Network’s Covert Affairs (yes, I was a junkie of that spy show). Not only was I taken aback by the magic of that TV moment, but I was enamored by the rich harmonies and lush acoustics the music delivered.
Milo’s sound is like no other I’ve found in contemporary folk/rock bands.
I know there are a bunch of indie/rock audiophiles out there who know just about every up-and-coming talent out there, though for some reason there are only a few artists that stick with me–and when they stick, there’s no turning back. I’m obsessed.
So you can bet back in 2014, when I was just a young semi-musician semi-journalist semi-I don’t know what I’m doing college student, that when I heard this band was coming to UCI’s first Summerlands Festival, I could not deny me the chance of personally meeting and possibly interviewing them.
I’ve only held about two or so interviews up to that point–one with a stranger, another with a teacher–and I was only just beginning to learn the “art” of the news article. But I damn wanted this interview. So bad.
It turned out four out of the five band members actually went to UCI. They reminisced to me about their college memories. We talked music, we talked about how we all grew up in Northern California and how we just loved music and couldn’t not make it our lives.
Talk about a dream come true–vibing with this band whose music you can’t get enough of!
So when they arrived in San Francisco at the Swedish American Hall last October 1st–full of the Scandinavian-like lights and woodsy tavern-y decor–the night was everything intimate, and more.
To date: I’ve seen them four times in concert, with the last two being earlier this year in January/February. Naturally, seeing them is like seeing old friends.
The night began around 8pm (with good enough time for my brother and I to hustle over to the city after he got out of work), as an indie/rock band from Norway called Over The Trees went on; after, an Ecuadorian duo named Karate Dancer charmed us with their indie/electronic tunes. I had a wee bit of a stressful day and drive, so my brother encouraged me to, “Just relax,” as I sipped on some rum and bourbon-y cocktails to lighten the mood.
I wasn’t expecting the concert to be a sit-down, and perhaps we came a bit too early as the place was less than half-full when we arrived, but by the time Milo came on around 10pm, the place was packed. Also, the damn sit-down seats kept me strapped to my seat when I only wanted to scream and shout and sway to Milo’s music, right in front of their faces!
(It’s a little embarrassing to admit I found myself mouthing just about every word to their songs. I never realized how much I’ve religiously listened to their albums, and I don’t want to fangirl.)
During the show, Robbie’s parents were seated upfront and the band noted what they thought of their record Control, which came out earlier this year.
“It’s okay,” they noted, with the band adding, “But we just want to make you proud! We want to make Robbie’s parents proud.”
Marlana even added that her parents said, “Well I’m not that much into techno.”
After the show, I headed over to Andrew as he was packing up some of his gear.
“You!” he pointed. “UCI! You interviewed us. And you like to play guitar!”
I laughed as he remembered me. We caught up about how their tour has been going, how their record’s been doing and where they’re off to next. He even told me a story about a fan whose been to like 20 Milo shows cross-country, not even knowing how they traveled across the U.S.
Curtis–who is the one I never really got to talk to out of the five–introduced himself as he overheard Andrew and I’s conversation and he told me how he noticed a lot of the art majors at UCI are from NorCal.
He added, “It’s nice that the band is from up here and I get to hang with them. And my girlfriend’s from up here too.”
Marlana, adorably neurotic as ever, told me, “It was weird for me to hear all of this chatter going on and I felt like I wanted to say something but not, and all these thoughts are going on in my head!” referring to their set.
I laughed. “It was so weird to see you guys sitting down though. I was waiting for you to get up and dance to ‘Lonely Eyes’!”
I also reconnected with their tour manager, Jerry Lopez, who was my main contact from their Summerlands performance. I told him about graduating and figuring out my next move, and how he figured his life out in music way later as an illegal immigrant. (Hah!)
As I asked my brother to snap some photos of me with the band, Robbie noted to me, “I still love that photo of all of us backstage [at Summerlands].”
“The one with your favorite shirt?!” I asked.
“Yeah,” he said with a laugh, as I waved bye to the band.
Forming genuine connections and sharing genuine moments with people at a concert is probably one of my favorite parts about live music. You’re all there because you love the music (or you’re with a friend who loves the music). And you’re there to socialize and have a good time.
When you have that moment when you’re listening to a song–with the rich acoustics filling the room, drumbeats reverberating throughout as you can feel the beats shaking in your chest, with four voices harmonizing ever so perfectly through your earbuds–you remain still. You’re in your own head. The music fills up your soul. You’re lost in the moment. And you can’t get over just how damn beautiful that sound that is filling up the entire room is. You want to cry.
That is absolutely the best moment to be in. Ever. And that’s why I love live music.
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Robbie: "I still like that photo of all of us backstage at UCI. That's my favorite." Me: "Aww, the one with your favorite shirt!" * It's safe to say @milogreene has become one of the defining artists of my college career. As UCI alum themselves with records that have shaped my college experience, AND as the very first artist I ever interviewed back at #summerlands2014, you can bet they have a soft spot in my heart. Always good to see old faces who keep going at it. 💃 #milogreene #swedishamericanhall #sanfrancisco #sf #culturecollideSF #noisepop #livemusic #uci #zotzot 📷 and 👯 by @twanandreckless