The Milk Carton Kids, Vera Sola @ Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide 13/7/2023

Photography Adelaide Guitar Festival 2023

One of the top picks of the Adelaide Guitar Festival was The Milk Carton Kids which features the collective might of Joey Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale from Eagle Rock, California who have released six albums to critical acclaim and have in the process been nominated for two Grammy Awards. A good friend of mine said to me a while back that The Milk Carton Kids are a must see duo with their unique brand of indie-folk music and he wasn’t wrong. This was a fantastic show that delivered far more than I expected.

Joey Ryan took the stage to introduce the opening act Vera Sola (aka Danielle Aykroyd who is Joey Ryan’s wife). Absolutely stunning voice and guitar player described as the lost love child of Leonard Cohen and Nancy Sinatra and touted by Rolling Stone in 2018 as one of the “The Top Ten Country Artists You Need to Know”. Her set may have short but she captivated the hearts and minds of the big crowd that was there early to see her play. Vera has a unique finger-picking style that her other half has tried to replicate without success. Crooked Houses and Famous Blue Raincoat were great moments in her set.

As Vera left the stage she said there would be no intermission and to “hang on to your bladders” as The Milk Carton Kids would be out shortly. Not only Joey and Kenneth are great songwriters but they are charismatic with a touch of good humour and sarcasm aimed at each other. Trying their hand at Aussie slang they settled on a good ‘ole “how are ya!” creating that feel of a “variety show”. Opening with Younger Years and Memphis they sung in to a retro microphone facing each other and a clear nod to musical heroes Simon & Garfunkel. Joey commented on the fact that in their twelve years they had never played in Adelaide having heard so much about our city.

Charlie was heartfelt and just stunning as was Heaven which followed. When You’re Gone proved popular and Joey described I Only See The Moon sarcastically as Kenneth’s magnum opus quoting Miles Davis saying ‘It’s not the note you play that’s the wrong note – it’s the note you play afterwards that makes it right or wrong.’ What a solo moment which was written for an orchestra, insert golf clap. The great songs kept coming with One True Love and Honey, Honey. Stories about stage fright and anxiety about playing on Conan O’Brien were great listens and they had this attentive crowd in the palm of their hands. North Country Ride, Hope Of A Lifetime, Michigan and set closer I Still Want More were absolute gems.

Returning for an encore start with the bold but beautiful rendition of Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here was the moment of moments in this show finishing on Will You Remember Me? Of course we will! It was a standing ovation for The Milk Carton Kids as they left the stage leaving Adelaide fans to marvel in what we had just experienced.

Live Review By Rob Lyon

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