It was a ridiculously freezing Friday night, but the atmosphere inside the O2 Academy was warm and buzzing. Despite the fact that the crowd was criminally sparse for such a great band, the venue did not feel empty – just friendly and intimate. Having released their debut album, Tales from the Thames Delta earlier this year, The Milk are on great form. Their sound, heavily influenced by Motown and Soul and often incorporating elements of hip-hop, dub and dance, is unique and exciting.
The night kicked off at around 8.00pm and opening it were Colour Change For Camouflage, an Oxford-based four piece. They did a good job of warming up the crowd with their infectious guitar pop (think The Drums but thrashier) and spectacular hair cuts. There was also an impressive display of rapping prowess from guitarist Easy Chalmers which, in itself, was enough to persuade me that they are worth keeping an eye out for.
Following a fairly long wait, The Milk finally came onstage at 9.00pm to an impatient crowd. Even before they had started their first song, you could tell it was going to be a great show. The Essex four-piece ooze effortless cool and charm.
I had heard much about their raw, exciting live performances and as they burst into set opener ‘Hometown’ it became apparent that everything I’d heard was true. They were energetic and musically very tight and together. Their set was packed with great sing-alongs, with hits like ‘Mr Motivator’, ‘B-Roads’ and ‘All I Wanted Was Danger’ keeping the crowd happy. Frontman Rick Nunn entertained the masses with his cheeky quips and an awe-inspiring guitar stance. At one point he lay down on the floor during an incredible guitar solo and, for that moment, there was a tangible sense of the crowd’s total admiration. Or maybe that was just me.
The Essex boys also played some new material. ‘Kicking The Smoke’ proved very popular with the crowd, but it was the old favourites like ‘Chip The Kids’ that really sent the front rows into a frenzy, putting a smile on every last audience member’s face.
The set finished with a three song encore, preceded not by the usual chants of “We want more!” but by impassioned cries of “Ten more!” I think this adequately reflected the crowd’s attitude towards the band by that point; they had won everyone over and were ready to milk (sorry) their success.
The Milk came back onstage to huge cheers and following two slightly slower songs they finished with the hugely popular ‘Broke Up The Family’, which succeeded in getting everyone dancing. The show ended on an undeniable high.
Hopefully The Milk will return to Oxford. However, even if they don’t – what with their compelling live performances and ever growing fan base – we’ll certainly be hearing a lot about them in the future.