Country / Folk / Gig Reviews

LIVE REVIEW: The Milk Carton Kids @ Factory Theatre, Sydney (04/06/13)


by Chris Familton

Being an evening of minimal and sparse folk this was a seated show and those that took their seats early were treated to the solo songs of Melody Pool who immediately took the room in the palm of her hand with just her vocals and guitar. She possesses a sweet mix of folk and country in her mesmerising voice, with just enough ache and weariness to authenticate her stories of emotional turbulence, impressively backed by some effortless and creative guitar playing.

The Milk Carton Kids may possess a left of centre moniker for their folk/americana styled music but they are 100% the real deal when it comes to the art of songwriting and live performance. From the opening notes of their intertwined yet contrasting guitars, to their absolute precision harmonies, Joey Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale excelled in the art of captivating an audience by means of their voices and hands. It felt like there was no electricity involved as they wove tales of despair, both politically and emotionally and balanced them with tender odes to parenthood, love and optimism. Pattengale’s playing in particular was a dazzling display of dexterity to rival David Rawlings while their voices conjured up flashes of Simon & Garfunkel and Ryan Adams. Between songs Ryan matched the brilliance of their music with uproarious banter and had the audience crying tears of laughter at his deadpan humour before being consumed by another folk gem. On record the duo can sometimes sound a tad sterile and weightless but seeing and hearing them live the music came alive, well beyond expectations. This was a faultless show that many will talk about in the same way that witnesses to Justin Townes Earle’s first low-key visit do.

this review was first published in The Drum Media and on

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