Milk Carton Kids Bring It Strong Straight Down Euclid
Just as the NBA season can be a grueling grind, so can a musician’s tour of being on the road, traveling by bus from town to town. Wednesday night both worlds collided as The Milk Carton Kids tour came to the beautiful and historic Ohio Theatre in Cleveland’s Playhouse Square on the same evening as the city’s beloved Cavaliers were performing at the arena several blocks to the west. For those not familiar with Joey Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale, they have been referred to falling from the same tree as The Everly Brothers and Simon & Garfunkel with their beautiful harmonies. Their stage delivery with a dose of dry satire reminds me more of The Smothers Brothers, and they took full advantage of the opportunity to incorporate the circumstances into this show.
Still touring behind the critically acclaimed Monterey on ANTI-Records that was released twelve months prior, the gorgeous guitar picking of Pattengale on his 1954 Martin 0-15 was a highlight throughout the evening. Along with sharing a single Ear Trumpet Labs “Edwina” microphone, Ryan complimented him on a 1951 Gibson J-45 and the blend of their vocals just lit up the acoustically perfect performance space. Opening with “Hope Of A Lifetime” from the 2013 release The Ash & Clay with a chorus “A Spartan smile and westward stare hold a promise in the air / That’s the way they used to find their own way home / By the stars, on their own”, the boys reeled off eight songs touching all of their songbooks including “Monterey”, “Charlie”, “Stealing Romance”, “No Hammer To Hold”, and “Honey, Honey”. At this point, they acknowledged the crowd with appreciation for attending and figured they must have bought their tickets before knowing there was a playoff game scheduled. The second portion of six songs with a dose of comedy relief from Ryan about childbirth included such gems as “Snake Eyes”, “Memphis”, “Girls, Gather Round”, “Michigan”, “Heaven”, and a beautiful rendition of “I Still Want A Little More”. A two song encore brought them back out for “New York” and their killer rendition of “Wish You Were Here” to close out the evening.
Opening the evening was Margaret Glaspy, who will be releasing her debut album Emotions And Math on ATO Records next month. Normally performing with a full band, the solo Glaspy ran through a ten song set with a Fender electric guitar. Highlights included “Somebody To Anybody”, “No Matter Who”, “Situation” and a new composition without a title that was referred to song number #635.