Seductive LA based duo Rhye returned to Atlanta’s Terminal West on Monday, November 14th with a long, sensual and experimental set that left the packed out crowd begging for more.
Rhye is Canadian vocalist Mike Milosh and Danish multi-instrumentalist Robin Hannibal who met via a shared record label for their other projects, Milosh and Quadron respectively, before collaborating together, then separately moving to LA before forming Rhye. Rhye began as an internet mystery that quickly gained a buzz back in 2012 behind their singles and videos for “Open” and “The Fall”. At the time, no details were released about who was behind the new duo. Speculation ramped up as the songs began to gain traction, and the duo soon released their debut album Woman in 2013.
Woman was a critical success in 2013, landing on most year end lists as one of the year’s top albums. Over the last 3 years Rhye has toured the world, unveiling themselves and whose behind this stunning mix of sensual R&B. The biggest mystery still being unveiled to audiences all these years later, is that Milosh, the lead singer is in fact a man and not a woman. It was heard multiple times throughout the audience on this night at Terminal West; it’s probably been said at every Rhye show that’s been put on.
It’s not that Milosh just has overly feminine vocals, it’s that he is willing to reach for heights and tones that most men wouldn’t ever even dream of hitting. Live, Milosh was just as stunning in person as the recorded versions. HIs vocals are soft and soothing, emotionally palpable that can stop you in your tracks. Rhye’s sound has often been compared to the silky R&B of Sade with similar jazz undertones; Milosh’s tones certainly akin to the legend herself.
Beyond Robin and Mike that pull the band together, the thing that made Rhye’s live show so compelling is the talented band that the duo has surrounded itself with. This seven piece band, featuring a multitude of instruments including the trombone, viola, violin, keyboards, synths, organ, trumpet and more, adds a new element live. While it’s hard not to focus on Milosh and the sexy songs he is singing, the rest of the band doesn’t take a backseat, instead it’s one whole experience that makes Rhye so perfect. This is no longer just a duo, instead a tight band that feeds off each other and take’s their live show to another level.
On this night at Terminal West, Milosh told the audience that it’s the last night of the tour, and they wanted to get a little experimental on the evening if that was ok. The audience was more than willing to join into this funky world as Rhye took their sleek R&B and built on top of that into a night of free acid jazz that was an experience you just had to be there for. Rhye played all the hits off their debut, extending the songs into something new and honest, but just as seductive as you can imagine. The real treat though was Rhye also brought out some new songs that the band has been working, inviting the audience to hear a sneak peak into where the band is going in the future. This is really where we got a sense of how tight and together this band is, as they all were part of making the newer jazz R&B songs into a blissful experience that you wanted to hear over and over. We may have been waiting quite a few years for Rhye’s sophomore release, but it was clear that the wait will be more than worth it.
I’m not sure I’ve actually been to a quieter, more attentive show in Atlanta in a long time, at least not one that wasn’t acoustic or occurring at a listening room. It was really a sight to behold to see the band hold the audience captive with every note, every breath. Even in the back of the room, where typically you will hear many audience members catching up about how their day went and forgetting they are at a concert, the whole place was as if they were right in the front of the room with Rhye, one with the music. It was an unforgettable experience for the Atlanta crowd on that night. Reading these words, don’t mistake this show though for anything that was close to boring though, we danced, sang, became one with the music, and well, who knows what went down at many homes around Atlanta after this one.
Not to be outdone, Atlanta-based duo CLAVVS opened the show. Last month, I had the pleasure to premiere their latest single “Bloom”, but I had yet to be able to catch the buzz band live. CLAVVS is on the verge of blowing big themselves, garnering much buzz behind their 2016 debut album halfblood, and the new singles that have recently been released from their upcoming sophomore album World Underwater, set for release in spring 2017.
Before their set started, I met a guy from San Francisco who lives in Atlanta now, a huge Rhye fan who had seen them 7 times already. He was asking me about the opener, if they were any good. My response was “Just wait, you are going to love them.” As CLAVVS broke into their set, and the audience started trickling in, eventually packing the place deep in the middle of their set, the Rhye fan looked over at me and gave me the overly approving head nod, dancing up front with the band. As I looked around the audience, you could see the whole place was entranced by the Atlanta band, whether there for Rhye or CLAVVS, this audience was quickly buying up what the duo was putting out.
With one half of the duo, Graham Marsh, a 4 time Grammy-Award winner, and the seductive vocals of Amber Renee providing the other half, the band has often been compared to Phantogram, a fitting comparison sure, but that doesn’t really do this duo justice. With only two members in the live band, you have to wonder how their live show will translate, can they fill the room properly behind just the two of them? Some duos can do this flawlessly, while some others leave a little to be desired. But with CLAVVS, Marsh’s trip hop beats are straight ready to blow up the sound at clubs, while also able to carry Renee’s silky smooth vocals straight from the dance floor to the bedroom. The beats are certainly different than Phantogram, even as Phantogram has dove more into the hip hop style beats. CLAVVS beats are an acid trip flashback that you can’t get out of your head, while Renee is able match the emotional wonders that Sarah Barthel can bring to an audience. The band creates a dark atmosphere live that’s hard not to get scooped up into, as they filled the room at Terminal West to the max. Heads were bobbing with CLAVVS, the audience danced, and Amber’s seductive and passionate vocals took the minds and bodies of the audience. While CLAVVS brings a different type of sexy than Rhye does, they proved to be the perfect compliment, creating a mood in the audience that turned into a burning fire of desire before Rhye even took the stage. CLAVVS is definitely a band that should be on all of our radars.
Check out Mike Gerry‘s photos from the night below: