Whenever people walk into a venue to be greeted with signs reading “sold out” and “no photos please” there is either one of two reactions: a) this is bound to be something special or b) someone’s getting carried away with egoism in their current state of popularity (especially when you write for a blog and basically need photos). But with Rhye this past Thursday it was obviously closer to the former: the small stage was mainly lit by the 20 to 50 wax candles, evoking ideas of a séance or an romantic setting between lovers. Or both, I guess, depending what you find romantic. Although I was initially irritated by the no photo request I really appreciated the group’s recognition of a show as a full experience that involved listening to the band, sure, but also absorbing the sound, being present in the moment and not on Instagram, and having an awareness of the energy swelling up around you.
Prior to their entrance onstage, Schubas announced the band’s wish for no photos, as well as their request for us to keep our voices down, to shut the doors to the front of the house for the duration of the set, and the closing of the bar in the back before they came on. This retreat from the world outside this dark space created an intimate setting ripe for the romantic, sensual, and honest music of Rhye. Having only their one album out (and a brilliant one at that) their set was short, but not in a way that you felt ripped off. If you will allow a somewhat melodramatic simile, it was more like when you take that rare opportunity to escape from life’s obligations and stress to have a few hidden hours with a lover that leaves you feeling cared for, restored, and confident to face the world again knowing that secret happiness would be returned to again.
Going through most of their album, the band filled the air with their smooth, almost jazzy sound, stretching songs out to command attention to the horns and strings that are so subtle on the record. While they may be taken for granted on the recordings here they are as much center stage as Mike Milosh’s voice. Songs were strung together with moments of gratitude and small comedic truths spoken by Milosh, completing the feeling of closeness and familiarity with the group and their set.
Although I’m pretty sure most of their tour is completely sold out (and obviously with good reason) make an active effort to carefully listen to their album Woman from front to back (I like to listen with my obnoxious Bose headphones because those small earbuds really don’t do it justice). And check out their website to keep up on Rhye news and Woman remixes here and check out their music video for “Open” below.