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Rhye Sell Out Webster Hall

February 24th, 2014

Rhye – Webster Hall – February 21, 2014

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Canadian singer Milosh met the Danish multi-instrumentalist Robin Hannibal at Copenhagen’s Nørreport Station. Hannibal, already one part of Quadron, eventually moved to L.A., where he continued his collaborations with Milosh as Rhye. Although Hannibal doesn’t tour with Rhye, Milosh slightly reworks material with a band without stripping away the core of the original music and the feelings it evokes.

To queue the start Friday’s sold-out show at Webster Hall, a stagehand said to refrain from talking and taking pictures during the show before a loopy intro, à la trip-hop trio Portishead, announced Milosh and his band to the stage. Ensconced in shadows, he opened the set with breathy vocals for “Verse.” A pair of fan favorites followed: With throbbing basslines on “3 Days,” Milosh couldn’t help but croon, “Feel that crazy fucking bass.” Applause erupted at the first notes of “The Fall.” The singer took a moment to thank everyone for coming, as it had been some time since they had been in New York City. Following a bit of debate about the increase or decrease of bass, the show resumed with the smooth jazz interlude for “Shed Some Blood,” complete with rhythm guitar and Milosh’s reedy delivery. Accompanied by violin plucks, another crowd favorite, “Last Dance,” closed with Claire Chourchene’s trombone solo.

Diverting from the Rhye catalog, Milosh offered one of his own songs, “The City,” which he prefaced with doubt that folks would know it. He even joined the drummer behind the drum kit, pounding the skins of the tenor. His androgynous voice on “Open” was very reminiscent of the smooth operator herself, Sade. In a comical moment, Milosh had a brain fart on “Hunger” and admittedly sang, “Forgot the words to my own song. Holy shit.” No one seemed to mind as the crowd swayed to beat of the horns and chuckled at his impromptu lyrics. On the final song, appropriately Milosh’s “It’s Over…,” the room came to a hush as the band lulled sans microphones. There was no encore, but there was no disappointment, only acceptance and a treasured musical memory in one’s pocket. —Sharlene Chiu