I’ve been waiting for another writing assignment for a while now, so when a show at The Indy came up, I was quick to hop on the task. Usually writers choose to write about something they are interested in, but since I don’t consider myself to be a writer, I prefer to instead challenge myself by writing about something I have just experienced or wasn’t familiar with so that the ideas flow naturally, unprocessed and crisp.
It was a Friday evening when I headed to the City to meet up with Showbams photographer Karen Goldman, whom I had only “met” through Facebook. I have been to The Independent numerous times for a variety of shows, so I was excited to see what was to come from Milky Chance as a headlining act.
The first thing I noticed while walking into the venue — and one of the reasons I love the Bay Area — was the diversity throughout the crowd. I saw older men in suits cheering drinks with young dreadlocked men, middle-aged women passing around joints to their friends who “left the kids with our husbands,” some Asian women in their mid-20’s whose motto seemed to be “drinking fast is the only way to enjoy the night!” and of course, the always-popular folks who “don’t know who this band is so I’m just gonna scream and yell anytime I feel like it!” On this particular night, a multitude of cultures came together to celebrate live music.
Serving as the show’s lone opener, 20-year-old Vermont native Noah Kahan was welcomed with open arms and cheers. This “Young Blood” has been perfecting his craft since he was a teenager living on his family’s 133-acre farm, the same place where he filmed his music video for “Young Blood”. His melodic voice soothed the crowd as audience members swayed back and forth, occasionally raising a drink in his honor.
For someone as young as he is, Kahan performed in SF like a seasoned veteran. He was able to change chords mid-word, giving him a greater dynamic in his sound. As he continued his set, most of the crowd started singing his songs, proving that Kahan already has some loyal followers. But I was also disappointed by some those around me as they complained about work and their “first-world problems.” And this was exactly what Kahan was singing about. As he finished up, he thanked the crowd kindly before bowing and stepping away from the screaming fans who didn’t want him to leave.
After a short intermission, it was time for Milky Chance. The German folk group that consists of lead singer/guitarist Clemens Rehbein, DJ/producer Philipp Dausch and guitartist Antonio Greger released its debut LP Sadnecessary in 2013. At The Indy, the fans’ welcoming chant was quickly silenced as the three-piece got things started with the choreography of the stage lights matching the rhythm of the drums.
Not skipping a beat, Milky Chance showed just how much they loved their music, and at the same time, you could tell how much they were loved by their fans, who sang along to every song they performed. From the youngest to the oldest in the room, all eyes, while filled with joy, appeared to be fixed on Clemens and company.
I turned away from the band and couldn’t help notice how crowded the venue had become, to the point where I thought it might have been a safety hazard. I spoke with a security guard for a brief moment and was told that the show had been overbooked. It wasn’t all that surprising that the venue was packed because Milky Chance’s music makes people happy. This is a band that loves the Bay Area, and you can see it in their most recent music video for “Doing Good”, which was primarily filmed in and around SF. If music has the ability to heal the body, then these guys played doctor to their fans all night long.