When the doors open at 7pm at Band on the Wall, Manchester (NME’s ‘Best Small Venue North West’), there are no fans queuing outside. This seems unusual when three years ago, The Milk headlined London’s Shepherds Bush Empire to a packed out audience of fans. However as warm up act Sample Answer finishes his set (a thirty minute showcase of emotive lyrics sung by a powerful yet raw voice), the crowd begins to grow in number. The small-darkened room starts to take shape; it is full of young and old fans alike, who are ready for the long awaited and highly anticipated tour from The Milk, with their second album ‘Favourite Worry’.
It’s been a long time since the band last toured properly. With a change of record label and management, it’s fair to say the four piece from Essex have had a tough three years; this, however, doesn’t seem to faze the band when they take to the stage. As the head grooving intro of ‘Wanderlust’ resonates throughout the room, the crowd gets ready for what is set to be a soul inspired, funk-filled night.
With a reaction of genuine laughter from the crowd, frontman Rick Nunn points out that as it is only night four of their thirteen day tour, the band are still wearing fresh clean clothes and haven’t had to re-wear any dirty items yet. The clean t-shirts don’t last for long though, as the band members get sweatier as each song passes; this is no surprise given the passion and enthusiasm that goes into every song played.
The Milk are a band that thrive off playing live. If that wasn’t obvious by the fact they recorded every song for the album live rather than recording each individual part, then it was clearly reaffirmed by their performance in Manchester. With a slick live set full of tight harmonies and impressive solos, you can’t fault the effort that went into their Northern comeback show. Vocalising their song ‘Don’t Give Up The Night’ as a firm favourite to play live due to its difficulty, their delivery seemed effortless and was greeted by a cheering crowd.
Although the tour was an opportunity to perform tracks off their new album ‘Favourite Worry’ for the first time, the band would have been naïve to forget the songs that gained them a loyal fan base and got them to where they are now. Firm favourites ‘Picking Up The Pieces’ and ‘Danger’ from their debut album brought the crowd to a frenzy, with them singing every song word for word.
As the set began to end, The Milk proceeded to tell the audience that the manager wrote on their set list that it was time for an encore (with the protocol being that the audience would shout and scream for more and the band would politely oblige by playing one more song.) The band didn’t listen though and they continued to stay on stage; they’re not into these gimmicks and were there to give the audience the best night they could. Finishing with their hit ‘Broke Up The Family’, The Milk teased fans with a slow and emotional start to the usual up-tempo, catchy anthem. When the beat dropped and the recognisable chorus kicked in, the audience went wild; The Milk are masters of their craft and know exactly how to manipulate their audience.
It’s obvious that this band is passionate about music and that clearly comes before any kind of drive for fame. Ending by thanking their fans for their continued support, as well as purchasing their recent album and tickets for the tour, lead singer Rick affirms, “we don’t take this for granted”. Throughout the show the band simply came across as a group of close friends that have a laugh, whilst doing a job they once only dreamed about. Luckily at the same time, they remain altogether humble during their rocky road to success. If The Milk stick to this kind of attitude and demeanour, there can surely only be bright things for the future of this band.