July 23, 2024

Mildlife – doing their groovy thing in Leeds

Live at The Brudenell Social Club    20th May 2019

Just over six months after their debut at the Brudenell, Mildlife are back. Making a great impression as Wooden Shjips’ support, this time they get an hour and a half to stretch out their groovy stylings. Word has spread on this Melbourne band and The Community Room is nicely full. As the band eases into their sinuous groove, people start gently moving. It doesn’t take long before most of the room is quietly getting their moves on. Those that aren’t, are swaying inside their heads. Mildlife make a quietly funky jazz-dance thing that unblocks the psychic pathways and hypnotises. The stage is shrouded in shadows and the focus drawn to the audio experience instead of the standard “face front” rock gig.

Tonight I hear more singing than before but it’s really instrumental, as any singing is either vocoder or otherwise treated so that the voice is just colour. The keys lead nicely and pitch-bending makes them spacey. The guitar sometimes burbles nicely like vintage Grant Green but is varied and subtle in tone through the set. The bass is relaxed and warm, its melodic lines clearly audible thanks to the Brudenell’s excellent sound. Sometimes the guitarist picks up a flute and adds breathy sounds. There is a different drummer, one slightly more traditional in approach than the previous incumbent. Where he is light, things are jazzy. Where he hits the kick-drum things are less interesting. That holds true for the new single, which is more “four to the floor” than the rest and lacks the groove that is so pleasing.

The determination of the band to go their own route and make a sound that no-one else is doing in 2019 means that a set from them is a singular experience and the maintenance of a mostly instrumental groove helps the audience settle in to a gently mind-massaging experience. Definitely a band to watch.

Our review and pictures of their set with Wooden Shjips is here:

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