WORDS: Nick Lawrence
In a long-awaited return after their postponed performance in 2020, The Milk Carton Kids, made up of Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan, graced the stage at Her Majesty’s Theatre for the Adelaide Guitar Festival and their final Australian show. Accompanied by the talented Vera Sola as the supporting artist, the duo delivered a mesmerising set that had both young and older music lovers captivated with each and every note.
Supporting artist Vera Sola (Danielle Aykroyd) brought a powerful presence to the stage, with a voice that was both familiar and comforting, yet veiled in a mysterious tone reminiscent of the previous era. Despite being the lone feature on stage, her intricate and rhythmic guitar style filled the theatre, amplifying the depth of her music and leaving the audience entranced. In a charming reveal, Danielle was joined in song by Kenneth, as she revealed they wed in 2020, adding to the romance on the entire performance.
The Milk Carton Kids delighted fans with their signature harmonies and intricate guitar work. The vibe was up and about during their more up-tempo songs like “Honey Honey” and “Heaven” from their 2023 record The Ash & Clay. The folk duo also drew upon many songs from their latest release I Only See The Moon including performance of the title track, a nostalgic sounding “North Country Ride” and “All Of The Time In The World To Kill”. The set also featured a number of more emotionally driven songs, including crowd favourite “Michigan”, the sweet harmonies and heartfelt lyrics bringing a tear to at least a few eyes.
Of course it wouldn’t be a Milk Carton Kids performance without a little comedy. With his typical deadpan tone, Joey skillfully introduced a banjo into the set, humorously claiming it would appeal to a “younger” crowd and prompting a round of laughter from the crowd. They also had a fun back and forth about the beautifully revitalised venue, Her Majesty’s Theatre, needing to be renamed and a test of their royal knowledge.
However, it wasn’t just their comedic timing that was on show. Their impeccable musical synchronisation, effortlessly weaving together Joey’s strong rhythmic playing with Kenneth’s nuanced and melodic picking, left the audience in a state of awe. Ironically, the main set ended with a lively rendition of “I Still Want A Little More” from their debut studio album Prologue. This concluded in a standing ovation and led to an encore including their well known cover of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here”. Their ability to seamlessly transition between poignant ballads and lighthearted banter showcased their range and left an indelible mark on the Adelaide Guitar Festival.
For many, this was a long time in the making and it certainly did not disappoint.
Photo credit: Claudio Raschella
Adelaide Guitar Festival
1st – 16th Jul, 2023