THE MILK CARTON KIDS @ THE THEATRE AT ACE HOTEL
Indoor venues are chosen carefully to maintain the intimate quality of a performance by The Milk Carton Kids, and the reformed United Artists Theatre (now known as just “The Theatre”) at Ace Hotel, proved the perfect showcase for the duo’s latest album Monterey. Deep inside the building, and the band’s largest headlining show to date, the hustle and bustle of the outside world disappeared with the aid of thick, velvet curtains. Clinking glasses and the bright lights of cellphones slipped away as one focused on the bare stage saved for a simple microphone set up between the duo of Joey Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale.
What makes a live performance by Eagle Rock’s TMCK such a treat is not just the brilliantly intricate and precise playing, but the levity that comes from Joey Ryan’s deadpan humor. Tears often are present in the eyes of the audience from laughing so hard throughout the night.
A perfect example of this came when Ryan, a fairly new parent, introduced “Charlie,” a song about Pattengale’s forthcoming daughter. What started off as a poignant setup slowly revealed that “Charlie” has no due date nor does she even have a mother, and that the duo have been performing the song for about four years.
Maybe in an attempt to defy previous live reviews that “the tall one is funnier than the squat one,” or perhaps getting comfortable with a hometown crowd, Pattengale offered up his darker, biting quips and comical observations alongside Ryan. There seemed to be a bit of competition between the two, with Ryan confirming himself the victor because he “can make people.”
With such a multi-generational fanbase in attendance, it was not a surprise that a cover Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” was received with much applause.