Live: The Milk Carton Kids surmount illness and hecklers in Durham | Music
INDY Week's music blog

Archives | RSS

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Live: The Milk Carton Kids surmount illness and hecklers in Durham

Posted by on Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 10:58 AM

click to enlarge milkcarton.jpg
Milk Carton Kids
Carolina Theatre, Durham
Thursday, July 17, 2014

The last time the Milk Carton Kids were in town on a tour of their own, the duo played at Casbah, the Main Street club that closed at the start of the year. The outfit got a major venue upgrade for its current round, playing the quiet, reverent and less-than-full Carolina Theatre last Thursday night. Though some fans seemed to think they were in a rock club, the acoustic duo still delivered a sweeping set of gentle songs, pulling heavily from its Grammy-nominated 2013 LP The Ash & Clay.

The two men of the Milk Carton Kids are Joey Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale, singer-songwriters who met a few years ago in California through their mutual musical interests. The acoustic-guitar-playing pair shares songwriting duties and complement each other perfectly. Their vocal harmonies weave together, with Pattengale’s impressive picking flitting over Ryan’s steady rhythmic strums. And while Pattengale focused on getting his old guitar in shape between songs, Ryan took care of most of the stage banter. His dry, sharp sense of humor lifts the duo’s more mournful tunes.

A couple songs into the first of the band’s two sets, Ryan said he’d been feeling sick, that the audience should give the band about a five percent leeway on the show’s quality. Anything less than 95 excellence “is on us,” he said. Still, Ryan and Pattengale flew through their first set, drawing mostly from The Ash & Clay before taking a short break.

During the second set, a few audience members derailed the show with fairly bizarre antics that Ryan and Pattengale handled gracefully. The first incident came while Ryan delivered a sarcastic yarn about the band’s new merchandise. A fan in a balcony seat took a flash photo—then another, and then two more—before Pattengale spoke up to say that having the flash on from that distance didn’t actually do anything to help the photo quality. 

Ryan picked up his merch tale, and with it, two particularly rowdy guests acting as equal parts guffawing Greek chorus and hecklers. Their color commentary was enough to prompt Pattengale to ask if weed had just been legalized in the state. The tickets weren’t cheap—the floor seats cost upwards of $60—so it’s bizarre that anyone would spend that much on tickets just to go and hassle a band.

Rudeness aside, the duo breezed through the rest of the set, which included three new songs. Another audience low point was the laughter during “Memoirs of an Owned Dog”—a song that’s devastating at heart rather than funny.

The night came to a close with a brief geographical theme, closing with “Michigan” before returning for a double encore of “New York” and “Memphis.” The gentle songwriting of the Milk Carton Kids meant the evening was far from a foot-stompin’ folk throwdown; rather, it was an opportunity to listen closely, in a way that many venues simply can’t accommodate.

Tags: , , ,

Pin It


Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Music

Twitter Activity


I was proud to call him Uncle Willy cousin with the same birthday

by Blackfoot on Proud to call him Lumbee: Willie French Lowery, 1944-2012 (Music)

Most Read

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Most Recent Comments

I was proud to call him Uncle Willy cousin with the same birthday

by Blackfoot on Proud to call him Lumbee: Willie French Lowery, 1944-2012 (Music)

Revive is my people. If folks were offended by this, I can assure you it wasn't intentional. Revive Music was …

by Matthew Allen on Art of Cool Festival, Night One: Revive Big Band's Music-History Concert Leaves Out Women to an Absurd Degree (Music)

Small crowds like the one in Utrecht The Netherlands where I was with my 7 year young daughter may be …

by George Hendriks on The blues of Randall Bramblett's career-long cult status—and the promise of his new Devil Music (Music)

Wow! I am speechless. Skylar that was amazing! You are very talented. I love your vocal range and passion. Thank …

by Rita Romaine Rakestraw on Video Premiere: Phil Cook and Skylar Gudasz Nod to Alice Gerrard in New Tribute Clips (Music)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation