The credo of the Telekom Street Gigs is to bring bands and artists to places where you wouldn’t necessarily expect live concerts. In the past there have been showcases of Ed Sheeran on a mountaintop with an Alpine panorama or Simple Plan in a corn maze.

    In the case of the Kassel band Milky Chance, who performed on June 22, 2022 as the opening of the Greentech Festival in Berlin, the venue itself was not necessarily unusual: The Berlin power plant near the Heinrich-Heine-Straße underground station is a a former thermal power station built in the early 1960s, which now regularly hosts events. However, these are rarely assigned to pop.

    Compared to other, more ordinary venues, the power station also plays a role in reception that cannot be neglected. The old, industrial hall with its nesting and struts has a gloomy atmosphere that contributes an important part to the concert experience – it was no different with Milky Chance that evening. The band’s lighting design took into account the geometric conditions of the surroundings: simple, horizontal LED lines, reduced, minimalistic and largely in a timeless synth-pop aesthetic.

    Acoustically, the power plant is quite a challenge for transparent pop sounds. Especially when both singer Clemens Rehbein and guitarist Antonio Greger reach for their e-guitars, the sound becomes very dense — we are in an environment that favors clouds of sound and booming bass drums.

    Milky Chance, says Rehbein (who alternates between German and English announcements that evening), are actually relatively tired and drained. Not without reason: They’ve just returned from the US, where they’ve played several shows — most recently in Colorado on June 19, 2022 (to go with their 2021 single ¶Colorado¶, which is also on the setlist tonight). You don’t notice the jet lag in these 75 minutes or so – but of course Milky Chance have long been professionals. She has toured the USA several times and appeared in shows by Jimmy Kimmel and Kelly Clarkson. Things are going well in Germany too: the audience at the power plant is enthusiastic right from the start.

    The fact that Milky Chance have an atmospheric note in their music (which many call folktronica, but it would definitely pass for pop) is apt given the location — and the band also skilfully exploits the dynamics dramaturgically. In the piece “Loveland” that evening, the folk part of their DNA is put in the foreground, acoustic guitar and harmonica characterize the song. One of the highlights is the aforementioned “Colorado”, in which the LCD wall suggests a sea of ​​lights. This is then followed by “Flashed Junked Mind”, great straight forward indie pop. This is followed by “Stolen Dance”, the piece with which the group attracted international attention on YouTube in 2013.

    The band returns for three encores that night: “Ego” followed by “Running”. Everything rears up for the grand finale, the quarter bass drum takes the lead and stoically drives forward. “To give up now?” sings Rehbein over and over again. Before you suspect that the climax of the piece would also be the swan song of the evening, Milky Chance up the ante again — with the carefree, sunny track “Sweet Sun”. “We were 1969 / We were Jimmy and Janice / We are the prophets of the sails / We chose the way of dimension / We are caught up from the amount of the frenetic love tension,” it says.

    In addition, the hi-hat plays that disco beat that defined indie rock of the 2000s, in the background the rhythm guitar is clean and funky, once again the harmonica comes into the limelight – a colorful hustle and bustle, in which the LEDs also come into their own Finale shines in many colors. It’s only fitting that Milky Chance end on a sunny track, as the sun is still shining as the audience exits the power station. A beautiful opening of a special festival that you you can learn more here.

    Deutsche Telekom/Markus Nass

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