Rhye entered the stage as a six piece band with bass, drums, keys, and two string players took the stage as Milosh placed lit orbs of varying color around the stage. As the opener came to a close, Rhye got snaps going on a breakdown fade out. Just before entering the concert, a fan told me "this will be like an alternate universe where we are seeing Sade, except as a white dude." That certainly wasn't the first time that comparison has been made. But if you closed your eyes during said breakdown, the Sade vibes were thick.
Rhye found plenty of aural space to work with and their dynamics fit in well at Fox, where the sound can get swampy. Plucked strings and rim shots reverberated throughout the venue. Each instrument was noticeable, like individual ingredients being added to the recipe. "3 Days" was a great example as Milosh added sparse aux percussion in with a mallet on a snare and hi hat as Rhye built the track into an extended jam with spacey, warbling lap slide guitar.
As Rhye moved into "The Fall", things began to feel a bit soft, as if their volume wasn't enough for the Fox. Luckily, Milosh noticed it and asked for the vocals to come up several times during the song. The vocal harmonies at end sounded beautiful and were simply on point. After the adjustment, their sound felt breathable and crisp. Props to the attentive audience, where the rare whisper was very audible. Rhye really brought out the cinematic quality of their music. It seems to be the direction of their future music, but more on that later. They got the audience going with claps and Milosh ushered in an off-beat clap every four measures to mix it up. It was nice, soulful addition to. And, again, those vocal harmonies just soared in Fox.
Between songs, Milosh admitted he was a little shy. "Me talking up here is more to make me less nervous". He asked about the sound, and kept it polite and short. This was the first seated show (in the GA floor area) that I've seen at Fox. When everyone is seated, you put a ceiling on the audience's groove. Claps are about as much as you can ask for. It was pretty funny to watch people figure out how hard they could dance while seated, especially for Rhye's more upbeat tracks.
Milosh did great job adding the backing band into the compositions, breathing new life into the songs. Interestingly, they shifted gears, the rhythmn section brought in the funk, several members joined in on vocals and it became a stark contrast to the earlier cinematic, instrumental pieces. This portion reminded me of seeing Jungle to an extent. They layered trombone on top, which drew whistles from the crowd crowd. Milosh went full bore on his aux percussion equipment. And all of a sudden the audiences is doing the biggest neck bobs you've ever seen...while seated. It seemed like a symbolic moment that we were watching two different Rhyes. And the crowd's roar at this version indicated which they enjoyed more.
After that track, Milosh noted "we have damaged instruments. We're going to attend to that". A few moments later, he shrugged it off and shared "shit happens, change of plans. We're gonna do a song called 'City'. It's kinda cool that you guys actually know our songs." Then they mellowed it the hell down and resumed their earlier vibes and we realized we were all seated for a reason. Milosh attented to the keys as the backing band demonstrated their capable, versatility. It was a unique balance between songs that were obviously written based on Milosh's vocals versus arrangements that utilized the band's strengths to full degree. This made me very curious as to how that balance will play out on the next album. Milosh jumped over to finish the song playing the drummer's floor tom.
By this point, Milosh lightened up on crowd banter. "Some people think my name is Rhye. It's Milosh," he joked. " It's always kinda stressful to do a song nobody knows. So we're gonna do another song people don't know to add to that stress". This new song brought back to livelier funk element in a big way and the Sade connection seemed more apt. Personally, I liked this a lot. There was more bass, more backbone and more hook. Opener Lo -Fang came out to share vocal duties. Watch out for this track once it arrives in recorded form. The chorus lyrics include "inside my head".
Milosh continued joking to the crowd. "You've all heard the album. And it seems you enjoy it. But let's be real. Not that long.” Which is very true. A 35 minute album is not going to fill a headline spot at the Fox Theater, hence the new material. "I am working on a new album. But it's not gonna be called Rhye. Life happens. It will be like this [gestures to band]. It's a new Milosh record.” This was very interesting, because I don't believe Rhye co-founder Robin Hannibal was playing Sunday. I could be wrong. But that possibility seemed plausible as Milosh albums were being sold at the merch counter and the division of the "two Rhyes" playing.
"We're gonna do something you might know," Milosh stated before they jumped into "Open". Crowd roars grew with the song's intro strings. This turned into an extended live version with a different rhythm intro. They let that sucker burn into a slow jam version. I wasn't the only one who kinda wanted regular version., which is more up tempo and includes the guitar jingle on the chorus. Felt a bit sedated. as more of an ensemble piece then a pop gem. This version included string plucks, dramatic builds and bridges and a violin solo. They built it up again with percussion and everyone was going ham for about 40 seconds. It was excellent musicianship, but it left some of us desiring the original version's hook.
"I don't really do encores. I think there kinda lame. So we're going to do two more songs," Milosh told us. They immediately hopped into the full volume, upbeat version of the band and at least a dozen people in the lower bowl were standing. It was a weird alternation, but the crowd loved the livelier Rhye. They ended their set as Milosh told us "We're going to do 'It's Over', it's very sad. But I'm going to try this with no microphone". A lady in the crowd yelled "so that means shut up!!". Rhye ended their set with Milosh away from the mic offering his vocals to the smitten Fox.