Concert Reviews

Rhye at Massey Hall

Massey Hall seemed to get filled quicker on Saturday night, compared to the previous two nights where tUnE-yArDs and Spiritualized were the headliners. Somewhat local band Rhye (lead singer Milosh is from Toronto, producer Mike Hannibal is from Denmark but they formed in LA) was playing a rare gig. That is an occasion for people to turn out en masse. With almost every seat on the first two floors being taken the crowd eagerly awaited the sexy music makers. One by one band members came on stage, first a violinist who played a few simple notes but looped them. Then a cello player doing the same came on stage, then the drummer and so forth until the whole band was on stage except for Milosh. It was a lush symphony of noise. I had expected just Milosh and a keyboardist to be the only performers on stage, but what pleasantly surprised by there being a full band, and it paid huge dividends for their sound.

The set started out with “3 Days”, and like most people when they first heard Rhye they were confused by who was singing. Was it a guy with a really high voice or a girl with a husky croon? Seeing Milosh sing it all made sense, his register easily goes up a few octaves but he doesn’t lose any masculinity, in fact showcasing all this emotion makes him seem manlier. What woman doesn’t want a man in touch with his softer side? The band was easily the most skilled and proficient I had ever seen live before. They all worked like surgeons with each note being crisp and clean, and when there was a stop, they silence themselves at an instant. They were so good you could hear a pin drop in their breaks. Ben Schwier ended the song with 70’s like synth solo, which rose up like a quiet hurricane full of emotion.

The beat picked up with “The Fall”, which made their RnB influences very prominent. The drumming by Zach Morillo was a standout on not only the song but on the night as a whole. Milosh remarked about playing at Massey Hall “It’s cool singing up here cause the vocals come right back at you”, which is something that someone as talented as him would notice right away. You can tell he is a perfectionist with his vocals as he takes his breaths away from the mic, as to not taint the sound he is making. His voice is an instrument just like the organ, the drums and the trombone on stage with him.

It was his parent’s anniversary and they were in the crowd so the audience gave them a nice round of applause. He lead into “Shed Some Blood” which had an extra jazzy feel to them, and it ended with an a capella verse and sung to a hand clapped beat. He spotted his wife, actress Alexa Nikolas, in the balcony where he pumped his arms up in excitement. It’s funny in a way seeing this young man with a silky smooth voice singing songs about love and sex in a very serious manner, be so affable and bounce around the stage. Nikolas is the reason why Rhye even exists. Milosh wrote these songs as he was falling in love with her as a diary and art project all at once. During some songs he would blow kisses to her. It was almost as though the several hundred people weren’t in the audience, we were just eaves dropping on a very personal love letter. Frankly, hearing music this heartfelt is a rarity and we should all be glad it exists.

About author

Music Editor at Live in Limbo and Host of Contra Zoom podcast. Dakota is a graduate of Humber College's Acting for Film and Television. He now specializes in knowing all random trivia. He writes about music, sports and film. Dakota's life goal is visit all baseball stadiums, he's at 7.