Are Milk Teeth On Their Way To A Nirvana Moment?
As depressingly old as I am, I'm not actually old enough to remember the Nirvana moment. But I have been to a lot of shows. I've lots of really cool bands, bands at the peak of their powers and some pretty lame bands as well. But I've not been to many shows like the Milk Teeth show in Glasgow on Sunday night.
I've seen Milk Teeth four times now. I've also been lucky enough to have photographed them four times, so I've documented and reflected on them as a band in a variety of scenarios: opening a show, main stage at a cult festival, support at a big London venue and then their own headline show. This was something else. It could be the 21st century equivalent of a Nirvana moment.
I doubt we'll ever see a band conquer the world like Nirvana did. The internet has fractured the music scene at larger into a thousand tiny, vibrant, emboldened scenes. But some bands, like Milk Teeth, could see themselves breaching more than one of these smaller, dedicated circles of music fans.
From the second the band take to stage they're almost drowned out by the crowd, which when you're as noisy as this band are, is no mean feat. It's even more impressive when you consider the band are opening with one of their newest tracks.
That's the first inklings of this being something special, this isn't a band fueled by nostalgia or established hits. This is a band whose fan base are hungry for new stuff, as much as they're losing their minds to old favourites. Well...as old as tracks from a band with one record and a handful of EPs out can be.
That's what happened to Nirvana just before "Nevermind" really broke over the top and it's certainly what happened in the lead up to "In Utereo". Even if a lot of the idiots who joined their fan base were wildly unprepared for that record (which is the best Nirvana record. Fact.)
The other obvious Nirvana comparison is that this band make really noisy pop songs. The vocal trade off of Becky's grungey croon and Billy's punk snarl adds a wonderful texture to the dirty riffs, rumbling bass and driving rhythms. Occasionally pulling back on the accelerator to deliver something almost devastatingly intimate and bleak. It's a musical pallette the band explore to its fullest in a way that seems more instinctive than considerd.
Live they're ferocious and have their tongue planted firmly in cheek at the same time. They ask the audience to dance like they're at a WHAM show but also throw themselves around the stage like they're possessed. They inspire sing alongs and circle pits in either measure and don't have to ask for either.
All you bands who have spent more money on scrims for in front of your amps than you have time writing songs, you could learn something from Milk Teeth. Genuine creativity and some actual personality is worth way more than your choreographed stage moves and stale ideas.
Also, shout out to the band's drummer for the occasional blasts of absolutely devastating double kick. Respect. 🤘🏻
King Tuts has prided itself, not without good reason, as being one the proving grounds for great bands. There aren't as many legendary shows here as they'd like you to think, but that's ok. To suggest all shows were as good as this one would be to do this show a disservice.
Most bands don't play this well. Most bands don't connect with their audience and such a sincere and warm way and most bands certainly don't play set lists that combine the edge of rock 'n' roll with the accessibility of pop with this much sophistication. Or fun.
I'm constantly telling anyone who'll listen, and even more people who won't, that the UK has the best rock bands in the world right now. Milk Teeth aren't the first band in that wave, but if the rest of this headline tour is anything to go by, they might be the first band to help drown the tired and beige opinions of the detritus of popular culture who constantly wail about rock being dead.
Nirvana and grunge almost killed off the pathetic idiotic culture that came along with glam and rock 'n' roll excess.If we're lucky, maybe Milk Teeth and their peers can put an end to their cynical reunion tours...
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