The Milk Blossoms and friends

The Milk Blossoms beatbox and boogie down at Syntax Physic Opera. Photo Credit: Genessa Gutzait

The Milk Blossoms return from tour

The Milk Blossoms, a local experimental group, played a show at Syntax Physic Opera on Aug. 20. They had just returned home from a small tour and were greeted by a mild-mannered audience for their homecoming show in south Denver. The band includes former CU Denver students and is a staple among Denver’s DIY community. The Milk Blossoms have been featured on both Colorado Public Radio’s Open Air and in Westword, where they won Best Experimental band in 2016.

The Milk Blossoms beatbox and boogie down at Syntax Physic Opera. Photo Credit: Genessa Gutzait

The group combines elements of genres from hip hop—much of the percussion is simulated through beatbox by vocalist, Michelle Rocqet—to folk—Harmony Rose adds to the melody through simple riffs and rhythms on her ukulele. Blair Larson rounds out the group on keys, adding subtle electric vibes that complement the melancholy lyrics and vocal harmonies.

Though much of their material comes off down beat, Rocqet’s beatboxing and R&B inspired vocals bring a contrasting edge to their sound. In homage to Aretha Franklin, she shows off the raw power of her voice in an abridged rendition of “Chain of Fools.” They go on to play their original works and thank the crowd for coming to support them. Rose’s poeticism shines through with lyrics such as “I must believe in voices / Why else would I keep walking back?” which refrains over and over again like some magical spell in their song “Walking Back.”

Despite the small yet intimate turnout, a sizeable crowd filled the syntax dancefloor, swaying to the music. Close friends, here and there a parent, and the occasional recluse all gathered to cheer on both The Milk Blossoms and their openers. Chief among these were The Maybe So’s, an experimental hip hop duo characterized by live violin and complex beats. On top of the expert producing and looping that made for some serious bangers, a handful of rap lyrics and harmonized hooks carried messages about mental fortitude.

Bianca Mikahn’s on-stage charisma carried the group effortlessly between songs. Their lyrics evoked imagery from both biblical and occult sources, among a litany of other references. The lines “We built our babel tower tallest / And the mother of all bombs has fallen / And the father of all fire is scalded” seemed to take on a mythic quality that draws listeners in to study the meanings more deeply.

Definitely, Maybe, an acoustic duo who were missing their regular drummer, captured the audience with a song concerning alcoholism. The singers trembling voice and staccato rhythms kept concert-goers on the edge of their seats and side eyeing the glasses of scotch they ordered from the bar. The only weak point was the first opener, Mt. Illimati, whose lead singer’s vocals left much to be desired.

The Milk Blossoms will be playing another show at Lost Lake Lounge on Oct. 3 with Ezra Furman.

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