The Milk Carton Kids’ new record All the Things That I Did and All the Things That I Didn’t Do came out on Anti Records on June 29th of this year. Since the release, the indie-folk duo made up of Joey Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale, have been celebrating the album with a tour that will take them nationwide until the first week of November. The record veers slightly away from the duo’s patented sound, and develops into a richer full band texture. A New York City stopover at Brooklyn Steel was their first show in the area in almost two years and a large crowd turned out to welcome them.
Opening these run of shows is Montreal based The Barr Brothers. Andrew Barr (drums) and Brad Barr (guitar) have been plugging away since 2005 with harpist Sarah Page and have enjoyed successful releases and tours nationwide. They opened their set with “Look Before It Changes” from their 2017 album Queens of the Breakers. Heavily leaning on the Delta Blues sound these folks are at the top of their game right now. The highlight of the set was “Half Crazy” which came from their 2014 release Sleeping Operator.
The Milk Carton Kids turned up with a band for the first time ever in their seven year history. Four studio albums and one live album (Retrospect which predates the Milk Carton Kids name) and these guys keep going from strength to strength. Once huddled around their Edwina mic the duo expanded the space and made room for Jenna Moynihan on violin, Philip Krohnengold on keys, Jamie Dick on Drums, Ethan Jodziewicz on bass, and Rich Hinman on peddle steel.
Opening their set with “Hope of a lifetime” from their 2013 critically acclaimed album Ash and Clay it was an immediate eye opener as to how these songs have been rearranged for the band, and it was a wonderful experience for listeners who knew the back catalog to hear them reimagined. “Mourning in America” form their latest release All the Things That I Did and All the Things That I Didn’t Do followed and the band got into their groove with some beautiful arrangements across the board.
The Milk Carton Kids have been known for many years for their stage banter and stories. Often ribbing one another in front of the packed houses Joey and Kenneth have an incredible dry delivery and some of the most hilarious stories involving the birth of children, non existent partners, and lost glasses. We were informed that Kenneth had just beaten a recent bout of cancer which roused a loud cheer and applause from the audience and then went on to play for us his “Cancer Song” as Joey called it. It was a beautiful piece about who we are and where do we go from here. As far as the playful bashing goes we always end up at the root of another beautiful song. They have perfected it.
Later in the set we were treated to the one of the highlights of the night; “Queen Jane” comes from the pairs 2011 release Retrospect. At this point the Milk Carton Kids didn’t exist and the record was released under their own names. The song itself is the standout on the record and to hear it live with a full band was pure joy. “Im going home whatever the stakes, never is worse than late”
Crowd favorite “Michigan” came later in the set followed by “Younger Years.” The set closed out with two songs from All the Things That I Did and All the Things That I Didn’t Do. “All the things….” and “Big Time” saw the band from the stage, and for their encore the microphone Edwina made an appearance. The third member of the band for so many years was called upon for two songs “Snake Eyes” and “New York” and for the grand finale the band returned for the highlight of the night “Promised Land.” A beautiful arrangement to an old favorite.
All the Things That I Did and All the Things That I Didn’t Do is a beautiful record and The Milk Carton Kids are touring for another couple of weeks up the east coast then into Canada before heading back out west. Visit www.milkcartonkids.com for more info
Article: Anthony Mulcahy