SAN FRANCISCO, CA- Rhye crept up on me.  I was hearing a few of their songs on the radio and enjoying them … assumed the singer was a woman, but didn’t know what she looked like.  Like a lot of people I suppose.  Was she the woman on their album cover?  Rhye was mysterious, but I didn’t think too much about it because I enjoyed the music.   And that was Mike Milosh’s intention:  Rhye is about the music, not the musicians.

From the moment the band took the stage and started the first song (a somewhat a cappella version of “3 Days”), it was obvious they carry this same philosophy into their shows.  Even though so much of Rhye’s sound is driven by Mike Milosh’s haunting vocals, there was never once a spotlight purposely directed on him.  He was in the shadows more than not.  And yet his singular voice filled the venue in a way that few can.  Milosh has an eclectic sense of style and wore an interesting, almost Indian-looking printed matching shirt and pants.  Because he wasn’t under the lights regularly it was hard to get a good look at him.  He also moved about the stage quite a bit and dances like a young Michael Stipe (I mean that in the best possible way, I adore Michael Stipe’s dance moves).

In keeping with his disinterest in his person being the focal point of the show, Milosh even went as far as to have the lights turned completely off for “Open” so that all we experienced was the song in the dark.  I’ve been to many shows, but I think that was a first.  I loved it and so did the rest of the crowd, which was spellbound into near complete silence.  We all took a collective and rapturous inhale when that first line came out of the darkness:

I’m a fool for that shake in your thighs

There were several musicians on the stage, playing an eclectic and changing array of instruments – various strings, a trombone, guitar, bass, synth, multiple drum sets (including a small one Mike would visit from time to time).  I found there to be more variation to Rhye’s sound in concert versus their recordings, which was fun.  The band was obviously having a good time as well, with the majority of songs evolving into jam sessions that would last up to ten minutes, sometimes giving of an island steel-drum vibe, and at one time even bringing the Trans Siberian Orchestra to mind (weird, I know) with the strings and guitar mix.  The crowd danced and jammed along regardless.

There were lots of couples in the crowd swaying with their arms around each other.  It was definitely a date night kind of show.  The mood was great, with the crowd warm and jazzed to be there, cheering and catcalling when Mike hit a long note.  His voice is incredible, the rare kind that sends chills down your spine, and just as beautiful live as in recording (which is not always the case).  The intimate Warfield and its acoustics were an ideal match for the band.

“Man, San Francisco’s good,” Milosh said at one point, eliciting more cheers and enthusiasm from us.  Rhye was better than good live, they were great.

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Rhye @ The Warfield 7/20/18. Photo by Brendan Mansfield. Courtesy of artist. Used with permission.
Rhye @ The Warfield 7/20/18. Photo by Brendan Mansfield. Courtesy of artist. Used with permission.