Milk Carton Kids With and Vera Sola

Adelaide Guitar Festival

13 July 2023

Her Majesty’s Theatre

It is not often that a support act is as good as Vera Sola. Possessed of a singularly powerful and expressive voice, multi-instrumentalist Sola presented her songs, uniformly excellent, backed on this occasion only by her acoustic guitar. Really, that is all she needed, such is her onstage command. That said, her new husband, Milk Carton Kid’s Kenneth Pattengale provided his expert guitar support on a few numbers. There were times when the ghost of Leonard Cohen seemed to hover over her songs so it was appropriate that her only cover was “Famous Blue Raincoat”, sensitively performed.

Without an interval, which was really not necessary, on came the Milk Carton Kids, comprising of Joey Ryan, rhythm guitar, banjo and vocals and Kenneth Pattengale, lead guitar and vocals. They fall in the cracks of genre, not really bluegrass, although Pattengale picks as well as the best bluegrass players, definitely not country, but quite a bit folk. Not that this matters, as they are, on the evidence of this performance, seriously good. That said, the use of a single vocal mic really added an old timey feel to the performance. Both contributed songs with much coming from their current album, most notably Pattengale’s title track “I Only See the Moon” and Ryan’s simply sublime ”One True Love”. It can be difficult to get two guitars, one fingerpicked and the other laying down lead, to meld and not clash. No problem here, their superb playing and singing punctuated with Ryan’s bone dry humor made for a totally immersive concert.

Bearing in mind that there were only two acoustic performers on stage that really sums up this wonderful concert.

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