Rhye brought a moment to Chicago. In spite of its spacious quality and size, Thalia Hall housed a visceral performance Thursday whose spirituality emanated from one peeling wall to the other. Rhye was ghostly, especially when performing with words, “I feel your heart, baby/I feel your pain,“ lights off, front man and producer Mike Milosh crooning from an upstage corner without a microphone.
That Blood (2018) derivative was not the only song for which Milosh insisted lights be done away with. Milosh invited a mild audience to enjoy the darkness as Rhye performed fan favorite, “Open,” one that fit into this vintage setting. The song is most simply deconstructed as one that implores its listener to eliminate emotional barriers.
Lighting is something Milosh has described as a distraction from the sounds an audience hears. And appropriately, “Open” is a song for just Rhye and its listeners. It’s bare, and that’s what the protagonist of this song wants his subject to be. No one is invited. Just he who begs for information, and his love.
There isn’t such a thing as compensation, though, in Rhye at Thalia Hall. Lighting isn’t a significant character in this story, but the characters within the music and language themselves are dynamic and strong.
Romance is ubiquitous across Rhye albums, Woman (2013) and Blood. In fact, each of its major releases are presented with black and white photos of female body parts, photographed by Milosh.
Milosh told Fuji Rock Festival that “I only write about things if they’re really real in my life…I feel people will understand the record when they hear it,” of Blood. He declines to elaborate on the themes in his writing to let his audience build its own meanings.
“…I didn’t want people to care about me,” he said to Uproxx, when explaining why he didn’t provide a metaphorical handbook for his lyrics and production to listeners.
For his personality.
In fact, there was not much to be presented or known about this band as they came out promptly at 9:15. No costumes or looks were to be pulled off by these instrumentalists. And that’s admirable when the music succeeds to speak for itself.
The Rhye Thalia Hall audience is patient and invested. In front of me were two men talking throughout the set, but not in an irritating way. It seemed they were dissecting and sharing their enjoyment for each song. In the left hand balcony above our heads was a couple who broke it down to “Last Dance,” one of my personal favorites.
The band displays balance in its tempo from one end of its records to the last. Such tracks as “Last Dance,” “Hunger” and “Taste” contrast “Open,” “Count to Five” and “Please” in ways that play omnipotent through Thalia Hall.
*Solo Rhye dance interlude taken here.