The Milk Carton Kids followed the "build-on-your-success" template to the letter on Tuesday night when they played for about 60 or so people - the vast majority of which had seen them at The State Room earlier this year opening for Joe Purdy.
The Los Angeles-based duo played exceeding well, despite the stifling heat inside Kilby Court. The Milk Carton Kids wowed its audience with a steady diet of songs from its second release, "Prologue," which came out last month. Opening with the frenzied, upbeat, "New York," the duo of Joey Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale blended their sibling-like harmonies seamlessly and Pattengale, who I guarantee you is the hottest, fastest picker you've never heard of, took the first of several blazing, country-inflected solos.
But rather than being just a vehicle for hot fretwork, these guys are all about the songs. And the gorgeous lyrics and melodies of "No Hammer To Hold," "Queen Jane," and "Permanent," were all bittersweet highlights that received delighted yells and applause from the crowd, which stood in sweaty silence throughout the duo's 65-minute set.
Also, for guitar players, upbeat numbers like "Girls Gather 'Round," and "Charlie," and "I Still Want A Little More," gave the lightning-fast Pattengale ample room to blaze away. All in all, despite the low-key surroundings of Kilby Court, this was a majorly impressive show. The country-fueled passion of "Undress the World," - sung by Pattengale - contrasted nicely with the folkie glory of Ryan's beautiful, "Like A Cloak." These guys have all the tools - songs, melodies and fierce guitar work. Also, they're at Logan's Art House on Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m.
And curious readers don't have to wonder what these guys sound like. Downloads of their cds are free at their website, www.themilkcartonkids.com. Ryan joked Tuesday that the band developed its "policy" of giving away its music, just to have a policy. Whatever the reason, the label-free band seems fully capable of building its fan base through the old-fashioned mix of good songs and great live shows.
Follow Salt Lake Magazine arts/entertainment writer Scott Murphy on Twitter @murphyinfo.