by Eli Stevick
After we started Soft Milk in 2015, there was a little buzz going because of our music but also some of wacky on-stage antics. It was just two of us then. We played with some cheap 10-watt amps and wore nothing but ghastly bed sheet costumes.
Listen to the album while reading the text.
We played our charming little freak folk songs in the beginning of the show, which led into many other nonsense behaviors like pretending to be ghosts, painting each other all over with lipstick, eating hot dogs together and singing along with a backing track to our song 21st Century Cult while anointing the crowd with tubs of red paint. Somehow the combination of these things really helped push the intimacy a bit further than normal.
It seemed like in the course of one of our shows the crowd could ride an emotional wave from punk rock and firecrackers to people embracing each other and thinking of better times. After a couple of shows, the word was getting out, and we got our first invite to play somewhere out of town.
Our first show outside Ypsilanti Michigan, where we started off, was in Ann Arbor, a neighboring university town. We were pretty excited, being a young couple of friends who were fairly new to the music scene and playing concerts. We even landed the headlining slot at a CoOp living house called Vail. All of our tiny amps and sheets were in order in the van as we anxiously waited around for our slot. In a sense, it was our first time playing in front of strangers. A lot of people there mentioned they were excited to see the show because they had heard about us before, which didn’t help take off the nerves.
Right before our set began however, the police showed up and busted the party. It was clear the show could not go on, at least at the house. Thinking on our toes, we rigged up our little amps which ran on AA batteries in the van and collected all the people to follow us around. I was driving the van and singing through a microphone, while Dylan walked outside with a guitar amongst the crowd of people hovering about. We cruised around town and got a chance to finish our set. Everyone was running around and dancing in the late night streets. All of the neighboring student houses poking their heads out on the balcony to see what was going on.
It was one of the most magical shows we played to this day. It was the perfect way to help the house out with shutting down the party as well. After we finished, we sat around in a parking lot for a bit then cruised back home to Ypsilanti.