Begun as a duo with singer Mike Milosh and Robin Hannibal, Rhye turned a lot of heads in 2013 with "Woman," a collection of soulful, sensual dance music that reached No. 55 on the U.S. album charts. It was five years before their second release, "Blood," finally arrived in February 2018.
Clearly their fans had not forgotten them, though. On Saturday afternoon at the Austin City Limits Music Festival, the weekend-two-only act drew a crowd far too large for the Tito's Tent stage on which they were booked, with festgoers spilling out into the surrounding lawn on all sides.
And if anyone thought they might see only Milosh and Hannibal onstage, they were in for a surprise. An eight-person Rhye ensemble included strings and horns as well as guitars, keyboards and percussion, resulting in rich arrangements that proved the group's trancelike dance sound didn't rely merely on synth tracks and drum machines.
Milosh's voice is the focal point, a falsetto that's instantly captivating as it floats over the melodies and rhythms that Hannibal and the rest of the band lay down. Their hourlong set included material from both albums, and plenty of those in attendance cheered with immediate recognition of several tracks. For some, Rhye might have been a new discovery at the fest, but the core of the crowd that filled the tent consisted of already-converted fans.
"It's so hot," Milosh, who's Canadian, exclaimed early on, and even Texans had to agree on a day when temperatures reached only the mid-80s but felt far warmer with stifling humidity. Bodies were packed closely up front in the tent, increasing the heat, but in some respects it just added to the vibe of the show. This was one big sweaty dance party, and for many it was likely one of Saturday's festival highlights.