Celebrating the release of her new record, Frankie Cosmos and Eskimeaux played two sold out shows at Brooklyn’s DIY venue Shea Stadium. Night 1 saw the bands joined by singer-songwriter and tour mate Anna McLellan and dreamy sextet Pop & Obachan. Night 2 sees the three bands opened by former Krill vocalist Jonah Furman.
The first act of the night was the Brooklyn indie pop outfit Pop + Obachan, laden with hazy, smooth vibes the group had a truly solid command of their material, but their stage presence is still trying to reach the same level. Albeit, navigating a sound failure on Emma Tringali’s keyboards is utterly nerve racking on stage, she managed to get the instrument working again. The strengths of the band lie primarily in the dynamic between the two guitarists Cian McCarthy, dressed to the teeth like a true 70s relic and Jake Smisloff. While the rhythm section managed to lock in together well, they appeared stiff at times and uncomfortable, while still keeping the tempo completely solid.
Anna McClellan’s “Fire Flames” shows off the range and depth to the heart-wrenching lyricism and vivid keyboard compositions that characterize her songs. Her deadpan vocals strike somewhere between April Ludgate and Jenny Lewis on top of minimalist song structures have caught the attention of former Bright Eyes members Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis, who provide backing vocals and instrumentation on the record. On stage, she is unapologetic, with her sparse live arrangements allow the lyrics to take the forefront. Unfortunately, much of the (by then) hammered crowd were yelling over the music, and even sarcastically clapping at points. While at points, McClellan seemed at least somewhat phased while performing, in between sets she emitted nothing but positive sentiments, showing that beneath the surface and in spite of a truly shitty crowd, she was ecstatic just to be there, especially as she will be touring with Frankie Cosmos and Eskimeaux this spring.
April Fool’s day saw one of the most beautiful, spur of the moment pranks on stage during Eskimeaux’s set. While Greta of Frankie Cosmos helped Gabby set up her guitar and while the band was on stage already, Greta began strumming out the chords to the band’s opening song “Alone At the Party.” With the rest of the band already in formation, they launched into the opening track with Greta on lead vocals and Gabby singing harmony. The result was a more beautifully arranged version of the track, which would leave tracks like “The Thunder Answered Back” and “Broken Necks” with something to be desired, missing some lush harmonies. However, the live band, consisting of Bellows’ Oliver Kalb on keys, Told Slant’s Felix Walworth on drums, and Sharpless’ Jack Greenleaf on bass are all members of the Epoch collective and provide a very integral part of the compositions. Walworth’s drumming provides a booming foil beneath Smith’s vocals, while Kalb and Greenleaf as backing vocalists create walls of texture that ensnare the senses. Playing primarily the crowd pleasers off of “O.K.” the band also threw in “What the Fuck”, “Power?”, and “Sleeping Bear” from their next mini-album “Year of the Rabbit”. Night 2 saw the band launch into more new songs, some not even on their next release.
Soundchecking together for another changing of the guard, the voice from the sound booth chuckled “you both do such great impressions of each other.” The rapport between Gabby and Greta could not have been captured any more aptly by this sentence, with the entire band (Dave Maine and Luke Pyenson) switching instruments for “Floated In”, the first track on the newest Frankie Cosmos release “Next Thing.” With deep connections to the northeast DIY scene, Dave is the brother of Porches’ vocalist and Kline’s boyfriend Aaron Maine and Pyenson was the first drummer for Krill. The setlist was divided into chunks, first playing most of the tracks off their newest album, then diving into music off of the electronica EP “Fit Me In”, and concluding with “Zentropy” favorites “Buses Splash With Rain” and “I Do Too.” While the band has developed way more as a live unit, some of the more interesting points of their set was the banter between songs, where Kline would describe some of the thought processes behind tracks like “Buses” which is about being alone at a concert, “Tour Good” about their upcoming run of shows, or even things like the fact that their track “On The Lips” got them to be followed by David Blaine. As some of the major proponents of Blainetology (though surprisingly not hosting this show at David Blaine’s The Steakhouse) Kline leapt into the track with a “Hail Blaine.”
Pop + Obachan