Chris Farren Plays Another Perfect Set At Mahall’s

Written by on February 8, 2020

Chris Farren recently made a stop at the Mahall’s basement on Jan. 27 to give us another perfect set from the Born Hot Tour, his first solo headlining tour, accompanied by Macseal and Retirement Party. This was my first time in the Mahall’s basement, and I really enjoyed the atmosphere from both the venue and the crowd. I also enjoyed being able to listen to the celebratory screams coming from the bands while they played a game of bowling in the open alley adjacent to the basement.

First up on the bill was Macseal, an indie pop rock band from New York. They brought some fun pop punk to the party, and they’re a band I would definitely play at a party. They brought more energy from the crowd than most openers, and I would definitely like to see them again.

You can check out Macseal’s music video for their single “Lucky for Some” from their LP titled “Super Enthusiast” below, and you can also find them on Spotify and Bandcamp.


Next up was Retirement Party, a playful pop punk band from Chicago. I had heard a few singles in passing from them, but I never actually took the time to listen to their music, and that has since changed. A good amount of the crowd sang along as the lead singer belted out raw and intricate lyrics that felt like they came straight from Avery Springer’s conscious without any preparation beforehand. The bass and guitar also matched the lyrics’ intricacy yet contrasted them at the same time with their wailing timbre. You can check out Retirement Party’s full session with Audiotree Live below. They are also on Spotify and Bandcamp.


Touring with a band is no stranger to Chris Farren though. Last year, Antarctigo Vespucci, consisting of Chris Farren, Jeff Rosenstock, and Laura Stevenson, came to Lakewood for a show that even wowed my dad, who had never even heard any of those names before. Now, when I heard that Chris Farren took solo tour literally, with himself being his only band member, I was a little wary that the high energy of Antarctigo Vespucci wouldn’t be there. 

However, Farren prevailed and brought us another perfect set. With a projected continuous animated sequence behind him that changed with every song and guitar solo, Chris Farren sang of his anxieties in a way that sounds happy until you actually listen to the lyrics. Towards the end of his perfect set, he dropped balloons with his drawn face printed on them into the crowd, and the crowd practically dove for them at any given point during the remainder of the set.

The final song of the night was “Human Being” from his album “Can’t Die”, a song about social anxiety and realizing that you hate parties even though you really want to like them at the same time, which I found fitting for the end of the set. I briefly spoke with Chris Farren after the show while he was winding up all the cables that converged to his pedalboard, and he was one of the genuinely nicest people I have ever spoken to. He was interested in everything that everyone had to say to him, and he was happy to talk to everyone, and that really shows the quality of an artist.

All in all, I greatly enjoyed the Chris Farren show, and I hope that he comes back to Cleveland soon because whether he is in a band or only accompanied by his Fender and pedalboard, he’ll put on a perfect set every time.


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