Concert Review: Frankie Cosmos at Mahall’s
Written by Reid Smith on October 27, 2016
Frankie Cosmos, Big Thief and Small Wood House at Mahall’s Oct 25,2016
By Alice Leach, BSR DJ
Image courtesy of pitchfork.com
I first listened to Frankie Cosmos in March of this year, when I heard their hit song “Young”. A friend dropped their name while talking about a show they’d seen at a little venue in Columbus, so I decided I’d give them a listen. I quickly went from listening to a couple of their tunes to listening to a couple of their albums, and finally to listening to their entire music library on Spotify, rocketing them to one of my all-time favorites. This small indie group- a musical project of vocalist and musician Greta Kline, provides listeners with short, narrative driven, jingly tunes that are guaranteed to delight and amuse. The almost adolescent singing style of Kline, combined with the often biting lyrics make Frankie Cosmos’ music relatable, easy to listen to, entirely unique and often hilarious.
So naturally, when I found out they were playing a show at Mahall’s 20 Lanes, in Lakewood, I had to be there. This wasn’t the first time I’d seen the pleasantly quirky Greta Kline and her musical companions- I’d caught a show of theirs earlier this summer back in Columbus at Ace of Cups. Doors opened for Mahall’s at 7:00, and I was there on the dot to grab a good spot. I’d never been to Mahall’s before- an unexpectedly large venue that combined bowling, bars and bands to create an entirely unique experience. I’ll be honest and say that I’d never heard of, or listened to either of the bands opening for Frankie – Big Thief or Small Wood House (I know, I’m terrible) but I was stoked for anything this show had in store. As I waited for the venue to fill and the show to start, I made a trip over to the merch table where I bought an enamel pin directly from Greta Kline herself- a fun experience I didn’t expect to have, which made the show a whole lot more personal (how many times have you bought merch from the band, itself? Pretty cool if you ask me). The room where the show was held was spacious and relatively empty towards the beginning of the show, making it pretty easy to grab a good spot for the openers.
I was surprised to discover that Small Wood House- the very first band to open, was a local group hailing from Kent and consisted of former Kent students. Their sound was unexpected- heavy on accompaniment, with echoing vocals that gave all of their tracks a dreamy feel. I immediately filed their name away for later so I could give them a listen. By the second act, the crowd had grown substantially and I began realizing just how hard the floors were and just how long I had been standing at that show. BUT, as soon as Big Thief took the stage, I immediately forgot that I even had a back. The lead singer Adrianne’s captivating voice quieted the room instantly and left my heart aching by the end of their first song (what I’m now sure is “Lorraine” – check it out!). While I may have been the only one there who hadn’t listened to them, I was definitely a fan by the end. The energy and pure emotion of the lead singer, engaged everyone listening and made me forget that I was sweating, aching and squeezed up next to tens of other show-goers – something I haven’t experienced nearly enough at live shows.
After a short break for setup, it was finally time for Frankie (me, my aching back, and my ears were all very, very grateful). The band gave a quick introduction and hopped right into their set. They mostly played tunes from their album, “Next Thing”, released this past April. They played tracks such as “Outside with the Cuties”, “Too Dark”, “Sappho”, “I Floated In” and “What If” – songs I’d come to know all too well and sang along with, just like the fan-girl that I am. Their set was short but entirely worth it and included a few fun hiccups. The lead singer of Eskimeaux – Gabrielle Smith (who happened to be at the show) joined the band for a bit of unexpected choreography during one of their tracks and a vocalist from PWR BTTM, Ben Hopkins (The band playing a show next door) joined in on vocals for another (Give them both a listen, they’re rad). All in all, the show was silly, quirky and just what I’d expected from Frankie Cosmos. The crowd was great, the music was greater and the experience was the greatest. Frankie Cosmos killed it as always, and I’ll be game whenever they’re back in town.