Photos and Review By: Francesca Tirpak
On the midpoint of their international tour promoting the recent release of Next Thing, Frankie Cosmos played a sold out show in the Che Cafe Collective on the outskirts of the UCSD campus, uniquely one of only three shows on the tour with all four bands included.
If you’ve ever been to the Che, you know how intimate the showing is, especially on a night when tickets are hard to acquire. Fans were scrambling for resold tickets up to three days before the night of the show, and it was only to be expected that the house would be full to bursting by the time the headlining band came on. “Everybody loves Frankie,” one of my friends – who was not able to attend – noted the next day on the interesting choice of such a small venue. It was a good choice despite the lack of space, however; the Che has a certain personal feel to it and makes both the bands and the audience feel included in something bigger and greater.
Nebraskan solo artist Anna McClellan officially opened the show to an already-crowded house. Playing all her songs from behind a keyboard that must have been larger than her, Anna engaged the audience with a couple of heavily lyrical folk songs regarding identity and wonderment about the events in the world around her.
Yowler, a solo project by Maryn Jones of Ohio, a past member of bands such as All Dogs and Saintseneca. Jones uses the empty stage as an advantage to her personal sound, revelling in the small breaths taken between lyrics and the echoes of her own voice around her. Her performance doesn’t remain tied to the fact that she is playing as a single person but instead uses her musical skill to retain the presence of a full band while having the lack of restriction on her personal ideas.
New York band Eskimeaux, a songwriting and production project run by current Frankie Cosmos member Gabrielle Smith begun in 2007, livened up the room with the classic bedroom pop that the crowd was looking forward to. On the very night of that concert, Gabrielle announced that their newest EP, Year of the Rabbit, had been released just that day, and led their set by playing the whole of it through for the very first time. Greta Kline, lead singer-songwriter of the headliner, stepped onstage with her fellow band member to contribute to two, more Frankie-esque songs as well.
Where there were at least a few groups of people standing outside during the first three sets, the small room inside was packed full with everyone attending even before Frankie Cosmos stepped onstage. Wearing a shirt that said “Little Size but Big Dreams” (fitting), Greta stepped up to the microphone and without so much as an introduction began what we all had been looking forward to.
Greta has come a long way from her days as Ingrid Superstar, but has not deviated from the DIY style and esoteric yet relatable songwriting that she first began with. Having inspired many a young person to pursue this art and touching so many people’s hearts with her handling of reflection upon oneself, Greta’s project is worthy, in my eyes, of the popularity proven from this night.
This was a special show for another reason, Gabrielle Smith pointed out, as it was one of the three on the US leg of tour that included all four bands. Anna McClellan would be leaving them and Jones continuing on through the end of April. We felt truly privileged to have experienced all the wonderful bands at once, folding together so nicely throughout the night. It’s always a wonder to find a show with a lineup so complimentary and yet so fundamentally diverse.