I'd never been to Shea Stadium before. I knew the name was ironic and that it wasn't an actual stadium, but I didn't know what to expect before arriving at the Frankie Cosmos show last Friday night. I immediately felt at ease, walking through the crowd not knowing anyone, but feeling like I did. Lots of laid back (which is rare for a New York crowd) teens with bleached hair wearing their blackest choker necklaces...maybe it was because Frankie Cosmos' music embodies total easygoingness. I'll dive into what I mean by that later on.
I wasn't familiar with the first act Pop & Obachan, but I'm happy I got to see them. The singer had a soothing voice that blended well with their lush, reverb-soaked guitars. Their sound was a cross between Fleetwood Mac, Sharon Van Etten, and Beach House - subtle folk undertones with a tinge of psychedelic pop. Do yourself a favor and let this band sweep you away with their perfect balance of fluttering guitars and atmospheric synths.
The next act was Anna McClellan. Although she came off as a bit nervous, her powerful storytelling prevailed. This solo singer/pianist was not trying to hide, as she offered up complete vulnerability to the audience. Channeling her inner Fiona Apple, her voice contained a ton of emotion, almost sounding like she was about to break down, which gave me chills.
The final opener was Eskimeaux, whose lead singer, Gabrielle Smith, is also the keyboardist for Cosmos. While they're very similar to each other sonically, Smith's energy was the polar opposite. She smiled the entire show, cracking jokes between every song, and overall looked extremely happy to be there. The crowd went wild for every song and it started to feel more like a party in someone's basement rather than a concert.
Finally, Frankie Cosmos entered the stage looking cool as f***, sporting a romper and a bluntly cut short bob. She switched instruments with her bandmates for the first song of her set as a belated April Fool's prank, but then switched over to her more fitting lilac-colored electric guitar. Cosmos was very flat when she spoke in between songs, but there's something about her personality that makes it more endearing than lackluster. My favorite song of the night was "Fool." With the groovy drumbeat and weirdly positive-sounding melody in the chorus, it sounds like a song you'd discover in a car commercial. The band played the entirety of their brand new album, Next Thing, which came to a total of thirty minutes, then they pleased the diehard fans by going back to some older tunes. That's the one thing that I wasn't used to -- 2 minute long songs. In every single song, Cosmos would spew out beautiful poetry and end it way before I was ready for it to end. I appreciated the short length on that specific night because I was exhausted, but it makes it harder for me to get into the songs in the long run.
Now let's come back to what I mean by Cosmos' music embodying total easygoingness. If I had to describe her music to a friend, I would say she fits into the "Angel Olsen/Mac DeMarco category." Yes, that's a new category I just made up for the sake of what I'm trying to say. By that I mean if you go to an Olsen show, you'll get super dramatic lyrics coming from a girl with a blank stare with clean, simple, guitar-driven music in the background. Cosmos is similar, she delivers heavy lyrics with mellow energy in her voice. Sometimes that's the best thing to listen to when you just need to chill out. Listening to complex music is all good and fun, but sometimes it can stress you out. There's still *a lot* that goes into writing and producing this kind of music, but keeping the simplicity is so powerful in itself. And if you've made music that's easy to listen to, you've essentially "made it," right? Turn up "Sinister," clear your head, and zone out with the very endearing Frankie Cosmos.