From lo-fi recordings to headlining act
Greta Kline and her band Frankie Cosmos brought their charming sound to Denver once again, playing two shows at the Bluebird Theater and Larimer Lounge on Nov. 7 and 8. In their opening show at the Bluebird, they brought a treasury of sounds both new and old.
Originally built for watching movies, the Bluebird Theater continues to bring a vibrant scene to the road of endless wonders known as Colfax Avenue. Inside, the Bluebird feels more cozy than other music venues and can be notoriously loud.
Opening the night, Denver native Ashley Koett and her band warmed up the slowly swelling crowd. After their performance, members of the band hung out in the audience to watch the rest of the show. Stephen Steinbrink was next to take the stage, bringing a mellow but chill sound from Oakland, California. In the tradition of other American folk groups, Steinbrink and his band exhibit impeccable vocal harmonies. Steinbrink himself previously toured with the anti-folk duo Girlpool at the same time Frankie Cosmos was their opening act, although his style in comparison is far more laid back than either of them. A strange aspect of the performance was that one of the band members stood awkwardly with a drumstick next to a lonely cymbal the entire time and never seemed to actually play it. Aside from that, their performance was a nice transition to the much-anticipated main act. With clear and intimate lyrics, they had an authenticity that is often lacking in contemporary music.
From the first note on, Frankie Cosmos delivered a show from the heart. In their colorful plain clothes and fluorescent guitar cables, they displayed a relaxed yet skilled style and their DIY roots. Most of the songs they played were from their recent album Close It Quietly, released in September, as well as Vessel from early last year. Frankie Cosmos has been remarkably prolific, releasing two albums just in 2019 along with their seemingly ceaseless tour schedule.
Before making albums with record labels Bayonet and Sub Pop, Kline released literally dozens of self-composed collections on her Bandcamp under various aliases. In recent albums, Kline resurrects old tunes and refreshes them with her bandmates. About halfway through their performance, the drummer, Luke Pyenson, and bassist, Alex Bailey, stealthily left the stage. Kline and bandmate Lauren Martin played duets of early songs until the drummer and bassist returned to add a new blend of sound. While she began her journey in music as a solitary lo-fi artist, Kline grew successfully into having a band with higher production.
With the reception of the audience, it was clear that Frankie Cosmos remains a cherished and growing presence in independent music. It must be quite a change from making music in the bedroom to hearing a crowd sing along and begging for an encore. Ashley Koett and Stephen Steinbrick deserve credit as strong opening acts as well. All of them share that same authenticity that allows people to connect with their music on a deeper level.