photos: Frankie Cosmos at Ace of Cups
words + photos: Everly Jazi
details: Frankie Cosmos at Ace of Cups, Columbus, Ohio (9/25/19)
Has anyone not seen Frankie Cosmos before?” Greta Kline asked the audience Wednesday night. “You’re in for a treat…just kidding. Watch out!”
Kline was born for the stage, with her hilarious banter, the way she holds attention and moves, a presence only veteran musicians seem to carry. Kline’s project, Frankie Cosmo, played songs from their latest LP, Close It Quietly, sprinkling in quite a few tracks from earlier releases like Vessel, even Zentropy.
“Windows” was one of the first tracks in the queue, Kline’s loud, strong vocals coming off more casual and conversational than gaudy or dramatic. Since there was no designated lead guitarist, Kline was also the bearer of the very active guitar pieces. Rattling drums came in at the bridge and Kline’s voice went down to a softer degree, with cymbal hits and keyboardist Lauren Martin’s vocals in the background. Keys free-danced all over the track.
“I Do Too,” off the 2014 release, came next, starting with Kline and Martin singing over a slight build in the current of instrumentation. Together, their harmonies fleshed out the old track. As the band reached the second verse, the music hit a harder, lo-fi level. Kline held her last note over the last few cymbal taps.
On “A Joke,” Kline took on a falsetto, and tasteful synth chords complemented her wholesome guitar riffs. Kline told a story, emphasizing words like “flower stems” and “know what” in a manner that showed the important details for her. At the end, the band got loud, bassist Alex Bailey and drummer Luke Pyenson clashing and playing off each other.
The audience bopped incessantly, silent and staring. When the track, “41st" went into a half-time jam, the crowd altered their pulse seamlessly.
On “Ballad of R & J,” the tempo went fast then slow with each phrase. Bailey, who joined Kline’s band from Atlanta’s Warehouse, sang the second verse and Martin, donning a guitar, sang the fourth. There was a short phrase of heavy instrumentation and the band ended together, abruptly.
“Last time that we played here, we had no guitar pedals,” Kline told the crowd, “Now we have two. Pretty different.”
Kline grabbed the mic off the stand and Martin played synth. Kline went into “Korean Food,” confident and with swag. Pyenson played a dusty beat gleaned from captivating hip-hop rhythms. The bassline popped and thumped.
“You want to sing the next one?” Kline asked Martin.
Martin launched into “Sad 2,” another older track that was also proved more elaborate than the studio version. The duo stayed on stage for “Marbles,” while the others took a break. When everyone rejoined, including the keyboardist from opener, Locate S,1, they went straight into grate-y, psychedelic “Being Alive.” Bandmates traded off verses.
For another Vessel track, “Jesse,” Kline and Bailey exchanged instruments. Kline’s bassline with her vocals were front and center, with drum rim taps, keys, synth and guitar fluttering in the periphery. Kline stayed on bass for “So Blue,” Bailey showing off with a monstrous, punk guitar solo midway through.
The band came back at the end for the encore, “Leonie.” Kline replaced her ex-partner’s name with “Frankie,” and Martin, Bailey and Kline sang together at the end as Pyenson sits on the cymbal. Kline added a line from 2012 Separation Anxiety. “Field day got rained out.”