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Frankie Cosmos performs a tender and invigorating set at Chum’s

By Sara McCrea

Section: Arts

March 23, 2018

Frankie Cosmos has an air of effortless cool. Underneath Chum’s flashing lights, Greta Kline, the lead singer better known by her stage name, Frankie Cosmos, sported a pair of flower-framed sunglasses with blue lenses as she performed for a packed house on Friday, March 16, with the multi-talented Luke Pyenson, Alex Bailey and Lauren Martin as her backup band. Cosmos, who Rolling Stone named as one of “10 New Artists Defining the Sound of Now” in 2016, drew one of WBRS’ largest audiences of the year.

The concert was short but sweet, with each of the band’s songs generally constructed of only one verse and a chorus and rarely exceeding two and a half minutes. Despite the short runtime of the concert (45 minutes overall) each of Cosmos’ songs gives the listener a taste of a pure emotion—whether it be freedom, heartbreak or youthful love. Collectively, Kline’s music resembles an impressionist painting, with each song like separate brushstroke coming together to produce an invigorated and slightly wistful tone. In addition to a few of their more popular songs from previous albums, the majority of the band’s set was from their new album “Vessel,” which has yet to be released.

Kline’s voice, like her songs and stage presence, contains a hopeful vulnerability that beautifully complemented the coffeehouse’s intimate space. Her genre, best described as “indie-pop” without the gruffness or “soft rock” with an element of sweetness, usually draws a crowd of beanie-wearers who would identify themselves as a part of “DIY culture” and who happily jam to Cosmos’s tunes.

Inside the Brandeis coffeehouse, however, the crowd’s spirit fell short of the band’s exceptional performance. My friend, who had traveled from Berklee College of Music to see the show, remarked that the vibe was more similar to that of an art exhibit than a concert, with more head nodding from the crowd than dancing. This was not for a lack of effort to engage the audience—between songs, Kline offered witty jokes and questions to the audience and was met with an unnaturally dead response. It was only at the end of the show that the audience’s appreciation showed, with the applause bringing the band back onstage to perform an encore of “Fool,” one of their most popular songs from their 2016 album “Next Thing.” It was then that the audience seemed to come alive, with whispers of the melody echoing as the night came to an end.

Despite the lack of response, the band’s performance was refreshingly polished, with Kline and Martin’s voices intertwining in ethereal harmonies that made it hard to believe they were of separate bodies. Hopefully, Cosmos’s concert signified a new trend of bringing in talented and high-profile musicians or a trend of blue-framed sunglasses on campus.

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