All words: Travis Andrews — All photos: Jenny Greenley
There’s just something about a singing drummer. I don’t know what it is that Phil Collins has done to my generation – or at least to me – but a singer-drummer really rings my cherries. And for no other reason than the drummer is singing.
Of course, singing drummers are really no match for Scottish frontmen who say things like “You’re an accordion, now just think about me squeezing you” or “This is a sexy evening” or who leads the crowd in harmonizing.
I love the Dismemberment Plan and the National and the Walkmen and the Hold Steady, so aside from FR not having a “the”-centric name, I was pretty much destined to like them. They make huge rock music about being drunk and broken hearted and pissed at the world, but in that more mature way that gives you a thought of a man getting drunk while watching Sunday Night Football and getting kinda pissed about some lost love (or lost tail). F.R. is that kind of band.
And the show they put on is that kinda show.
The band plays tight. The frontman is funny. The songs rock hard while breaking your heart. Etc.
But the crowd is something to behold. Because they love this band more than anything. It’s always nice to see a crowd that actually cares about the band, and this crowd is belting out every lyric of every song, even the ones off the recently released EP. The crowd ranges pretty widely, age-wise, as well. You’ve got an older fella with his scotch on the rocks sitting over there in the far corner, the twelve-year-old kid with Chucks on chillin’ in the back, and your usual indie fare scattered around the place.
The place being the Black Cat and being unbelievably packed. Recently, I’ve seen the Wallflowers and Mission of Burma here, and neither band brought half the crowd that FR has. It’s impressive and offers some room to open up. Scott Hutchison tells a story about a Christmas Eve after which his lady had left him. So he “sat around in my underpants, drinking beer and listening to Billy Joel records.” Turns out, “it didn’t fucking help at all.”
But it did help him write the song he played.
And soon, everyone is caught in the giant swelling of four guitars and as many voices, the booming drums that are loud enough to be inside you, to be your own heart, be it bursting or broken, and that swell carries a drunken Sunday-night crowd through the maps in their own personal brains, their histories, their nostalgias, their Christmases spent sitting around, drinking beer and listening to Billy Joel. And as much as that had little impact on Hutchison, it’s pretty clear what everyone will say after:
“It didn’t fucking help at all.”
But they’ll add a line or two, a quick addendum that makes all the difference.
“But it was fucking awesome, and I’ll be there next time.”
Misery loves company, and Sunday night, it threw a party.