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MARGARET GLASPY and FRANKIE COSMOS @ Chevron Festival Gardens

Margaret-Glaspy-@CFG-(photos-by-Rachael-Barrett)-3675

Margaret Glaspy/Frankie Cosmos/Mosquito Coast @ Chevron Festival Gardens (for PIAF)
Thursday, March 2, 2017

7.5/10

A slice of New York made it’s way to Perth in the form of two female artists who have sprung to providence over the past twelve months. Though polar opposites in style, Frankie Cosmos and Margaret Glaspy made for a intriguing double bill.

Local outfit Mosquito Coast got the ball rolling with their take on the dream pop genre. The band are building quite a following and with a recent east coast tour under their belt, they are stage hardened. The four-piece do little to captivate visually with the focus being on the tunes doing the work as they wash around you. The youthful band have the world at the feet with songs that rely on the sweet yet thin voice of Naomi Robinson and a set of singles including the set closer Commotion that just get better with each outing.

Greta Kline wasn’t prepared for the outpouring of support that she would experience when she came out to perform as Frankie Cosmos. The lo-fi musician who has more music on her Bandcamp page than dozens of artists put together, was greeted with a tightly packed crowd who cheered with delight and hung off every word of the youthful New Yorker. Floated In gave a fair indication that energy would trump precision during this set that was so charming it hurt.

Kline was sporting a recently shaved head and bright leggings before both parsing the weather and lamenting it at the same time. Her less than perfect falsetto added extra flavour to On The Lips before a rough and ragged yet grin inducing If I Had A Dog saw Kline on her knees for a primitive yet entertaining guitar solo on her trusty Dan Electro.

There was choreographed hand gestures and one minute songs that added to the quirky appeal. When it was declared that keyboard player Lauren had lost her voice, but she would be attempting to sing anyway, it was impossible not to be drawn in by the bands fragility and openness. The slower Fool showed that Frankie Cosmos wasn’t all childish bravado with a track chock full of sweet substance.

Songs were pulled from the back catalogue at the request of some punters that the band had met in Fremantle during the day. The sing along continued with the crowd being more familiar with Kline’s work than expected. Whilst announcing they would be winding up, Frankie Cosmos discovered they had more time than expected and proceed to play four more songs in the space of just over five minutes. Art School was an apt closer for an outfit that had oodles of whimsy and beguile to play one perfectly imprecise show.

Whether it be due to the lateness of the hour on a school night, or whether Frankie Cosmos was the main draw here, the crowd had thinned out somewhat by the time Margaret Glaspy made her way to the stage. Not to be perturbed, Glaspy with her drummer and bassist in tow worked through a sizeable portion of the songs from her debut album Emotion And Math.

Glaspy’s band were dressed in black like back of house staff at a production, leaving no mistake and to who the focal point was to be. Glaspy wears her guitar low as she produces crunchy chords and blues based riffs during her skewed pop tunes. Pins And Needles was particularly earthy in its delivery with Glaspy and her band being tight as a Sunday morning cyclist’s lycra.

Armed with a powerful voice, Glaspy easily turned on a gruff performance of Situation with a riff that showcased her adept guitar playing. The slower and loping Black Is Blue is where Glaspy really shone as she was to tread similar territory to Lucinda Williams without the decades of whiskey soaked vocal chords.

New songs were uncovered and the band even retired for a short stint while Glaspy played solo. Of these tunes You’re Smiling (But I Don’t Believe You) was pleasant enough even if was overshadowed by an overcooked version of Lauren Hill’s Ex-factor, that was inspired by sharing a room and stereo with her sister in her formative years.

The band rejoined proceedings for the most melodic part of the set with Emotions And Math being worthy of its strong billing and You Don’t Want Me being a solid lament. There is little doubt that Glaspy showed off an impressive set of pipes and a constrained and commercial approach to her music, but it is ultimately her proficiency that makes her performance less interesting.

CHRIS HAVERCROFT