Review by: Lily Nauta
With their first album debuting in 2013 and their second and most recent in 2016, indie-rock band The Frights are a quickly growing group. The band picked up traction quick with lead singer Mikey Carnevale’s captivating vocals, paired with their tight drumming and pristine jangly guitar riffs.
The opening band On Drugs provided a psychedelic experience with the lead singer’s creeping, upper register vocals and metallic guitars. The band also hyped up the audience by unleashing the “Wall of Death”, in which the crowd divided then charged into each other at the height of the song. They’ve definitely inaugurated me into their fan club. The second opening band, Thee Commons, captivated the audience with their groovy Cumbia tunes and psychedelia. Like On Drugs, it was evident that Thee Commons knew how to harness the crowds energy– which they did with their low growling voices and audience engagement.
By the time The Frights entered the stage, the vibe was perfect. And the audience—consisting almost entirely of fellow slugs—was especially hyped after the band entered to a voice recording of them singing “Santa Cruz is bananas b-a-n-a-n-a-s!”. We slugs appreciate a good pun. Throughout the show, Mikey continued to make reference to Santa Cruz stereotypes; at one point even stopping just to gesture at a large group at the center to say, “Aw I love you guys, that is Santa Cruz right there- just a big group of guys jumping around in a circle.”
From the dense air to the towering “used car-sale blow up” decorations, the venue was atmospherically in tune with the entire room; thus creating an almost ethereal connection between the band and the audience. The cloud of smoke looming over the audience further swallowed everyone into the bluesy haze during songs like “Haunted” and “Of Age”. On the contrary, Mikey’s cosmic screeches in songs like “Crust Bucket” and “You Are Going to Hate this” caused the audience to lash out into a beautiful moshing frenzy.
Speaking of moshing frenzy, I (as a relatively small gal) made the poor choice of maneuvering my way into the center of the pit, only to find myself on the ground moments later with several large sweaty men on top of me. As they scrambled to get up, I laid there paralyzed like a little carcass or something and was eventually lifted up by the camaraderie of the mosh pit. Once back onto my feet, I was hugged by a very kind (and very sweaty) fella who patted me on the back to make sure I was okay. I never knew almost getting trampled could be such a euphoric experience. For the entirety of the show I jammed sporadically (this time on the sidelines) while engulfed in the visceral screams and intoxicating melodies of The Frights.
At the end of the night, the band concluded by saying, “we’ve traveled all around the US and you guys honestly are my favorite”. I guess these slugs are bananas.