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Frente
A Concert Review

July 22, 1996

Schuba's Tavern

Chicago, IL

A Review and Photos by
The Dude on the Right
Angie Hart
Angie Hart
So, I call up Stu Gotz and say, "Hey Stu, you want to go to some bar on the north side called Schuba's?" He says "Sure, why?" "There's a band playing there that I'm going to review." And we're off. Driving in the car up Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, Stu asks, "What's the name of this band anyway?" I say, "I don't know, but I it's got some dudette named Frente." "Hey Dude, isn't Frente the name of the band? I think they had some hit a couple of years ago, but I can't remember what it is," Stu replies. "Maybe your right," I come back, "I guess maybe I should have read that bio material beforehand."

Well, Stu didn't really correct me, another nicer person did when I referred to Frente as a her. Yea, so I'm stupid sometimes, but I had been listening to Frente's new CD called "Shape." I liked what I heard, and with the band coming to Chicago, I figured I would go see the show.

We end up at Schuba's, someplace I had never been before, and try to figure the place out. Basically, the setting is like this: There are two sections - a bar section and a little room section. It is in the little room section that the band was set up. Getting there, Stu still couldn't remember just what song put Frente on the map, but he said I would recognize it. I did. I'll get to that in time.

 
Softly singing.
Softly singing.
So, I'm going to a show where I thought Frente was a dudette, didn't read the band's bio info, and only know them for this tape that hasn't received any airplay. I had no freakin' clue what to expect. But out came the band, and there at the front mike is a little dudette, who after reading the bio I realized her name is really Angie. She came out dressed in what almost looked like pajamas with a cute cat sewn into the chest. She looked very polite, said "Thank You" to the applause, and proceeded into "Labor of Love." I said to myself, "Self, now I know who this band is, well, besides the stuff I have heard off of "Shape."

Now, I'll tell you this, most of the crowd was there for Frente, and they were the courteous ones. The opening band, Planet Warehouse, whose not a bad band at all, had quite the local following, so some of the folks there didn't really care about Frente. As the band started, a couple of songs into the set, these people wouldn't stop talking. Angie is not the most vocal person, but I will say this, she did have the balls, alright, maybe not balls but, well, you get what I mean, she openly tells these people to shut up. A remark is thrown at her, and she blasts a witty remark right back. If this music thing falls through, Angie should think about stand-up because she can come back at any heckler with the best of them! But, back to the show.

 
Having fun.
Having fun!
Frente is composed of you basic set-up. There's Angie Hart on vocals, Simon Austin handling the guitar, Alastair Barden handling the drums, and Bill McDonald on bass. Now, Bill and Alastair kinda hold their own, but Angie and Simon are total opposites. Angie shyly stands behind her microphone singing the tunes in a voice sometimes above a whisper. Simon on the other hand is the energy and looked like he was having way too much fun up on this little stage.

Frente's songs, with the quiet-like voice of Angie, musically almost remind me of a bedside lullaby. But listening to the lyrics there are much deeper messages than anything my mom ever sang to me when I was little. The bands set wasn't too long, only about an hour, but they hit on most of the songs from "Shape," as well as some others which I'm guessing came from their previous CD. And, you know, other than those few people who weren't there to see the band anyway, although most of them didn't leave and seemed to appreciate Frente a lot more than when they started, the rest of the crowd seemed to love every minute of the band. Angie was cool and conveyed all different kinds of messages through some radio friendly songs like "Sit on My Hands" and "Good Guy, Goodbye" and some songs that will probably never make a radio station, but maybe they should. I'm glad I listened to "Shape" before I went to the show, and I will tell you this, it's not one of those "out of the jewel case and into the CD player and it's the best thing you ever heard" CD's, but, in all honesty, it's one of those "if you listen to it a couple of times, the songs really start to grow on you" CD's. It helped me like the show a lot more, and although the crowd didn't seem to know any of the new songs, they loved the band.

Hell, it was a good show, Simon is a nut, and Angie has this totally innocent quality until you listen to some of the band's songs. What the hell, it's TWO THUMBS UP for Frente, and Frente isn't a chick, it's a band.

A good show, a kinda rambling review, but if Frente comes to town and you remember the "Labor of Love" song, go see the band and pick-up the new CD. Both are good, both are fun, and please don't beat up the people who came for the opening band. They just might end up liking Frente even though they don't remember who they are.

That's it for this one, I'm The Dude on the Right. L8R!

 

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