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