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Frankie Rose with DIVE and East Hundred - North Star Bar (Philadelphia) - Thursday, April 5, 2012

12 April 2012

For the last month or so, Frankie Rose‘s new album Interstellar has been my favorite new record (see my review here). Having never seen her play live, I was wondering if she would be able to pull off the album’s daunting arrangements and instrumentation in a live setting. The answer, at least on this night, was sort of. To be completely fair, this was the first night of her tour with Captured Tracks label upstarts DIVE (more on them later). Perhaps for that reason and because she also played one of the 20th anniversary shows for Chickfactor magazine last week in Arlington, VA, it’s possible that this show was treated as a warm-up or rehearsal of sorts.

Nevertheless, we got a very short (for a headliner with two Lps out) 35-minute set that concentrated mostly on Interstellar with a few tunes from her 1st album thrown in. Though some of my Interstellar favorites like the single “Know Me” and the beautiful “Gospel/Grace” were played, they didn’t play the song I most wanted to hear. This is the beautiful, side 1 closer “Pair of Wings”, a song with a tricky arrangement that Rose has said they would attempt to play on this tour (and did at the show in Arlington). It would’ve been perfect had they come out to play it as an encore, but it was not to be on this encore-less evening. Of the songs they did play, the first few songs (including the aforementioned “Gospel/Grace”) were a bit shaky, but they got into the groove of things later in the set. I would expect that the next time she comes back to play here, the band will be tighter from their touring schedule and hopefully the set will be longer as well. Otherwise, it was a nice set.

I’d heard Brooklyn shoegazers DIVE before seeing them play live, but wasn’t prepared for what hit me and the small audience. They started late, so they only got to play for about 15 minutes or so. It was enough, though, as they must’ve managed to play about 6 or 7 songs and just dominated. This is dream-pop played with punk rock energy and the laser-like precision, but isn’t too professional or mannered. Simply put, they were great. If you ever get a chance to see them, do it!

East Hundred, the locals who opened the show, were almost like two different bands in one. Vocalist Beryl Guceri comes off as a Debbie Harry sound-a-like at times, but with a huge voice that somehow also reminded me of Missing PersonsDale Bozzio as well. The band, however, is a relatively straightforward (and at times almost slick-sounding, contrasting with DIVE in that way) dream-pop or jangle-pop outfit rooted in The Cure and other greats (at times bands ranging fromThe Railway Children to The Cranberries circa their 1st album came to mind). The mix works quite well and I really enjoyed their set. It’s just a shame that they’re breaking up and that their farewell show is next month. I wish I would’ve known about them earlier.