Frenship Kicks Off Summer Concert Season at the Neighborhood Theatre
Good Morning, Goodbye Tour!
Who says you have to be sad about a show getting rescheduled? Frenship definitely doesn’t believe in this. Creating summertime jams and sharing their discography of electro pop songs, the duo declared the beginning of the summer season for Charlotte residents at the Neighborhood Theatre on Tuesday night. Originally scheduled to play on April 9, fans “went up on a Tuesday” two months later, and danced like there was no tomorrow.
The duo, consisting of James Sunderland and Brett Hite originally met each other in Los Angeles working at Lululemon. While working part time at the store, they shared music with each other, becoming friends first, and then began music making together. After waking up one morning, hungover, the two wrote their first song together and titled it “Kids”. Selling spandex and continuing to write and record, Frenship went viral in 2016 for their single “Capsize”.
Trying hard to break down the Spotify door, nothing had worked until their release of “Capsize”. Originally releasing the song on SoundCloud, and then charting on Hype Machine, the song was found by a Spotify Representative and put onto Spotify’s “New Music Friday” playlist. A couple days later it had hit a million plays and further led to a record deal with Columbia Records. With over 447 million streams and counting, Sunderland and Hite have continued to remain humble since it’s release.
Opening up for Frenship was artist, Jimmy Brown of local bands Bassh and Matrimony. Performing solo with just an acoustic guitar, the Irish singer won the hearts of those who were listening. The crowd was extremely chatty. Maybe it was their anxiousness and anticipation for Frenship’s set, however, I felt as though it was disrespectful. Brown opened with “Flee or Fight”, one of Matrimony’s songs. Brown’s voice was both beautiful and calming and many attendees failed to appreciate the talent that was right before their eyes. His solo set was much different than that of his work with Bassh, a collaborative project that combines synth pop and experimental songwriting.
Brown’s performance was intimate and welcoming. Playing for a smaller crowd at a show classified under a different genre, proved his vulnerability. However, Brown put the stress aside and instead used it to fuel passion into his performance. Working alongside Bill Reynolds of Band of Horses and Lincoln Parish, ex Cage the Elephant member, Brown writes and produces his own music with close musicians and producers. After playing many acoustic slow songs in a row, Brown jokingly said “I wish I could play some more upbeat songs for you, but I’m depressed as fuck”. A couple “me too’s” for affirmation echoed in the crowd as he began to sing his next song.
It was fun to hear music from both of Brown’s bands, giving the crowd a taste of his range as an artist and ability to mold different sounds into his work. One of my favorites from his set was “Body”. After going back and listening to the full production of the song, I gained new respect for Brown and his ability to transform songs to fit the atmosphere of a room. Before closing out with “Palm Gazing”, Brown announced “I’m selling CD’s… they’re super cheap. I just kinda make the price up as I go along. If I like you, they’re $5 and if I don’t, they’re $10”. The crowd appreciated his humor and cheered as he began to play “Palm Gazing”, another song by Matrimony.
Frenship opened with “Carpet”, the first song off their EP Truce. The band walked on from side stage, through the crowd and began to dance immediately. Slightly coordinated dance moves and spontaneous jumping made for an energetic introduction. After playing “Carpet” the band dove right into “Run Wild”, or “Jog Cautious”, the nickname they had given it on Charlotte’s setlist. Upbeat synth-pop beats fused with their live band made for an intriguing performance. Before coming to the show, I was curious to see how Frenship would take to performing. However, they did in fact play many instruments including drums, guitars, keys, and bass.
If you are a fan of Frenship, NOW IS THE TIME TO SEE THEM. Rarely do I go to a show and the artist/ band plays every song in their discography. So you’ll never have to say “Oh, I wish they played this song”. Not to mention, you selfishly get to see them at smaller, intimate venues. Mark my word, they will not continue to play these small venues for long. Frenship is on the rise and they could take off at any moment.
During their set, Sunderland and Hite mentioned that one of the first shows they played in North Carolina was at UNC. Many cheers came from the crowd as it seemed that a few fans had been present.
Towards the middle of the show, Sunderland announced that since he had spent a considerable amount of time with the Charlotte crowd, it would be okay to cry for any of their next songs. He wanted the audience to feel moved and affected by the music. Laughter from the crowd followed as a young girl’s friend yelled “She’ll cry for you!”. “Thank you!” Sunderland replied and was honored. He began laughing as the girl had already begun crying with the small amount of recognition she got from the artist. Sunderland was shocked and tickled that he didn’t even have to sing to move the crowd.
The band did play a few new songs that have yet to be released and experimented to see how fans would react. The audience carefully listened to the lyrics as Frenship shared their new content.
The best part of the night was when Frenship sang “Capsize”. Originally sung and recorded with Emily Warren, Frenship’s keyboard player, Celeste, helped to fill her role. Given the fact that it was their number one song, and the girl power in the house was unreal, fans went crazy. Screaming louder than any other song, and cheering for more Celeste. Humbled by the crowd’s enthusiasm, after finishing the song, the look on her face was priceless. Honored, shocked, and happy all at once, she obviously had not expected the positive reaction from the crowd.
With only one EP and a few singles, I questioned at the beginning of the night whether or not Frenship would play a full length set. However, they proved me wrong and played for a full hour and thirty minutes. Before singing their last couple of songs of the evening, Sunderland said “This is the part of the set where we just stall because we’re having so much fun and we don’t want it to end.” Sunderland explained “and then they make me play covers which I don’t really love doing but…”. Then, they proceeded to play Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”. When he forgot the words to the complicated rap song, the crowd helped him out until the chorus, in which Frenship was blown away. “Never has that ever happened before…”, referencing to their ability to remember all the words, “let’s try another one”. Then fans begin to recognize the intro for “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and sang what they could. Given the fact that the song came out before many of the fan’s time, they struggled to remember the words, but it was the effort that counted.
The band’s second to last song was their most recently released single, “MI Amore”. A perfect summertime jam, Frenship sang “MI Amore” for Charlotte fans and worked the stage like a runway.
Frenship ended with “1000 Nights” and invited the rest of the band to the front of the stage to shred, bang on the drums, and dance. Although it was the last song of the night, the amount of energy failed to decline. Each person in the crowd was running off one another’s adrenaline. Frenship wasted no time with an encore. They encouraged the crowd to sing along and jump for the last song. Charlotte definitely did not disappoint. Giving high fives to fans as they exited, Frenship left the stage knowing full well that a show in Charlotte must be scheduled in the near future. Promising Charlotte that they’d be back soon, they thanked the fans for coming on a Tuesday night and for supporting their music.
Bringing new music to the airwaves in 2018, and a potential tour in the upcoming future, *wink wink*, although still new to the public, the duo has began to climb to the top of the pyramid. Playing Bonnaroo this week, and many other festivals throughout the summer, Frenship is a band you MUST SEE… and this summer will be the perfect time to see them.