Three songs deep into their October 29th set at Phoenix Landing, Frank & Dependent singer Jane Fitzsimmons leaned into the mic to coyly introduce her band: “We are Insane Clown Posse.”
While it was more of an acknowledgment of the evening’s theatrics—almost every act that performed that night was clad in black and white skull make up, just in time for Halloween—there was some truth to that statement. Each act on the bill forms a posse in the sense that they’re a collective of artists all living under the same roof (lovingly dubbed “The Womb”). And while they’re not (usually) clowns, they’re definitely all crazy. Each set from that night featured songs that hit sugar-induced highs and sludgy lows, schizophrenically genre-jumping from buoyant indie-pop to electro-pop, and from heavy, slow-burning jams to chaotic jazz breaks. Without a doubt, that Tuesday night found three insanely talented acts beginning to hit their creative strides.
Berklee student Alex Judd opened with his band Brazil, championing a mix of folky goodness and indie rock. They highlighted the beginning of their set with “Offensive To Cats”, a song so instantly catchy that I was convinced I already knew it by heart. Marco Lawrence’s electro-pop act Hall of Mirrors followed. Heavy synths and choir-inflected keys melded on dark cuts like “Sacrifice”, providing optimal contrast for a soaring rendition of The Knife’s “Heartbeats.”
Frank & Dependent did most of the attention stealing as they showcased their strongest material yet. Reminiscent of early Broken Social Scene and Los Campesinos! at their most energized, F&D pulled out all the stops for their careening brand of indie rock. Whether it was a mid-set cut that climaxed in split seconds of silence before each band member joyfully screamed out, or highlight “Christopher Walken and Grace Jones Having Sex on a Circular Bed” that found the band taking a left-turn mid song to bust out into a frenetic jazz break, F&D are nothing if not vivacious. Ironic, considering I was watching six skeletons hopping around on stage.