At Frankie Cosmos’ sold out all-ages show at Lincoln Hall this Monday, things were prompt. Running from the corporate office to cook dinner to get there before 7:30 p.m. was a hustle — and I had unfortunately already missed the first opener, Lala Lala.
Florist came on stage as what seemed like a three-piece band in the heavy artificial fog. However, Felix Walworth, of Told Slant, sat strong behind the drum set in smog that represented the intermingling of the DIY scene these bands have come to represent and collaborate behind.
The band frequently knelt down and let Emily Sprauge, the band’s lead vocalist, deliver her beautiful lyrics in supportive isolation. The audience was attentive and swaying, entranced but reticent. Sprague noted the atmosphere, comparing it to her mind palace — a setting resembling her own internal world.
“Okay, we’re entering the quiet part of the set now,” Sprague said. The audience shuffled a bit uncomfortably and a few giggled. “It’s a joke and it’s true,” she continued in self-aware deprecation. The joke was then laughed at more wholeheartedly, but the audience was eager for the coming songs.
Florist’s set ended abruptly: “Okay, they’re telling us we’re out of time. So that was our last song,” Sprague said. The promptness of the show continued on.
Frankie Cosmos entered the stage just as a couple of bouncy guys pushed next to me. The type that hollered “We love you!” and “We listen to you at home!” the entire show. Their enthusiastic dancing could have inspired an interesting energy in the somewhat laconic crowd, if not for the interruptive borderline catcalls that Kline felt unfortunately inclined to acknowledge in such a small venue.
“Thanks for being so quiet in a space like this where we can hear everything,” she said.
“We love you, Greta!” the boys shouted. Kline glanced at keyboardist Lauren Martin and said nothing. At one point in the show Kline said,”I just fired the boys” as bassist David Maine and drummer Luke Pyenson walked off stage. The joke hit too close to home as the eye-rolls surrounding the babbling bunch to my right continued.
Kline and Martin continued into “The End” and “My Phone” with a dynamic that proved the most engaging of the set.
Having seen Frankie Cosmos perform in 2016 at the same venue, I was excited to see them again with the addition of Vessel. However, I was left a bit longingly bored. When Kline asked the audience if they’d seen their previous Chicago sets, the loudest cheers arose when she asked whose first time it was. “People don’t want to see us again,” Kline joked. But the joke was a little bit more cringey than Sprague’s self-aware admission earlier. Frankie Cosmos set was fine, but admittedly maybe something I won’t go for a triple-dip in.
At 9:23 the band walked off stage. Even though an encore was obviously in order, the timeline was a bit of relief for a Monday night. The band came back on to play “Outside With The Cuties” into a “Mamma Mia” cover. The band wrapped up their set with “Is It Possible/Sleep Song” before 9:45 p.m. — a lullaby that sent the crowd into the streets to question whether to continue the night or head home for sleep.