frozen nation @ musée d’art fantastique

frozen nation @ musée d’art fantastique

Arriving at the venue I didn’t know what to expect, I was very familiar with Frozen Nation’s music.  I should be, Alteria Anarchy was the first radio show to air Frozen Nation’s first single I Failed for you and I was the first journalist ever to interview them.  I had become very good friends with Idris but this is the first time I would have met him in the flesh. The venue itself was a very artistic place, one side where the music happened and the other a very arty bar.  

The first person who I met and recognised was Moss, the frontman of Frozen Nation.  A tall handsome man who when I said Moss I’m Phill his face lit up and I was greeted with a big hug for a welcome.  Frozen Nation are one of the very few bands I have a very close affinity to, a band like only a couple more that I have seen grow and followed.  It felt like meeting someone I have known all my life but yet I was meeting in the flesh for the first time. After Moss greeted me he introduced me firstly to my great friend Idris of whom again I was met with a big hug and a smile, then to Dorian of whom I had never actually spoken to but yet he like Moss and Idris just seemed like part of my extended family.

As the night rolled on Idris, Moss and Dorian were there making sure we had a great night.  They introduced us to people and the whole air of the gig was very much a personal one, to say we were made welcome is truly the understatement.  It was a perfect night with great friends, but to my honour my great friends were also the headline band. Dorian chatted to me and told me the very intricacies of the music and told me stories of Elvis.  Me being a Jethro Tull fan I was wowed by this.

Swan Death came on and they were very Goth Rock in style, their style mixed with their visuals blended well and was a great opening act.

Perverted By Language had more an attitude, slightly punkish and again really great live.

But I was waiting, waiting to see my friends, the headline band.  The lights were dim and then the music started and so did the visuals in the background.  As the music began the crowd just started to move. I had listened to Dark Belgian Disco so many times so when I heard Genghis Khan my body also started to instinctively move, the music just put you under a spell and you just couldn’t help yourself.  Then in the background the silver spinning disco ball led to the title track of Frozen Nation’s album, Dark Belgian Disco which was played with perfection.

I personally was waiting for one song, the song that has been on my alarm since the first day I heard it.  The song people have heard so much on Alteria Anarchy, my favourite song. And as I heard the start of I Failed For You, Idris shouted “This is for you Phill”, to say this was a true honour was an understatement.  One of my favourite bands, my friends, dedicate my favourite song to me was just unbelievable. I couldn’t help myself move and then following I Failed For You was Come On To The Ride which is another song that is just so funky with such a great feeling.

As they played more yet another familiar favourite played, Give Me The Perfect Song.  I was singing and dancing, I just couldn’t stop myself and neither could the people at the gig.  Then followed Alone In Berlin, I couldn’t believe just how much perfection had been given to us. I love the sound of Frozen Nation, it’s just pure and funky.  Dark but yet the lights shinning from that disco ball just shine brightly.

The night ended and I couldn’t thank Idris, Moss and Dorian enough.  We had a long day so that’s where the night ended for me, but that’s not where this story ends.

The day after we met Frozen Nation, they took us to this amazing Belgian restaurant and treated us to lunch and beer.  We just chatted more about the music of Frozen Nation. Dorian, Idris and Moss were just so passionate about their music and from what I heard & felt from the gig it shows.  The guys spoke and Dorian said “Would you like to see our studio, would you like to meet Elvis?”, how could I refuse? After a pleasant walk through the streets of Brussels with the guys showing us the wonderful sights and telling us the stories and folklore of where we were walking we arrived at the studio.  I was in awe, all the old analogue equipment that gave Frozen Nation their unique and wonderful sound. Dorian showed me where they record and how they do it, then in a smaller noise proofed room there he was there was Elvis. Dorian told me how they use him and how he is just like a person and the stories that made him feel that way.  

We sat and chatted more, Idris and Dorian stayed in the studio to do a little work and Moss took us for a beer before we had to leave.  Big hugs from Idris and Dorian, I felt sad in a way as I was leaving two of my close friends. We left for the pub with Moss. Nice beer too, traditional Belgian beer.  Well you can’t go to Brussels without tasting the amazing beer now can you? As the time came close that we had to leave to come home Moss even walked with us to the tram station.  We bought tickets and with one last hug from my friend Moss we were on our way.

The whole experience is one I will never forget, Frozen Nation themselves and the wonderful city of Brussels.  I cannot thank my friends Idris, Moss and Dorian for an amazing weekend and for the amazing music. Thank you for letting me introduce the world to that wonderful Dark Belgian Disco sound and also for your friendship.  

Frozen Nation we will be back, thank you.


by: Phill Bruce

greg holden @ irving plaza

greg holden @ irving plaza

Acclaimed singer/songwriter Greg Holden made his return to New York City on September 23rd. Opening for Butch Walker, who produced his single, “On The Run,” Holden’s performance was like a homecoming. It’s a rare thing for an opener, especially one singularly armed with an acoustic guitar, to hush Irving Plaza from front to back, but Holden managed to wield this uncanny power with effortless ability.

When Holden first emerged from the side of the stage, the crowd’s vigorous, impassioned applause was astonishing. He strolled out with an unassuming, quiet confidence and began strumming as the audience quickly fell silent. As his 7-song set kicked off, Holden was oftentimes chatty between songs, lending an affable familiarity with a room of people whom he’d never met, treating them like valued friends. Constantly encouraging the crowd to sing and clap during parts of his songs, Holden’s set was interactive, a joint, group effort.

On “Home,” Holden issued a command for the audience to stop their feet in time to the beat. In turn, he received an eager assent as the stomps echoed throughout the venue and shook the floor. Holden’s newest track, “The Power Shift,” was prefaced by a quick lament, noting Donald Trump was currently in the city. The audience loudly booed, prompting Holden to launch into this political song, calling others to recognize the link between power and inequality, and one that was more than well-received in New York City.

“Boys In The Streets,” arguably Holden’s most moving song, showcases his lyrical prowess, one that is omnipresent throughout his work. Telling the story of a father struggling with his son’s sexuality, it’s only on his deathbed that he makes a confession: his intolerance was due to what he was taught growing up. He finally understands and encourages his son to be himself. Holden’s live performance evoked the pathos and pain of both son and father, and cheers went through the crowd as Holden reached the uplifting conclusion.

Lastly, Holden performed “Hold On Tight,” a triumphant, empowering song that bursts into a big, gleeful chorus as he sang an urgent warning: “don’t take your life for granted.”

It was an awe-inspiring set from a seasoned musician, one who will no doubt be back to New York City in the future.

darryl rahn @ rockwood music hall

darryl rahn @ rockwood music hall

Rockwood Music Hall in Manhattan’s Lower East Side was packed to the brim on September 1st. Darryl Rahn took the stage to support the release of his latest album entitled Making Strangers. Darryl’s personality and demeanor lend him a unconscious honesty, and his stage show is saturated in it. From the heartfelt opener “The Grey” it was an almost effortless captivation.

Darryl switched between playing with a full band behind him and going it alone with just an acoustic guitar. The standout from the unaccompanied portion seemed to “Reason To Run”. The crowd hung on the emotion of the lyrics and finger picked melody. It isn’t often that a palpable room-wide reaction to a performer can be spotted, especially on the Lower East Side where everyone is seemingly already over the next big thing. Darryl finds a way to connect through his songwriting its just folk enough to mean something more than a pop song, and its just pop enough to get put on a subconscious loop the following day. You can check out all the songs mentioned and keep up with Darryl’s socials via the links below.

Facebook | Twitter | InstagramWebsite

hall & oates @ sprint center

hall & oates @ sprint center

On July 20th, Hall & Oates graced the stage at Kansas City’s premiere concert venue, Sprint Center. Opening the night with a performance from Train, the duo performed some of their most exhilarating tracks from every era of music they’ve created in, and then some. In fact, Pat Monahan came out on stage after both bands had performed their entire sets to regale the audience with renditions of “Philly, Forget Me Not”, “Wait For Me”, and “Calling All Angels”. It was a show we’re not soon to forget, and we hope to catch them on their next stop through town (every time they come, until they stop performing).

quiet slang @ rough trade

quiet slang @ rough trade

Frontman James Alex of Beach Slang brought his stripped-down project, Quiet Slang, to Brooklyn’s Rough Trade on July 9th.

It was a rainy Monday evening, and the show had been rescheduled from a prior date. Given those conditions, Alex was unsure, as he relayed to the audience between songs, how many people would show up. However, those concerns proved to be unfounded as the room was filled with fans hanging on every word.

Unlike Beach Slang shows, which are loud, clamorous, and brash, Quiet Slang is another entity entirely. As heard on Everything Matters But No One Is Listening, Quiet Slang’s debut LP, Alex has taken his work with Beach Slang and reimagined it, doing away with its thrashing, thunderous elements. Instead, Alex takes a sparse, orchestral approach: cello and piano, paired with his gritty vocals, give these formerly driving punk songs space to breathe, resurrecting them with new, balladic life.

This was reflected decoratively, as well. The stage set its own scene with flowers and strings of white lights with makeshift cotton clouds hanging in the distance. The rest of the venue was pitch-black save for a projector screen playing images of ballet dancers. Moving through the set, Alex was all heart from his honest vocals and earnest speeches of appreciation, thanking his fans over and over.

Quiet or loud, Alex delivered his audience an unforgettable night.

tomi @ mercury lounge

tomi @ mercury lounge

On July 11th, TOMI rocked The Mercury Lounge.

Filing in through the front door, the immediate rush of air conditioning was a relief on such a muggy summer evening. Fans made their way first to the bar, then into the stage area, filling the room. As TOMI walked through the crowd, cheers rippled through the audience, making their way from back to front. A magnetic performer, TOMI took possession of the room from the very first note, packing an almost unprecedented power into her wide-ranging vocals. Her music provides the perfect combination of rock and pop: some songs led the audience to dance, others to head-banging. The joy and abandon in the air was just as palpable as the outside heat, and radiated off the talkative TOMI, who spent time in-between songs sharing the stories behind them. Some of these were heartbreaking; she spoke of crying in a locker room at a yoga studio after a breakup, and a former friend suffering from addiction (she doesn’t think he ever heard the song she wrote about him, but she hopes he does at some point and recognizes it). Then, of course, there were some funnier ones, such as working a day job as a secretary in which she had to smile all the time. For her very last song, she delighted the crowd by debuting a new, sparkly guitar named Pam.

It’s clear that for TOMI, the Mercury Lounge and her latest EP, What Kind of Love, is only the beginning.