After standing in line hearing people scream with excitement, I knew the Fray had made their mark in Canada. Not only was this a sold out show, but the people that anticipated it, an all ages crowd, was composed of good friends that looked ready to mouth the lyrics and actually have fun dancing to their favourite songs.
Normally the opener is a local band or someone the crowd just passes over, but The Feeling came on, and you'd think it was the headliner by the way they performed and the crowd reacted, I had never heard of them before but was left glowing from their talented instrumentation, energized by their harmonious Delays-like vocals, and wanting their album to show friends. They brought catchy pop hooks and a Brit rock edge with their snazzy vests and the lead singer kept hitting a symbol with his foot, his signature symbol kick, if you will. Definitely a great UK band for the young ladies, enough to make them swoon and their boyfriend's eyes roll because of the sweet lyrics, but not so sweet you get sick of it. Definitely a band to watch out for on tour this side of the pond.
The Fray entered to deafening roars from the crowd and people got their cell camera's posed for a night of Fray action. They even brought a baby grand out for Isaac Slade to tickle. Joe King is also really great at the vocal tone and range, when he and Slade harmonized it sounded almost like Turin Brakes sharp cutting twang, with a John Mayer twist and slide guitar, very nice stuff. Not only was it great to see the piano being put to good use on a stage again, but Slade sounds classically trained, he's an amazing player, it was like he was incorporating the brilliant piano playing of Mozart into pop/rock songs.
One rather unique element to the evening was that the band had a friend they brought along who was celebrating a birthday, his name was Steve. First he came out in only boxers and played a bit of back up guitar with the band, then later on he came out and sat on the piano as we all sang him happy 21st birthday. The stage crew even brought him out a chocolate cake and some beer in a champagne flute, it was cute. So as the band did its track "Over my Head (Cable Car)", Steve was seen chomping away on cake, feeding it to the band members and drinking some of his first beer, the vibe was more celebratory than "lets get him wasted" so the bit was done well, that drinking responsibly can be done among friends. At the end Steve crowd surfed and waved goodbye to us all, very hilarious seeing his lack of inhibition, it was like he was in his living room just chilling out.
The lighting was perfect, both bands were stellar, and despite the lack of a proper air circulation system at Kool Haus, the night was amazing. The Fray ended with "How to Save A Life" and from watching both bands together I would say both can hold their own show, but seeing them together made it that much more entertaining of an evening.
Writer: Lindsay Whitfield