The Fray / OK Go
Marcus Amphitheatre Milwaukee, WI
June 30, 2007
Story and The Fray photos by Phil Bonyata Photos of OK Go by Karen Bondowski
Denver quartet The Fray will never be accused of reinventing the wheel.
The Fray are often
compared to such ballad rich bands like Coldplay, Keane and The
Wallfowers. Are they able to show
a true identity or are they just a faceless act among the many?
Playing in front of a two-thirds filled Marcus Amphitheatre on the
third day of Summerfest (the world's largest
music event) The Fray played the radio friendly "Over My head (Cable
Car)." Pianist and lead singer Isaac Slade,
looking comfortable in blue jeans, untucked flannel shirt and grey
baseball cap, hit the high notes of the chorus with
a rough-edged throatiness. While not an overly gifted singer, he was
still able to command his limited vocal range with dirty gusto.
While The Fray's simple ballads find a nice home in the ears - the
bands' live performance is somewhat of a disappointment to the eyes.
A performance of intimate and truly original music is a beauty to
behold because the flair and discovery lies in the the veiled nuances
tonal, vocal and melodic shadows. The Frays' music is guilty of none
of these things. It's straight-forward simple melodies that lack real
depth and structure.
Guitarist and fellow songwriter Joe King, whose linear voice was a
sturdy anchor to Slade's nasally delivery, tried on occasion to
pick-up the musical introspection
on the lyrically candid "Fall Away." The professional blandness
continued on with the emo tinged "Dead Wrong."
Ultimately, The Frays' music goes down easy and then evaporates after
the first satisfying burp.
Openers, Chicago popsters OK Go's infectious blend of power pop and
genuine love of the stage were evident on the dancerock nuggets "Get
Over It," "Invincible" and
on the ever catchy "Here It Goes Again." Question is - will OK Go's
mid - level pop ever get them off the opening slot and finally become a
headliner one day?