Published July 1, 2016 by JB
It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when
About once a year I get reminded at the insane value of non-arena live music. For the mere price of $12 (or even free if you’re wearing legit media shoes) you can capture an outstanding up and coming Brooklyn-based band (Dreamers), some true local talent (Emilie Brandt) and a pure star in the making (Zella Day). That’s three hours for twelve dollars. Four dollars per hour. That’s the same price it was in 1986. In a music world that has been turned inside-out and upside-down the past few decades with iTunes, Napster, P2P, Spotify, Pandora, record store closures, the slow death of CD’s, the revenge of vinyl and over-priced arena shows; live indie rock music at your local downtown venue has stood the test of time like no other.
There’s never been a more in-your-face example of the test of time for indie rock than at the Frequency on June 29, 2016 where Zella Day (let’s go with one-part Stevie Nicks, one-part Grace Potter and one-part Jewel) dazzled the sold out venue (tiny, but perfectly old school) with a stage presence that turned the crowd into mere puddy in her hands. In tight, skinny, boot-cut white jeans and flowing locks that went in all directions perfectly she’s lightning in a bottle right now – and brilliant at maneuvering the perfect amount of sexiness without sacrificing substance. Show highlights such as ‘Mustang Kids’, ‘Man on the Moon’ and ‘Jerome’ were stellar; nearly lifting the roof off a venue that at times, struggled to keep this much talent in just one room.
Moving between guitar and tambourine, and from the stage to down with the crowd, Day smiled, flirted, danced and dominated her way through a brisk 75 minute set showcasing her immense talents at the mere age of 22. Complete with a very fitting and true-to-form Fleetwood Mac cover (‘Rhiannon’), Day is what you hoped you would see if you could handle another season of American Idol. Fortunately for the crowd at The Frequency (who seemed to lip sync the lyrics to every Zella Day track) it was all happening right in front of them. Both tantalizing and effervescent, Day delivered one of the finest small shows I’ve ever seen.
Brooklyn’s Dreamers looked like they walked off the cover of GQ. Their catchy tracks complemented their onstage looks, which included the new, hook-filled ‘Sweet Disaster’ off their upcoming album. Oddly enough that track popped up on my Sirius XM channel the next morning providing me one more reminder (as if the other 93 weren’t enough) that I was at the right place and the right time on Wednesday night in Madison.