Sound on Sound Review: The Frights

Eighties party jam

Angst and sarcasm mushroomed into a three-part pop/punk opera Saturday night at a well-populated Cheer Up Charlies courtesy of Cali trio the Frights, Bostonians Vundabar, and Aussie duo Hockey Dad.

Welcome to … Fright night! The Frights, 11.12.17 (Photo by Jana Birchum)

Vundabar began the theatrics under the venue’s stormy canopy, the threepiece’s gravely clucks and moody rock (“Voodoo,” “Oulala”) complementing Hockey Dad’s sunnier rendition of the genre (“I Need a Woman”). Both groups headbanged and induced air punches gearing up an eager crowd for the Frights’ havoc.

The surf rock trio of Marc Finn on drums, Mikey Carnevale on guitar and vocals, and Richard Dotson on bass added a touring multi-instrumentalist and took the stage to the strains of Gary Wright’s Seventies radio meme “Dream Weaver.” The frontman readied the crowd with a melancholic rendition “Kids,” but that proved the totality of warming up. The mosh then kicked off with an original from last year’s You Are Going to Hate This.

The hourlong performance never abated, the Frights’ continuous wave of doo-wop and drum only escalating as pit devotees threw themselves onto each other. The set list ranged from new material, including “All I Need,” “Afraid of the Dark,” and “Tungs,” to older selections like “Crust Bucket” and “Cold,” all conducive to rock grit and pop-punk nostalgia. An interim medley of Smash Mouth, Rascal Flatts, My Chemical Romance, Fresh Prince, and Journey garnered equal thrill.

“We don’t deserve this,” humbled Carnevale as he reappeared solo for the first song of the encore, an acoustic ballad for his ex-girlfriend. “It’s awesome.”

As the rest of the band reappeared for the final song, Yelle’s dance party next door at Mohawk began to bleed over.

“Can you please be louder than this other crowd?,” pleaded Carnevale.

Austinites willingly obliged as the band thrust into a cover of the Beastie Boys’ “Fight for Your Right,” the Eighties party jam transforming to fit the Frights’ Southern California aesthetic.

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The Frights, Sound on Sound Fest 2017, Marc Finn, Mikey Carnevale, Richard Dotson, Gary Wright, Vundabar, Hockey Dad, Beastie Boys, Smash Mouth, Rascal Flatts, My Chemical Romance, Fresh Prince, Journey

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