Its been four years since we’ve seen Frankie Lee at the tiny Social off Oxford Street and as many years between his two albums. Tonight, he’s accompanied by just a pedal steel guitarist, but it compliments his brooding songs perfectly. Its an accomplished short opening set showcasing his excellent new album ‘Stillwater’.
Now the main act. On the back of a return to form new album ‘Eraserland’, although he never really lost his form, Showalter is back in these shores with new band in tow and the welcome return of keys featuring higher up in the mix. It adds another dimension to the sound and allows for a lot more light and shade to proceedings as opposed to the riff heavy metal show the last time we saw them. That’s is not to say that the show does not have its heavy rock moments with the band finding their inner ‘Sabbath’ on an extended jam during ‘Rest of It’.
A humble man who wears his heart very much on his sleeve, the show is packed with sweaty emotion as the excellent band takes us though predominantly tracks from the masterpiece that’s ‘Heal’ along with a fair chunk of the new one. Its by turns, raw and brutal and but also surprisingly sensitive. There’s a couple of hair tingling moments with undoubtably stand out moments for me of ‘Goshen’ and ‘Shut in’. That said the new songs more than hold their own and I really see ‘Eraserland’ as a bit of a sequel certainly musically to ‘Heal’.
The intimacy and the lighting of the venue really add to the show and it really has a feel of just a bunch of mates performing great songs to another bunch of mates and it’s difficult to manufacture that.
Much love all round for a great night in what is becoming one of my favourite small venues in London even more so after the recently announced shutting of the iconic Borderline.