Brings Plenty: Watching a band you like become popular

Watching a band go from a small, underground band to a bigger, more mainstream band is exciting and interesting.


Maleaha Brings Plenty , Opinions Columnist

I discovered the band the Frights while browsing Spotify in early 2017. I was intrigued by its name and the small description it had in the “About” section on the bottom of the group’s Spotify page. The band was described as “surfer punk,” and the members admitted the group started out as a joke, but then the musicians got a record deal and started taking their music more seriously. This was hilarious but also sparked curiosity in me. The self-titled first album sounded very genuine, as if it had been made in someone’s garage. This level of sincerity is still felt throughout all of the group’s music. The newfound fame the band members have experienced in recent months hasn’t touched the core values of sincerity and vulnerability.

The Frights’ second album, You Are Going To Hate This, sounded more refined. It sounded like something created by people who truly take their art and their music more seriously. That’s not to say that they weren’t taking their first album seriously, simply that they did start out as a joke after all. Their lyrics were full of teenage and young-adult angst about how life is scary, relationships are weird and complicated and that being between the ages of 16 and 23 is the weirdest time of anyone’s life. The songs “Kids” and “You Are Going To Hate This” are prime examples of these themes.

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The band just released its new album, Hypochondriac, in September 2018. This album mainly focuses on mental health and the depression from which the lead singer, Mikey Carnevale, suffers. This album is very raw lyrically and offers very vulnerable depictions of the ugly, often overlooked sides of depression and mental illness. This is a change in tone from the group’s first album, though I do think its second album was a great transition between the just-out-of-high-school garage punk into a more refined alternative-rock sound. I think it was this sincerity, vulnerability, and musicianship that has made it become more popular and start to enter the mainstream. Those qualities are also what have kept older fans listening, as the style of music might have evolved and changed, but the band itself hasn’t. It has remained composed of the same dorky people they’ve been since 2013, when they started.

Back in May 2018, I saw the Frights at the Shaky Knees Music Festival in Atlanta. The crowd was small, and it definitely was not a headliner band. The show was energetic and the band members, interacted with the crowd as if we were at a house show. I could tell they truly loved performing and that they enjoyed every second of this concert. Most importantly, you could tell that they loved the fans. They spoke to the audience as if they were speaking to each fan individually. This level of true passion is rare, but the Frights has it in spades. There have been few concerts that have left me with my ears ringing and my voice completely gone, but that was one of them.

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And just last week, the Frights performed at Coachella, one of the biggest music festivals in the world. Seeing the band go from performing at relatively small music festivals and having maybe 8,000 Spotify listeners to performing at Coachella and having 362,000 listeners has been an amazing experience as a fan. I’ve loved watching its style and sound evolve through the years, and I love knowing that the guys are still the genuine, angsty dorks that I fell in love with back in 2017.

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