featuring HUNNY and Hot Flash Heat Wave
October 5, 2018 at the Royale
The Frights somehow turned the Royale into one of the best basement shows I have seen thus far…
With a thrash of drums and a wail of electric guitar, The Frights, a San Diego native band fueled by surf rock and driven by basement grunge, took the stage of The Royale by storm while on tour with openers HUNNY and Hot Flash Heat Wave. To promote their new album Hypochondriac, the band dressed the venue to match the cover of their latest release covering the stage in lampshades and stacked suitcases perfectly highlighting the bucket hats and Converse that jumped across the stage with avid enthusiasm. Turned onto the band just a few months earlier by a San Diego native, herself, I was excited to see how an intimate basement show could be translated into the club setting of The Royale–I suppose the décor was a good start.
Kicking off their set with ‘Kids’ from You Are Going To Hate This, the crowd was sent into a mosh, the entire venue pushing forward to head bang with the band. Others from the set list included ‘CRUTCH’ and ‘Me And We And I’, both off of their new album Hypochondriac, intermixed with older hits such as ‘Crust Bucket’, my personal favorite, and ‘All I Need’, all drawing an equally enthusiastic reaction from the crowd. Slow song or headbanger, each was welcomed with furious commotion and attempted crowd surfing from the audience. Be it the friendly faces that danced across the stage or the lyrical relatability, slowly but surely the grandeur of The Royale began to shift out of focus leaving nothing but us and the music at the forefront of our minds.
Towards the end of the set, the rest of the band left the stage leaving vocalist, Mikey Carnevale, alone with his guitar some wine. After an acoustic song or two, Carnevale said to the crowd, “We used to play basements”, provoking an uproarious response as he sipped on his wine from a plastic cup. “Chug it!”, someone yelled from the audience, others chiming in. “I’m not chugging wine, I’m not chugging it. I’m not doing that”, Mikey stated before chugging at the mercy of the crowd’s chants. For a brief moment, before the rest of the band returned to the stage with a three-song encore, we were all together. We were in a basement, at a party, playing music with our friends and having a good time…it wasn’t us and them, it was just ‘us’.
As ‘Tungs’ played, the crowd danced with the two inflatable men that thrashed and thrived on opposite ends of the stages. With smiles on our faces the show ended the way it started; together.
The Frights turned the Royale into one of the best basement shows I have seen thus far, somehow turning the attention away from the gaudy silver gargoyles to focus in on the emotional intimacy that lives in smaller venues. The show epitomized what I consider to be the perfect Friday night: a little booze, a lot more dancing, and a whole lot of rock ‘n’ roll.