Once a band has released a live album it usually means the record label is so confident in their live performance that they want to share the experience with millions of fans. The Fray’s live album was released in 2006. Since then the only thing Isaac Slade and company have done is hone their craft. The very successful group head lined the Fox Theatre in Oakland to a near capacity crowd.
Scars on 45 opened the show and gave the audience a solid 35 minute set that was surprisingly refreshing. This isn’t a wanna be headliner. This band is completely unique and has a sound that is all their own. They flew through their time with catchy rock songs and relatable lyrics. After the set, lead singer Danny Bemrose could be found at the bar, hanging out with fans and watching The Fray. A down to earth quintet, a live set worth seeing, and a solid EP that’s out now, all added up to a fairly new band that deserves to be watched closely.
Isaac Slade is not shy. The front man couldn’t stay away from his fans. He leapt off the stage mid way through the second song and did his best to belt out the lyrics in time with the melody. Although The Fray found a home on radio stations that bill themselves “soft rock” that image doesn’t match the live show. “How To Save A Life,” had a new energy, as did the majority of songs performed that night. It took on a heavier feel, one that worked well in such a large venue.
The Fray’s new album “Scars and Stories,” has been receiving critical acclaim. Something the band has become accustomed to. Much of the live set was devoted to new tunes and a few recognizable singles from the new offering. The fans reaction wasn’t mixed. Everything was met with screams from the mostly female audience.
Although The Fray has been tagged a first date band they owned the stage and delivered a strong rock performance. There were a large number of couples on hand and a few men without female counterparts expecting a lot less couples. The Fray deserves a larger following though. They may have won over a few of the skeptics in the audience. The one’s that were dragged there by girlfriends were purchasing albums on the way out.
Most artists that want to get a little closer to their fans do just that. They get a little closer. They stay safely behind the barricade, take a few photos and jump back on stage. Slade ended up in the middle of the general admission floor. The spotlight operator lost sight of him quickly and he was lost amidst his fans, all of them sharing vocal duties along with him. It’s not many shows when the front man spends more time on the floor of the venue than the stage. But The Fray’s set was all about the fans.