Preview by Giliann Karon
The very first Frantic City Festival kicks off this Saturday, September 24 in Atlantic City, NJ with a vibrant lineup of 12 indie rock acts, all hosted by Fred Armisen. Complete with local vendors and food trucks, it’s a Portlandia viewer's dream. Here’s a run-down who I’m most excited to see at the festival:
CAR SEAT HEADREST
Whoever planned this festival knows their audience! I’m really preaching to the choir here, but I’m stoked about seeing one of my favorite bands yet again. Their most recent album, Making a Door Less Open, addresses indie rock stardom through innovative synths and self-aware electronic quirks, a sharp diversion from their traditional anxious and guitar-heavy sound. But I’m a Teens of Denial lover through and through. Any track from that album played live instantly transforms into a thrashing singalong, so I’m eager to watch Will Toledo and co. rile the crowd for a fifth time.
Lindsey Jordan secured a spot in everyone’s Spotify playlists after her 2018 breakout Lush. 2021’s Valentine is equally eloquent, intimate, and gutting. It’s clear she’s been hardened by years of touring and a brief stint in inpatient, but that hasn’t kept her vulnerabilities from surfacing. She explores the full spectrum of romance, from the dizzying first kiss to the crushing blow of seeing an ex with someone new, and every step as she works to find herself again.
Truth be told, I haven’t listened to much Protomartyr beyond their 2020 record Ultimate Success Today, but I suppose it’s never too late to start. Even the most casual listeners can draw parallels to other post-punk bands like Shame and Parquet Courts. Their noisy concoction of churning baselines over left-wing lyrics will make even the shiest concertgoer nod and sway.
A legacy performer on Saturday Night Live, everything Fred Armisen touches turns to gold. Once he left SNL, his work on Portlandia with Sleater-Kinney bassist Carrie Brownstein perfectly filled that niche. His unique style of deadpan comedy leans heavily on popular culture and alternative rock, a perfect fit for this festival. I’m not sure what tricks he has up his sleeve, but honestly, I’m just excited to see him in the flesh.