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Words and Photos: Frogpond / The Creepy Jingles at recordBar

Frogpond at recordBar. Photo by Aaron Rhodes.
Date: November 27, 2021

recordBar - Kansas City, MO

Frogpond's first public show since reforming felt like a big class reunion for a school I didn't attend (or maybe one I did attend, but for an older class that I knew few people in). Spirits were high. COVID transmission was relatively low, folks were back in town for the Thanksgiving weekend, and one of Kansas City's favorite bands of the 1990's was finally ready for a gig.

I thought I was mistaken for a moment or two, but there were several attendees in the packed crowd already singing along to songs from the band's new album TimeThief. The compositions on the album are just as strong as some of the material from the band's heyday, but what I found lacking on TimeThief, a certain element of grit I can't fully put my finger on, was made up for in concert. It may have been just the sheer volume I was witnessing the band at.

Despite some distress over a bass pedal during a few early songs, Frogpond's set was as sharp as I'd hoped. In addition to tracks from the new record, the band treated longtime fans (most of the room I would assume) to songs from its first two studio albums Count To Ten and Safe Ride Home. The back-to-back combo of "Talk To Me" and "Losers" was a blast of '90s alt-rock fuzz that made me feel like a confused but excited teenage version of myself had just stepped out of a time machine. If "Be" sounded this kickass in 2021, I'm jealous of any fans who got to hear it live two decades ago.

The Creepy Jingles were given the weighty task of opening this show. The first 15 or 20 minutes of the set were rather dull. The band's vintage psych rock and British R&B inspiration was applied neatly to its indie rock base, but most of the songwriting thus far has proven lackluster. It wasn't until the keyboard on stage began to be utilized mid-set that any numbers stuck with me for more than a moment (this is a piece of constructive criticism). All things considered, the band was tighter and its stage presence more confident than when I first saw them on the same stage back in February 2019.

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