“I’m a sailboat, singing, swimming
On the open sea
You’re a lighthouse on the cliffs
I’d shine your light for me
I’m a redwood forest pining
For some rain to fall
You’re a thunderstorm a-raging
Clapping as you call
This life can leave you lost and lonely
I’m offering you a simple thing
I know it’s hard to wrap your broken heart around it
I’m offering you a simple thing”
– “A Simple Thing,” Freddy & Francine
I got into The Music Business™️, such as I have, because of friends. Not just the ones who needed to book gigs, but also the ones who I thought would really enjoy and have their lives brightened by great music. As a textbook introvert, what I didn’t expect was that I’d actually make new friends through these efforts, and yet when Freddy & Francine came back through town Sunday night, I realized that I was triple-motivated; I wanted everyone I cared about to hear these amazing talents, and I wanted the band to have the greatest night possible, and I also was just really dang excited to see Lee and Bianca again, because through a confluence of extra road time and compatible smartassery, we’ve come to be buddies. I consider everyone who’s played the series to be a friend and, with the full realization that I put a month-long focus on each show while we’re just one stop among many for them, I hope they all know I’ve got their backs. I mean, not in a bar fight or anything, but metaphorically for sure.
So as we gathered on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, in a space I’m about to leave after five really wonderful years (just the building, not the job), there was a little extra love in the air. And no one can grab onto a positive vibe and lasso it around a room like Freddy & Francine. Even when they’re unleashing a heartbreaker, they bring the audience through every twist and turn with comforting empathy.
One of the (many) astonishing things about seeing Lee and Bianca live is how many different forms two people and a guitar can take. Each of them is a truly wonderful singer and performer on their own, but any given song can be reshaped based on how they choose to focus their energies. Unlike many duos, you never hear one of them and wait impatiently for the other person to chime in. But when they do, boy howdy. People always comment on their chemistry, but it seems to be even stronger than that. It’s more like alchemy.
Instead of our usual (but not mandated) two sets, we were treated to one steady flow of wondrousness, going from some of Freddy & Francine’s earliest work to songs literally written in the last week. They’re clearly excited about the EP they just recorded, and it’s easy to tell why. While subtle, the changes in their songwriting over the past decade show an even keener crafts(wo/)manship and a deeper capacity to mine for truth, both lyrically and harmonically.
The show ended with one of my all-time F&F favorites, and I was literally in the stair-climber heart rate zone when it was over. I have no idea how they manage to sustain so much power that it truly takes other people’s breath away, but I’m so glad they found each other and figured it out.
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