By Susanna Kemp
Photos by Christian Wade
23 Sep, 2019
On Monday night at Thalia Hall, Greta Kline rocked back and forth gently with her pastel pink guitar, backed by the rest of Frankie Cosmos and a head-bopping crowd.
Frankie Cosmos played songs from their album Close It Quietly, released earlier this month, interspersed with older favorites like “Fool” and “Outside with the Cuties.” The songs on Close it Quietly mimic much of Kline’s previous work in structure; they are meditations on love and uncertainties wrapped into one- to two-minute packages that often end abruptly. Each song is a feeling or situation Kline wants to share but doesn’t seem to want to dwell on. This left me satisfied at the end of some songs but wanting more at the end of many that didn’t feel fully explored, as they ended as soon as I was starting to get into them.
The concert was sprinkled with little surprises that kept it going: Chicago-based Lala Lala made a two-line appearance during “Being Alive,” and Kline donned a blue wig for “So Blue” after telling a story about someone approaching her at a bowling alley to say her hair looked like a boy. “I think it” — Kline said of the wig, shaking the blue strands out of her eyes — “looks like a girl.”
When an audience member yelled “I like your romper!” Kline replied that she’d bought the sleeveless white romper the same day, down the street. The simplicity of Kline’s outfit matched her music and her performance — seemingly straightforward and easy to sway rhythmically to without much thought, but rich with emotion when given a closer listen. Her short hair and bangs, along with her habit of saying things like “yay” when speaking to the audience in between songs, gave her a youthful quality.
But Kline’s music is genuine, and the way she kept her eyes clenched tightly shut throughout much of her performance sent the message that her songs perhaps held more depth than you might expect. Kline’s soft voice makes the few expletives she includes in her songs land with more weight and lets her more serious topics (think lines like: “Not violent enough to self-destruct / But I wanna stop being in this life” in “Self-destruct”) carry that much more weight.
I didn’t go home from Frankie Cosmos’ short and sweet performance feeling the energized “concert high” I often do. However, I felt a little more at ease and a little more at peace with my worries and maybes.