Photo by Justin Ng – check out some of his other shots on the night.
It was the combination of two emerging forces in electronic pop coming together for one night only on April Fools Day 2009 as Frankmusik and special guest Starsmith took over Dingwalls in Camden Town to celebrate Frankmusik's stellar debut single "Better Off As Two".
From the moment I heard about this event, I knew I had to be there. There is no denying that Frankmusik is carving his way into pop music history at the moment with his attention-grabbing electronic pop sound and an almost "larger than life" persona that ebbs and throbs from this seemingly normal guy. Slightly before Starsmith's opening set, it was completely refreshing and adorable to see Vincent waddle in through the crowd with his gear in tow and his head down in a bee-line to the backstage area. He could have been anyone really, but there he was, Frankmusik making his completely understated grand entrance. I've been around pop-stars around this time in their career and none of them would ever make their way into a sell-out venue like that – but Vincent Frank does. It just goes to show you that he's real and not caught up in the delusion of being "the next huge thing" - he just moved up 10 gazillion points in my book for that.
Starsmith (aka Fin Dow-Smith) opened the show and I have to say that I was ecstatic that he was chosen to do so. Fin has got an insane grasp on how electronic pop should be portrayed in the current landscape of music. Everything this endearing hipster touches just seems to become magical and there is no denying that Starsmith is completely on the up-and-up in the music world.
I was a little surprised by Starsmith's set to be honest. I was expecting him to be the lead vocalist/synth guy, but he wasn't, and that was nice to see. Fin's band-mates Seye Adelekan was on lead vocals and Charlie Morton on synths / guitar. The Starsmith trio delivered an exciting and relevant electronic set that included a rather bouncy pop diddy called "Rainmain" (seriously hot guys – a weapon of pop destruction that Starsmith is hiding) as well as a track I have been championing for sometime now, the rather ace "Love In Two" – which saw many of the audience members merrily singing along to. A good cover song was inevitable and Fin took the microphone for a gorgeous vo-coded electronic version of Kings Of Leon smash "Sex On Fire" which went down a storm. Expect more great things from this young man. Not only am I massive fan, but Imogen Heap is as well – she was there to support Starsmith on one of his debut performances. I heard the two even shared a kebab after-wards.
Starsmith and Imogen Heap electro-pop out during Frankmusik's set
Enter a beatboxing Frankmusik. Yes, the man even beat-boxes. If you told me he could perform open-heart surgery whilst playing the piano, I probably would believe you too. Sporting a fun top that looked like a poncho made out of a Twister mat, Vince exploded on stage with opening track "Time Will Tell" which has Vince poo-hooing how he lost his girl. Poor Vince. One of the highlights of the very short 9 song set was new track "Gotta Boyfriend" which is delightfully punchy. I can't wait to hear the HQ version of this – it has an 80's sensibility to it that you will fall in love with no doubt. At this point in the set one of the fans asked Vince for the set-list in which he exclaimed right back "I don't need a set-list – I wrote these songs". Cocky? A little, but totally true. You could almost see the adrenaline coursing through his veins on stage – Vincent Frank was on-point and in his element in a live environment. Although Dingwalls is rather small in comparison, you can totally picture how impressive he will be when he opens for Pet Shop Boys in June at The O2. All you Pet Heads will fall in love with him.
"Confusion Girl" was a track that I hadn't heard before and it sounded absolutely amazing. Again, a cover is totally inevitable and the crowd went bonkers when Vince intertwined Rhianna's "Please Don't Stop The Music" in the song "In Step". So Vince is a Rhianna fan? Who would have thunk it? The mood quickly accelerated from total blast to sheer mania when the single-that-wasn't-a-single "3 Little Words" erupted on stage. Mini-Franks (thanks for noticing too Michael) spazztastically started some strange indie-boy dance routines that were probably more entertaining to watch than Vince was at this particular moment. Taio Cruz was even in stitches watching the mini-Franks spazz and bop around on the floor in their top-buttoned-up shirts and cardigans. A sight if ever I've seen one set to the music of Vincent Frank. Be careful Vince, you seem to have quite the impression on young impressionable indie boys. It wouldn't surprise me if they were hanging out near your dressing room after-wards…
Photo by Justin Ng
Before launching into the new single "Better Off As Two" Vince delivered "Done Done" which I can't wait to hear again – maybe an album track? All in all, the whole evening was just pure fun, unpretentious and completely mad. Frankmusik is going where no electronic pop crooner has. You don't see this type of manic energy at a Sam Sparro show. You don't see it at a Calvin Harris show. Frankmusik has got it, with an arsenal of hit singles waiting to be unleashed. It's wise that he's even holding back a bit in these early days. The mystery is what makes him so much more interesting and viable. I'd love to rummage through his Mac to see what musical treasures are hiding there.
YouTube Video: "In Step" Live with Rhianna's "Don't Stop The Music"
As an encore Vince gave us the "Black Gardenia Version" of "3 Little Words" which he explained was a treat for all us who had bought the EP "back in the day". And with that the show was over. 9 songs in total. Hundreds of new fans and hardcore Frankmusik fans left Dingwalls and got the tube home. I'm personally happy to have witnessed this early show on the Frankmusik express train to stardom. It's one that will be remembered. I just hope that Vince stays who he is. He's a great bloke and has always had something unique and quirky about him that makes him real, relevant and truly an artist to be reckoned with – yet totally and undoubtedly one-of-a-kind.