Sometimes you have to take one for the team. Or, in this case, the other half. It was her who enjoyed their sickly chart-romper How To Save A Life, and therefore, consequently, it was her who begged me to get on the guestlist for this dreary spectacle. Even she got bored of their inherent listlessness and we left soon after their Robin Hood panto. Yep, you read that right. It was Halloween. And this was a horror show…
Date: October 31, 2007
Venue: Rock City
The Fray have been compared to The Feeling for the way they warmly hug the mainstream. But the comparison is not as lucid on the live stage. In fact The Fray’s sorrowful mourn-rock is a vacuous downer to The Feeling’s upper; a yin to their yang perhaps, or the antithesis of smiley pop-rock. And it’s largely down to Isaac Slade’s monotone vocals.
While it’s true that the ubiquitous How To Save A Life is an unapologetic and solid pop record – and the sole reason most of the sell-out crowd are even here tonight – the vast majority of their set is uninspiring, slithering between the usual mix of listless slow numbers and just the odd flicker of pretty piano tinkling.
When they crank the volume up, it works, but too many songs are held back by that voice, and as a result each song melds into the other to create a chain of stagnant dross.
It’s a shame because they can have fun: a Robin Hood-inspired pop-rock pantomime neatly segues into last song Over My Head’s piano theatrics and shuddering bass, but the costumes can’t quite mask a vapid performance.