Music review and promotion in central Indiana and surrounding areas since 2013
I must have chased this band for months. Due in part, to our respective schedules preventing us from intersecting, I repeatedly missed catching them for one reason or another.
Subscribing to the “all things happen for a reason” mantra, I now have clarity as to why this intersection hadn’t yet taken place.
One of the many harder working bands in Lafayette, Frank Muffin (band’s name - not a person’s) simply weren’t meant to be seen just anywhere.
These cats belong on an stage.
Or in this case, an elevated patio - ;)
Their powerfully delivered set from Digby’s Pub and Patio this past Saturday night was well worth the wait.
With nine different instruments played amongst the four members(thank you Brittany), they impressed me immediately with technical prowess and exceptional harmony, as well as stage presence.
Not to track individual instrument skill too closely, plenty though there was, FM joins together seamlessly on covers like Queen’s Under Pressure and my favorite sing along of the evening, a very absent Styx’s - The Renegade.
David Bowie’s - Suffragette City was a favorite as well, timed however intently or not, on the heels of the anniversary of women’s voter rights.
Wham bam thank ya ma'am… - ;)
Points! For their delivery of all-German lyrics to Nena’s 99 Luftballons, I nod my beer stein.
Notable covers of the evening were:
What a better choice to draw out the rosy-cheeked patio sing-along patrons with a crowd pleaser like Come On Eileen by Dexy’s Midnight Runners!
My favorite cover of the night, The Boxer by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel - Frank Muffin style. And damn...it was downright pretty. Harmony everywhere. I dug it most especially.
Two Beatles covers and an R.E.M. tune, and you’ve got yourself a party.
I asked Hans Rees - lead vocalist, the question of all questions.
RR: How did the band name come about Hans?
“...Me, Brittany and former FM member Seth Pencek (who moved out of the area) were not yet a band, but we were working up a few acoustic songs for an open mic at the Lafayette Theater. Seth came to practice, having passed Drury Ln. on the way, with some lengthy goofball story he thought up about the Muffin man actually being from West Lafayette. He had a whole family line up...and the dad was...you guessed it, named Frank. Well we showed up at open mic to play, and the host asked what the name of our group was. I chimed in right away with 'Frank Muffin' just to make Seth and Brittany laugh. 5 years later and I guess you can say, the name stuck.”
~Digby’s Pub and Patio~
August 27th, 2016
Finding a niche for FM is akin to deciding your microwave should suddenly produce ice cream...not gonna happen. They cover so vast a range in genre that I was like a kid in a record store. They had a pleasing little something for everyone. Their repertoire landed somewhere among punk, alt-rock, new wave, and of course classic covers.
And I loved every minute of it.
Some of their covers resulted in an obligatory re-kindling of a way-back imprint I had on R.E.M. in the late 80’s; but this in NO way pigeonholed them. They were most certainly not limited to a new wavey/pre-pop, late 80’s to early 90’s sound.
FM has a unique time signature in their covers, speeding up a song only if the song can withstand it artistically; remaining true to those songs that cannot, and keeping original purity in their delivery, not only keeping original time, but adding a slow soulful honesty.
I daresay I hadn’t yet heard a banjo fit (properly anyway) into Brown Eyed Girl...if ever at all. The Van Morrison tune is a favorite of mine, and often overdone; but FM unfolded it for us with an especially rewarding outcome.
Favorite quote of the night:
"Is that a capo in your pocket, or you happy to see me?"
Second favorite quote of the night:
“There’s the whiskey, right behind you.”
Thanks for reading Lafayette and hey, slow down... and listen to some music - :)
Hans Rees, acoustic guitar, electric bass, banjo & vocals
Jerome Hemersbach, electric guitar, keyboard, ukulele & vocals
Brittany Rees, upright bass, electric bass, vocals, & flute
Dusty Manns, drums, vocals
This band had great crowd rapport, and great energy. As well, they have one of the better web presences I’ve seen for a local band since we started covering the Lafayette scene.