Nashville Indie Pop darlings Frances Cone made a stop at the Ralston Arena Side Room lounge Saturday night and gave a mesmerizing performance.
Frances Cone is Christina Cone (lead vocals and keys), Andrew Doherty (lead guitar), Josh Benus (rythm guitar), and Aaron Hamel (drums). Their stop in Omaha was part of a small summer run of shows, but the band has several dates coming up this fall with Tall Heights and Old Sea Brigade.
I got to the show pretty early and spoke to a few people in the crowd before Frances Cone took the stage. One couple in particular, Tyler and Tiffany really struck a chord with me. I asked if they had seen Frances Cone before. Tyler said he hadn’t seen them yet but was super excited though. I asked how he heard of the band and he said he saw them on NPR’s Tiny Desk series and went down the rabbit hole from there. I told him I too had seen the Tiny Desk series and was really impressed. Tyler said he and his family moved from the Lawrence, KS area about a year ago and so far, they were really impressed with Omaha, especially the local music scene. Tyler mentioned going to the Sydney, Slowdown, and O’Leavers all within the last few months to check out some local bands and a few national acts. I told him I could relate. The Omaha music scene definitely keeps me busy!
Shortly after my chat with Tyler Frances Cone took the stage. The band kicked off the set with a pair of singles “Unraveling” and “Arizona”. As Christina’s soulful voice filled the room, I could tell we had an amazing night of music ahead of us. Christina and crew brought the house down with their soulful quiet jams. Everyone in the room was glued to the stage as the ethereal sounds washed over us.
Playing for a little more than hour, Frances had a varied set of old and new songs, even throwing in covers from The Black Keys and Neil Young! All of the members played several instruments switching from guitar, bass, and keys. On a talent and entertainment level it was very impressive. One of the things that really stood out to me were the incendiary vocal harmonies. Nearly every song featured all four members on vocals. They meshed together so smoothly and created something really special.
Many of the songs would start slow with a simple bass line and keyboard pattern, but by the end the drums were crashing and the vocals were soaring taking you to a whole new plateau of listening pleasure.
Frances Cone is heading out on tour this fall and will make a few stops within driving distance of Omaha. I suggest you take a look and plan a road trip! These guys were really good. I expect to see their new album hitting many top critic lists next year.
As if the show wasn’t a treat in itself, I had the chance to sit down with lead singer Christina after show to talk about moving to Nashville, her early influences, and making a new record.
Stories From The Crowd: Thanks for taking the time to talk with me Christina I really appreciate it.
Christina: You’re welcome. Thanks for coming out tonight.
Stories: For sure. I had an awesome time watching your band!
Christina: Thanks! It was a lot of fun playing our first Omaha show.
Stories: So you recently moved from New York to Nashville, can you tell me more about that?
Christina: Yes, we were living in New York for a few years and we realized that we were spending thousands of dollars a month on rent, but we were always on tour and rarely home to enjoy it. So we moved to Nashville to help save on costs, but it’s also nice because it’s centrally located. So now when we tour we start closer to the middle and work our way out. It also helps that Nashville is a really great city for music.
Stories: So you guys have a new record coming next year, where are you guys at in the writing process?
Christina: The record is actually completely written and recorded. We just signed with the label 30 Tigers to release the album early next year. A lot of labels we looked at were basically a large loan to make the record and that’s something we didn’t want to get into. 30 Tigers is wonderful and very artist friendly so we’re looking forward to releasing the album with them.
Stories: Great! So looking back, do you remember the first record you ever bought?
Christina: I grew up in a very conservative christian home so most of the records I listened to were christian bands, but one non-christian record that sticks out in my mind is Patty Griffin “Living with Ghosts”.
Stories: I’m so uncool! The name sounds familiar, but I don’t think I’ve heard that record. I’ll have to go back and check it out.
Christina: I think you’ll like it.
Stories: So what was the first show you ever went to? Was there a particular part of a live performance that made you think “I want to do that for a career”?
Christina: Again, being from a christian home I went to a lot of christian band shows. The biggest non-christian concert I went to growing up was probably Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. However, there’s a band from Charleston “Shovels and Rope” and they played on the day I graduated college. After seeing that band I was like
“This is my new church”.
Stories: That’s amazing. Has your family been supportive of your career musical career path so far?
Christina: Yes, I grew up in a very musical family. My dad sang opera and my mom was his accompanist. My grandma studied music at Juilliard in the 30s. My parents are dreamers, so they’re fully behind me doing something I love over making a lot of money. My brother makes movies, also a really tough career path financially and they’re very supportive of both of our careers.
Stories: Yea I can imagine it’s really tough financially, but I’m sure the thought of knowing you’re doing something you love is so rewarding.
Christina: It can be a really tough road, but I do think it’s worth it.
Stories: Well thanks again for taking the time to chat. Before we wrap, any recommendations for the best records of the year so far?
Christina: I really like Rayland Baxter’s new album that just came out a few days ago and Pheobe Bridger’s new album.
Stories: Wow, again, you’re taking me to school! Thanks for giving me lots of new stuff to check out. I’ll give these a spin and we can discuss the next time I see one of your shows.
Christina: Thanks again for coming out tonight, we loved playing in Omaha!
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