With the music industry in such a state of constant change and unexpected surprise, it is a soul-quenching treat to see a planned show go forward on its scheduled date. Even more, it is heart-filling to be part of a larger community of music-lovers finally dancing in historic rooms again all over the country.
Andy Frasco & The U.N., a true force to be recklessly reckoned with, just kicked off their extensive fall tour with shows in Tulsa, Houston, and most recently, Friday and Saturday nights in Dallas and Austin, respectively. Hot off the tails of a Summer Camp Music Festival bender and a Bonnaroo cancellation-turned-Other Fest weekend in Tennessee, the group was clearly ecstatic to be back on the road and, specifically, in Texas for a few days in the grips of the last slice of summer.
For this go-around, Frasco brought a “cult” along to curate the atmosphere for the shows. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 logistics, the anticipated “World Saving Talent Search” originally planned for the opening slot was nixed (maybe 2022 though?). However, attendees can now catch Nicholas Gerlach’s Cult Conference opening the tour off every night for Frasco & The U.N. Nick is a saxophone-playing, podcast-producing, music-making, moderately-funny person who recently started his own cult—or so he claims, anyway.
Friday, September 10th, the band rolled into Dallas for their appearance at community staple Deep Ellum Art Company. Gerlach began the night with a fusion of interactive talk show-style trivia games with Frasco and the crowd, impressive saxophone noises over some refreshingly dope beats, and more equally as cool music and entertainment to get the people smiling and grooving properly.
Frasco & The U.N. genuinely pulled out all the stops at their Deep Ellum fiasco. The night saw incredible sit-ins by local players, including the rockin’ queen herself Ally Venable, Spoonfed Tribe’s Chad and Matt Cocuzza, the post-apocalyptic End of the World Parade, and Gerlach. The energy enthusiastically exuding from this band at all times is astonishingly palpable and the effective way Frasco, Floyd Kellogg (bass), Ernie Chang (saxophone), Andee Avila (drums), and Shawn Eckels (guitar), perform and communicate is so effortlessly entertaining that you can’t help but have the time of your life.
The Dallas fiasco saw an on-stage, steam-punk-themed pillow fight, at least 70 bras thrown onto the stage, a silly string war, a balloon drop, and of course, the typical amount of spilled Jameson, hilarious yet meaningful banter, and wildly exciting solos and musicianship from every person who stepped on the stage that night.
Due to release a recently written and recorded album at some point in the near future (not announced yet), Andy Frasco & The U.N. performed some of their new songs in Deep Ellum, including “Spill the Beans” and recently debuted “Dancin’ Around My Grave”. At one point, there were at least six horn players on stage, each of whom took two solos that created a revved-up psychedelic marching band vibe for the crowd to bite its hungry teeth into. A Frasco show is never complete without a heartfelt motivational speech, some band-member wrestling, and a ton of new show and dancing buddies.
Next up was Saturday night in Austin at Antone’s Nightclub, one of the most iconic blues venues in the country. The energy was a little sleepy to start off but that quickly changed after Gerlach did his thing and A-FUN took the stage for another highly anticipatory production. Show attendees were ready to rage and the band vigorously showcased a variety of old and new tunes alike, from the “Make It Work” opener to retro surf-rock track “Love Is A Gun” to an Earth-shattering sit-in by the Cocuzza brothers on “Talk About It” to the uplifting anthem “Keep On Keepin’ On” that ended the set.
A sure highlight of the night was the extended, nod-to-Antone’s blues jam that saw the band members run around frantically, exchange places, and rather impressively play each other’s instruments. While there were no bras or silly string in Austin, it is safe to say that every person in that room was beaming from ear to ear all night long, only wanting more after a 3-song encore to cap off the band’s first week of fall tour. Where else can you head-bang, almost cry, belly laugh, dance your tail off, receive a motivational speech, and join a cult all in a few hours? There truly is nothing like a Frasco party, so check out the rest of the dates and get your tickets today.
Check out some photos from the two-night Texas run below via photographer Andrew Sherman.