I’ve spent the last two years, since I discovered Frontier Ruckus’ astounding record Deadmalls & Nightfalls, trying to figure out what, for me, and for so many other people, makes them stand out. Partially it’s Matthew Milia’s voice, which doesn’t sound like it should come from him; it’s haunting and eerie and grounded all at once, and if you showed me a photo of Matthew and said he sang like that, if I hadn’t seen it, I wouldn’t believe it. Partially it’s the tightness of the band, the way they work together to arrange and create, and genuinely like each other and enjoy themselves on stage. Partially it’s Milia’s lyrics, which are so dense they could protect a sleeping beauty, but at the same time are open enough that anyone can feel something moving in their songs. And partially, I think, it’s just magic, the kind of magic that happens when a great band gets the right breaks.
They were magic last night, on a rainy night in Chapel Hill, and I hope they always are.
Magnolia Collective opened, and in the time since I’ve last seen them, they’ve gotten tighter and more excellent, something it’s hard to do with a band that was already tight and excellent. I love that my friends make great things.
Full set is here.