Frankie Cosmos & Friends Flip Frowns

Greta Kline and bandmates joined forces with Good Morning and Denton natives Steven Leftovers to raise spirits high.

When entering Sons of Hermann Hall on a temperate September evening, I did not expect to be as charmed as I was by the raw personality and humor of the night’s acts. Over the course of three jovial performances, musicians frequently shouted each other out and laughed along with the audience and amongst themselves. 

The night began with Denton natives Steven Leftovers, which UTD Student Media advisor Jonathan Stewart made a point to inform me were Radio UTD alums. The spirit of passionate DIY artistry palpable at Radio UTD certainly lived on in the band, who were gracious musical hosts to the audience. 

Denton rockers Steven Leftovers bringing heart to the stage. Evan Stack (he/him), Matthew DeVoll (they/them), Jonathan Kim (he/him), Bryce Cantrell (he/him), Laura Hormell (her/hers)

Well-stocked with an array of gorgeous instruments, the band powered through both upbeat and more relaxed songs, with the audience endlessly supportive of the local act. Lead vocalist Evan Stack and bassist Laura Hormell frequently switched instruments between songs, fulfilling different parts over the course of the band’s performance and impressing me and my concert partner Alina. Guitarists Jonathan Kim and Bryce Cantrell provided a melodic throughline, with Bryce filling the aural space with strange and beautiful chords while Jonathan frequently ripped solos on his bright red guitar.

Daredevil Matthew DeVoll taunting the audience with their signature blindfolded drumming.

Steven Leftovers’ surprises didn’t stop there. Laura delighted the crowd when she passed off her bass and pulled out a cherry red lap steel, making everyone swoon with the instrument’s crooning twang. After a circus leader-like announcement from Evan, Matthew donned a blindfold and flawlessly executed their fast-paced drumming (almost as cool as if they had drummed through a ring of fire). Between every couple of songs, the band members made sure to keep the crowd hyped for the upcoming acts. 

Steven Leftovers’ mascot Kermit the Frog doing his part on stage.

At the end of their set, the band hoisted their mascot Kermit the Frog into the air, with Evan doing a striking impression of the funny green fellow. If they weren’t before, the crowd was now in good spirits and warmed up for some more great music. Following Steven Leftovers was the duo I was most excited to see, Good Morning out of Melbourne, Australia. I’ve been a frequent listener since high school, so I was interested to see how their lofi indie magic would translate live – and I was not disappointed. 

As a smaller venue, Sons of Hermann Hall had no backstage to speak of; during setup for their portion of the show, the duo politely cut through the crowd to the stage, with Liam passing me by with a quick “excuse me!” as he hauled instrument cases. Once they were finally good to go, their placement on stage was very reminiscent of the cover photo for their single “On The Street / You” – an image of the two friends relaxing on a porch.

Collaborators and besties Liam Parsons and Stefan Blair of Good Morning.

After the briefest introduction, Good Morning began to play, and the source of their magic was immediately apparent. It’s not their lofi recording style or their understated visual language that gives their work so much sticking power (although it certainly helps) – the two are masters of crafting short and sweet tunes that warm your heart and subvert your expectations. 

They played more recent releases before transitioning to fan favorites like “Warned You” and “Don’t Come Home Today,” eliciting cheers from the crowd who immediately began to sing along. The wistful and nostalgic sound of their music contradicted pleasantly with their on-stage demeanor, with the friends regularly looking to each other with encouragement during songs and laughing at unheard jokes between them. It didn’t feel like they were performing for the audience – more like they were hanging out and jamming, and we just happened to be there to witness it. The fact that they relayed their gorgeous tunes while making it seem like a regular afternoon for them added to the beauty.

After loads of heart-tugging tunes and a quick goodbye from Good Morning, it was time for main act Frankie Cosmos (originally the stage name of frontwoman Greta Kline, now the moniker of the whole 4-piece band). They got right to it, playing tunes from their most recent album Inner World Peace such as “Aftershook” as well as older favorites like “Fool.”

Multi-instrumentalist Lauren Martin and drummer Luke Pyenson of Frankie Cosmos.

The energy in the crowd was high as they played; between songs Greta introduced her bandmates Lauren Martin (keyboards), Luke Pyenson (drums), and Alex Bailey (bass), as well as the band’s tour manager and merch person. She shouted out Good Morning and Steven Leftovers as well, bringing back cheers from the supportive crowd. 

At one point, the relaxed vibe prompted Greta to tell the audience that she really had to pee – the band went through a couple more songs before she asked if she could pause the show for a bit to run to the restroom. The crowd roared an enthusiastic “yes,” not wanting the performer to continue playing at the expense of her comfort. During the unexpected intermission, Lauren cracked a few dry jokes with Luke dutifully providing a rimshot after each one, keeping the crowd entertained. When Greta returned amidst cheers, she thanked the audience profusely for their patience and for being “so chill.” 

Later on in the performance, another surprise materialized when Greta called the members of Good Morning up on stage to help them perform a song. Liam and Stefan timidly made their way up, but once on stage it was smiles all around as each member of Frankie Cosmos and the guest duo all performed their rendition of the same vocal phrase.

Frankie Cosmos inviting Good Morning to party it up on stage.

Then it was over. The small venue cleared out quickly, with people walking down the antique staircase of the hall out onto the street. Beneath streetlights, the post-concert atmosphere was uplifting as Alina and I walked back to our car. Then, I caught a glimpse of two figures chatting and laughing on the fire escape – could it be? We called out their names, and behold, it was Liam and Stefan of Good Morning! We thanked them for a gorgeous show and for making it all the way out to Dallas before I asked for a quick pic. The resulting image, at least to me, perfectly sums up the warm feelings of friendship that the evening wholeheartedly inspired.

An unexpected cheers from the charming Australian buddies.