Live Review: Frankel at the Redwood Bar

The elusive Mr. Frankel
The elusive Mr. Frankel
Sandra Vahtel

Last night something magical happened at the Redwood bar. It was almost as satisfying as finding a double rainbow or riding a unicorn and just as rare.

Frankel actually played a set.

This doesn't sound like much, but Frankel (aka, Michael Orendy) doesn't play shows. He doesn't tour either and he doesn't give interviews. Which usually wouldn't matter all that much, but last year Orendy put out a stunning sophomore album, Anonymity Is The New Fame, which had fans and critics alike frothing at the mouth, clamoring for him to play a gig. But did he? No.

Not, that is, until last night.

In the warm dark cavern of the Redwood bar, among the booths dressed up in nautical memorabilia, is a tiny stage covered in fishing nets where a man stood in a black, button-down shirt. "What's that line that Mark Twain said?" Frankel asked the crowd, "Oh yes, 'The details of my death have been greatly exaggerated.' I'm still here."

Armed with a single guitar and two microphones, Frankel looked completely comfortable up there on stage. He opened the set with "Comfortable" and "Anonymity is the New Fame" two songs from the first record, but for the most part Frankel wanted to try out the new material that he has been working on. I'm pleased to report that the new songs live up to the first album.

In a clear, strong voice, Orendy spins intricate tales of human uncertainty and doubt over beautiful melodies. They are the kind of songs that are best listened to in a field looking up at the stars or on your bedroom floor with your headphones cranked all the way up. Or, as we were so fortunate to experience last night, in the shared camaraderie of a dozen onlookers each wrapped up in their own thoughts as the storytelling washed over you. I wish I could tell you when he's playing next but no one knows. However, if you're really lucky, you'll be in the right bar on the right night and one of L.A.'s best troubadours will be there to help you forget your troubles.


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