Boot and Saddle is a hidden gem of Philadelphia. In a city filled with college students and hipsters, there are an abundance of bars and concert venues. Boot and Saddle is special because it appeals to all. The South Philly bar has a small capacity, about 100 for the bar and 150 for the concert venue, yet the intimacy is unmissable — everyone is there with a common purpose: to get drunk and have a good time.
May 5, Max Frost came to Boot and Saddle on his first headline tour, with Rozes, a Philadelphia native and Temple University graduate, opening for him. Although Frost was the headliner, it was clear that a lot of people in the crowd were there to see their friend or hometown honey, Rozes. Rozes played the Chainsmokers’ “Roses,” a song in which she is the only vocalist. It genuinely was the only song which most in the crowd knew, but everyone was rightfully jamming out to the Top 40 pop song. Rozes said her thank yous and goodbyes, preparing for the onslaught of hugs from those who knew her. If you didn’t know any better, you would have thought it was a show for Rozes.
That’s not to say the fans didn’t love Max Frost, however. After recently releasing his debut LP “Intoxication,” Frost began his first headlining tour. The innovative artist had tons of gear on stage, which made sense considering he had to recreate his full sound as a solo performer. An old film player seemed to be hooked up to pre-recorded audio loops, a laptop was hooked up with all of the live looping devices and a drum set was paired with a traditional and bass guitar.
Frost pounded out a beat on the drums and hit a switch. The percussion looped. Frost moved to his MIDI keyboard, played a piano riff, hit a switch, and the melody looped. Frost moved to his bass and eventually his guitar, recording strong string loops as he stole the crowd and sang the opening lines of his song “$Dreams.” Most of the fans who did not know who Frost was were blown away by his sheer talent and ability to create an ensemble of music out of nothing but his pure passion for music (and expensive technology).
The show became interactive as Frost clapped out a beat with his hands, the audience following suit using that as the percussion backbeat of the next track “Blind Fool.” Continuing on this way, concertgoers were dazzled by Frost’s ability to loop music and control the sounds to fill the tiny venue with large sounds.
Highlights of the show included a catchy new song called “Adderall” and a cover of OutKast’s “Roses,” which begs the question: are too many roses a bad thing? The audience ate all of it up, smiles on faces and beers in hands.
Nearing the end of the show, Frost asked which side of the stage he should play his next song on, which created a lot of banter and heckling until Frost picked and performed his song “Die Young” in front of the left side of the stage (stage right for you theater junkies). The passionate song crooned the audience and Frost announced he would play his last song “White Lies.” During the song, Frost jumped into the audience for a brief second before realizing it was a horrible idea and hilariously finishing the song back on stage. Several chants of “one more song!” filled the room, but Frost respectfully declined, offering to chat with fans outside the bar.
Max Frost proved his talent and passion for music through creating ambient soundtracks out of nothing other than his loop pads, instruments and love for performing. There aren’t many artists that slay a stage and command an unsuspecting crowd like Max Frost did on May 5, and Boot and Saddle loved it. Max Frost is no doubt an artist to discover and a great live performer to check out.