Grapetooth, the best friend duo from Chicago, sure knew how to bring their funky dancing and killer rhythm to Madison.
Members Clay Frankel and Chris Bailoni were overjoyed to take The Sett stage inside Union South Friday night. The two were joined by two percussionists, including Frankel’s Twin Peaks bandmate Cadien Lake James. And during the last song, a wave of eager audience members helped themselves on stage to end their set.
The collaborative festivities left no gaps — physical or mental — between the musicians and the audience.
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The band’s rapid ascent has been attributed to the long hours the two have spent writing and mastering their product. Frankel and Bailoni have worked tirelessly to make what was once just an aesthetic into their own band. They wanted to incorporate more dark and haunting themes into something that meant a lot to them.
Eighties synth vibes are paired with a damaged folk sound in each performance. The two began writing spontaneous songs together and received loads of positive reception after posting a video of their single “Trouble” online.
Their collaboration skills appeared effortless as they sprinted onstage complete with huge grins — their goofy personalities were on display from the outset. Both immediately peeled off multiple layers of coats and sweatshirts, while Bailoni continued to rock a pair of black sweatpants.
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The Chicago natives wanted to make their first college set special, and played their entire album for the dedicated crowd. They haven’t played a show since summer, so many of their fans were waiting anxiously for their triumphant return.
Their new self-titled album features broken disco tunes blended with various dazed melodies, featuring songs with a wide range of themes from death to love to wine. The group enthusiastically opened with “Violent,” a fan favorite which immediately prompted everyone to break out their dancing shoes.
Light noise met vibrant synth tones with their track “Imagine On.” Frankel showed off some radical, robot-esque dance moves while the crowd grooved to the synth beats. Fans were given a chance to catch their breath again before “Blood,” my personal favorite, which stirred up the crowd once more.
One fan decided she wanted to seize the spotlight, throwing her jacket down at the foot of the drum set and, with the help of some friends , was hoisted on stage. She thrashed beside Frankel for the rest of the song and the crowd roared in approval.
Things slowed down a notch with “Hallelujah,” where the crowd engaged in a sing-along through the entire track.
The end of Grapetooth’s set was unforgettable. The band ended with one of their first ever released singles, “Trouble.”
When the first line of the chorus hit, fans rushed the stage and formed a circle around the group’s drummer. A healthy dose of singing and dancing took place before the music was stopped and fans were told to get off the stage.
Unfortunately, the group was not allowed to finish their last song. In response, the boisterous crowd did not let the group leave, and the sea of fans started singing the chorus to “Trouble” in unison.
Frankel held out the microphone for the audience to finish the song on their own as they were signaled to exit. The two expressed their gratitude by giving out high fives and hugs as they left the stage.
The strong vibes in the room were nothing but positive throughout their whole set. Many crowd surfers gave their first ride across the floor a try. The enthusiasm present in the crowd carried over to the group as the night went on, and both sides continued to bring the heat.
These two are really paving their own road in the industry with their eclectic style and woozy melodies. They really raised the bar for new music and stretched their minds to create something they seem to be really proud of.
Grapetooth’s 80s inspired productions are making a comeback, and the new year will open many new doors for this talented duo.