CA Fest Day 2: Josh Radin, A Fine Frenzy, & Lucy Schwartz Move the Moore

Thursday night, The Moore Theatre was filled with hushed moments and melancholy tunes as Joshua Radin, A Fine Frenzy and Lucy Schwartz lit up the second night of Heineken City Arts Festival. It was my first City Arts Fest experience and also my first time seeing each act, but I was particularly excited to finally see A Fine Frenzy after years of patiently waiting for the band to hit the road again.

Lucy Schwartz opened the evening with her piano-driven tunes that ranged from folky and thoughtful to lightheartedly upbeat. Her voice was reminiscent of Alison Sudol of A Fine Frenzy, so the pairing was quite natural. Schwartz’ songs were well-crafted and interesting, varying in tempo and styles; her set was energetic and fun and it was a wonderful way to start the evening.

A Fine Frenzy was next to take the stage. Beginning with the title track of their latest album “Pines”, released earlier this week, the audience was whisked away into a hypnotic land of blended acoustic and electronic sounds with thoughtful lyrics that glorified  a connection with nature. Since the album was heavily inspired by Seattle and the Northwest, AFF songwriter Alison Sudol’s native land, it was apparent how personal the songs are to the singer. The set began with several slow, pensive songs and then transitioned into a set of dance-worthy indie-rock tunes, including a sing-along that got the entirety of the Moore audience singing along while Sudol pranced around the front of the stage with enthusiasm, nearly falling off the stage while doing so, but playing it off like a pro. Despite the omission of their older material and playing a mere two songs off of former albums, it was a roller coaster of a set that got the crowd moving and probably jerked a few tears as well.

Now, Joshua Radin. This guy. This guy knows how to start a show. Entering the stage with just his guitar, he began singing and was slowly joined by the rest of his band, who made a grand entrance after Radin stepped away from the microphone for a verse, serenading the audience completely unplugged. I’ve mentioned that I hadn’t previously seen any acts to take the stage this particular evening, but it’s unlikely I’ll be missing a Joshua Radin show ever again. Even in the simplicity of his songs, I was completely enthralled. The delivery of his performance was so earnest it’s as if the songs were familiar although they were new to me. Lucy Schwartz returned to the stage a couple of times to sing harmonies with Radin; the pairing of the two was a match made in acoustic-pop heaven.

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