It’s Friday night, and you’re ready to relax and party at the same time. You might be asking yourself, “How might one go about this?” I can honestly say that my Friday evening at Rough Trade could be described as just that. I had never heard Flagship perform live before, but after interviewing Drake Margolnick and Michael Finster a few months ago, getting to know them, hearing them speak passionately about what they do, and listening to their music, the word “excited” didn’t quite capture my feeling. Walking into Rough Trade, one of my favorite venues, and seeing it just as packed, if not the most packed I’ve ever seen it, I was ready to indulge in all that is Flagship.
The guys opened their set with “Are You Calling” from their 2013 self-titled release, and it was clear that we were in for a set full of talent and depth. The build in the song was electric, and Drake belting out the title lyrics, “Are You Calling” at the end of the song was the indication the audience needed to really get into the vibe of the night. I was immediately drawn in by their charisma and grace on stage, and couldn’t wait to see what else was in store.
Besides “Still I Wait,” my favorite Flagship track is currently “Life Underwater,” which I was stoked to hear a bit later in their set. The electric guitar hook reeled us in, and delighted the crowd who clearly recognized this booming track. Their dream-like, rock ‘n’ roll soundscape is uncanny, and Drake’s vocals truly capture the emotion in your soul, as the lyrics demand your ear. The audience proceeded to chant along with Drake’s repeated lyrics, “How long can you,” and the energy was at its highest yet. I looked over at Michael who continued to tear it up on the drums with the world’s biggest smile on his face. It was impossible not to smile as well. These guys are having a great time, and they are making fantastic music, so it’s truly difficult to not have fun as you watch these guys play.
They also played fan favorite, “I Want You,” which is yet another track with a chorus that begs you to chant along. Michael pounded the bass drum, giving us a nice four-on-the-floor to work with. This is also a song with an epic buildup. The song is busy, but controlled, which brought the energy level in the room to a new high. Drake was a lot of fun throughout the whole show, but I especially appreciated his personality during this track. During the breakdown, he got down on one knee and serenaded the crowd with his Brandon Flowers-esque tone, which is richly unique and sincerely captivating with perfect vibrato. Drake then proceeded to mount the drum set. It was great to see his naturally playful presence. After the song, Michael said a few words about the support and love he felt from the audience, saying, “We miss North Carolina, but you guys really make us feel at home.” The crowd erupted in cheer, and the set went on in true Flagship fashion.
As they got ready to close up their set, I was excited to hear the slowed down, more chilled out, “Nothin’” from their EP, Faded. This was slightly more classic rock sounding than the rest of the set, but the calmness and serenity of the track kept the set well rounded. The reverb game was strong on the electric guitar, and at this point, I was more than ready to here another one of my favorite tracks, “The Fool.” I was hoping that “The Fool” would be the set closer because when I interviewed the guys a few months prior, Drake said that this is typically the last song they play as it’s “really impactful and very dynamic with a great climax.” He described the build and spirituality of the song with its rock ‘n’ roll backbone as having an end that can only be described as “sensory overload.” I’m happy to report that Drake was absolutely right. Michael added that the song is a “constant crescendo,” and he too, was absolutely right. These guys are true to their word, and delivered an epic set. These guys have a way of making you feel their gut-wrenching and thoughtful lyrics, and presenting them in the form of so many emotions and with such a range of energy. I don’t know how to adequately explain my love for this band. Drake and Michael are wonderful performers and musicians, and they are lovely people as well. I can only wish the most success for them in their career.
The night closed out beautifully as A Silent Film took the stage. These British rockers had the crowd going crazy, singing along with every single song they played. I was drawn in to their vibe and their catchy melodies. Standout songs included “Tomorrow,” “Paralysed,” and “Something To Believe In.” My favorite song from their set was “Driven.” It was almost mystical sounding at times. The smooth vocals with the perfect amount of echo, coupled with the tight rhythms and rich harmonies made for a great experience for the audience. The lyrics of “Driven” really stuck with me as the lead singer chanted, “There’s people, people going out of their mind, right into each others arms, but I only want to be with you.” I have nothing but wonderful things to say about the relaxing, yet energized party that was my Friday evening. Be sure to catch Flagship and A Silent Film as they continue their tour!
Article: Alex Feigin