REVIEW: Max Frost at Turner Hall Ballroom


Photo by Kellen Nordstrom

On Saturday night, Max Frost graced Turner Hall Ballroom in what would be one of the most fun shows I’ve seen this year. They were recording this show for PBS, and Max pulled out all the stops for this show. Usually, Turner Hall is a great spot to see music because there isn’t a bunch of flashy set pieces. This was not the case. He brought a huge LED setup and an old-timey looking recording device. Think like 60’s FBI device. At first, I thought it was just for show, but it appears to have been operating as a sound mixer which was a nice touch. All on top of a changing light display and some air blasters this set was ready to wow people, and I definitely think it did.

Coming off of his newest album, “Gold Rush”, Max Frost had a lot of new talent to show off. However, it seemed like he was most excited about making the crowd move and in a huge way he succeeded. I’ve never seen this done at a show before. Max Frost single-handily made each song from scratch. By this I mean he had a drum kit, drum pad, bass guitar, six-string guitar, and a keyboard. Each song was crafted on each individual instrument with chords, bass lines, guitar riffs, and high hats to fit whatever the need was. Coming into this show I had no idea that this is what it entailed. The amount of talent Max Frost displayed was something so fun and different I won’t be sure to forget it. The most surprising part, it sounded great! I will say I wish his mics were turned up a bit louder as he would get drowned out sometimes in the flurry of sound.

That part aside, his show was truly a spectacle. The melding of sounds was so creative it fit his style perfectly. He’s such a talented musician but at the same time, he doesn’t take himself too seriously. At one point he snagged a can of hairspray and had to re-up the hairdo. It was clear he loved every minute of what he was doing and wanted to make sure everyone else was having as much fun. The part that really stuck out to me is that he wasn’t playing all his cards right out the bat. It wasn’t until the 4th song did I find out how many instruments the guy plays. Almost like it was a grand reveal, “Oh well if you liked that you’ll love this.” Not that any of his music is overly complicated but it’s clear as to why it’s not. He is a showman and he did just that put on a show.

After his 5th song, he finally greeted the audience and thanked them for being a part of his video. Apparently, PBS was taping for a program and Max Frost was the special. This may have had some hand in how the show panned out but I’d like to think the next time I see him will be just as good. He played a lot of his new album but definitely broke up the new stuff with interludes such as Shimmy Shimmy Ya where Max got the crowd going and cheering with him. It was the crowd favorites that really turned the crowd up though like Paranoia, Adderall, and Die Young.

It’s hard to put a finger on what exactly Max Frost’s vibe is but I think the best way to describe it is he is a one man Duran Duran. There’s so much fun to be had in his songs, with an 80’s vibe and modern-day lyrics it’s hard to wonder why not as many people have heard of him. Milwaukee has though, and the demand for a bigger venue was so great they moved him from The Back Room to Turner Hall and it’s great that they did because although it wasn’t packed there was plenty of crowd that it would’ve made things uncomfortable. Go see Max Frost! He’s original, talented, funny and knows how to rock a show.

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