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Friko captivates fans and newcomers at the Brooklyn concert


Opening for WILLIS at Brooklyn Made on Saturday night, Friko shattered all ideas of what an opener should be. Hailing from Chicago, the trio played a mix of hit singles and songs from their full-length debut release, Where We’ve been, Where We Go From Here. The anchors of the band Niko Kapetan (vocals, guitar, keys) and Bailey Minzenberger (percussion) have been pouring their hearts into Friko since its inception in 2019. Their performance conveys all of the emotion invested in this sonic project.

Kicking off the night with “Crimson to Chrome,” one could immediately feel that more than half of the crowd was there for Friko. A staple of the new generation of indie rock bands to come out of Chicago, Niko and Bailey clearly have a cult following that extends beyond the Midwest. Young and old faces alike were fixed on the trio as they sang along to uniquely infectious songs like “Get Numb To It!” and “Where We’ve Been”. The band has successfully carved out a deeply passionate subset of music lovers who find solace in Niko’s lyrics. To help bring these words to life, Bailey has upheld the duo throughout their introduction into the North American music scene as an especially talented and supportive drummer.

While seeing a Friko show includes plenty of impressive and energetic guitar and bass strumming. That night alone, Niko went through three different guitars. The night is also sprinkled with slower, ballad-like tunes. Niko turned to the keyboard to showcase his vocals and lyrical talent during “For Ella”. Another showstopper was “Cardinal,” featuring a catchy yet melancholic guitar melody and unique vocal stylings.

This is one of the best things about Friko’s following: they are here for it all. The crowd is not your typical group of young music fanatics craving a chance to mosh. The head-bangers swayed along to these intimate ballads, revealing how Friko’s emotive lyrics translate across multiple genres.

Halfway through the set, my friend turned to me and asked if Friko was the headliner. Not a crazy question as their presence at Brooklyn Made was unlike any other opening act I have seen. Those there for WILLIS were delightfully surprised by the raw energy brought to the room, and those there for Friko were ecstatic to see one of their cult favorites grace a New York stage.

Friko is going on to support Water from Your Eyes and Mind’s Eye on their North American tours this spring before launching into festival season. Notably, being a part of the 2024 Lollapalooza Chicago lineup for an (I’m sure) unforgettable hometown performance.

Cover photo by Pooneh Ghana, courtesy of the artist

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