CONCERT REVIEW: Dia Frampton
With the second season of The Voice in full swing, we caught up with the first season’s runner-up, Dia Frampton. Since January, she’s been opening for Blake Shelton and his “Well Lit & Amplified” tour. She’s not country, which might lead some to say she would be out of place at Blake’s show. Those people would be wrong. Very wrong.
Fact is, Frampton seems very comfortable in her shoes — or as she was Friday night at KeyArena in Seattle — out of her shoes. She performed (as she often does) barefoot. If being sans shoes isn’t a sign of comfort, then I don’t know what is!
She describes her music as “indie folk with a lemony twist.” Again, not country, but it’s catchy, clever and crowd-pleasing. It helps that it’s being delivered by Dia, who, as we all found out last year, has a certain charm and sweetness about her. She’s a little pixie with a big presence that just naturally makes people like her. When we team that with her undeniable talent, it’s easy to see why Blake tabbed her for his tour.
She opened her set at the piano, playing “Walk Away” from her debut album Red. At the end of the song, Dia addressed the crowd, which was still filtering in, for the first time. It wasn’t any great speech or proclamation. She simply said, “My name is Dia Frampton. Thank you so much for coming in early, you guys.” Her not having much to say may have been her way of letting her music speak for itself.
What her music has to say is often very serious, but presented in a way that makes the often heavy messages easy to handle. The aforementioned “Walk Away” deals with the victim of child sexual abuse living with the aftermath. It was followed by “Isabella,” which Dia has said she wrote for one of her sisters during a difficult time for her family. Then came “Trapeze,” which Frampton told the crowd she wrote for a friend of hers who had gone through a lot of hardships in his life, but is still one of the most optimistic and positive people she knows.
Please don’t let me give you the impression that Dia’s show is a downer. It’s quite the opposite. Her songs are well-crafted and the melodies can be infectious. It doesn’t hurt that she’s backed by the members of Meg & Dia, her band with her sister before she came to fame on The Voice. I’m guessing if they could, they still would be presenting themselves as Meg & Dia. But for now it’s Dia’s name that is known, thus her solo billing on this tour. Still, having Meg, guitar player Carlo Gimenez, drummer Nick Price and bass player Jonathan Snyder along with her makes it feel like family.
Dia played “Good Boy” before launching into a cover of Tom Petty’s “American Girl.” She wrapped things up with “The Broken Ones,” the first single off of Red (see the official video below). The touching and tender song was a perfect end to her tight and tidy set, which lasted about 25 minutes.
Blake, of course, coached Frampton on The Voice and hand-picked her to open for him. Nobody would’ve blamed her if she went out on stage and talked non-stop about the show. But she never said a word about it. Fact is, it was Blake who brought it up when he brought Dia out to perform “I Will.” As Blake told the crowd, Dia wrote the song about her time with him on the show. Blake said he was all too happy to record it with her and, naturally, sing it with her on stage. When the two performed it the previous night in Spokane, Miranda Lambert (who was at both the Spokane and Seattle shows) tweeted that hearing it gave her chills. I don’t know if it brought chills to Seattle, but the song definitely showcases the special relationship they share.
The “Well Lit & Amplified” Tour is approaching the end of its first leg. If you have tickets for any of the remaining shows (or when they add a second leg), be sure to get there early to see Dia. As I hope we’ve clearly established, her opening of the show is anything but token. It’s all about her talent.