Recap: Sean Rowe and Donavon Frankenreiter at Alive at Five 07/28/2022 -By: Rob Smittix

Written by on July 29, 2022

The August edition of Xperience Monthly is out and I started my day out by helping deliver our magazine to the Center Square area of Albany before heading down to Jennings Landing for Alive at Five. The plan was that I meet up early with Frankie of Mirth Films to do our set up together. Frankie texts me “I’m gonna need your help with the EZ Up.” I text him back that I should be done in about 20 minutes. Well when I got to Lark Street to deliver to all the hip places on the strip there was a heavy police presence and some of the street was blocked off. This made it very difficult to promptly execute my drop offs. So that 20 minutes became an hour or so.

When I arrived Frankie had already done the EZ Up and together we battled the winds to set up our banners. The wind gusts were super strong and not once but twice the wind took framed 8 x 10 photos that Mirth Films was selling, threw them to the ground and smashed the glass. The wind then became even more annoying when I tried to hit a bowl but the lighter just wouldn’t work in the breeze. Hey, it’s legal now and that is annoying as hell.

The decision to not have the concert at the rain site had already been made and it was beyond too late to make the change now. We were monitoring the storm online and unfortunately it looked like this show was doomed. Attendance suffered because of mother nature for sure but a decent amount of people still decided to rough it out in hopes that the show would go on.

Maybe I was late to the game when it came to Sean Rowe and his music. It was about 14 or 15 years ago and my band Smittix had a show downstairs at Valentine’s we had a decent crowd but most of the people that came to Valentine’s that night weren’t there for us at all, they were mostly there to attend the Sean Rowe show upstairs. Being a punk band we (Smittix) were in awe to find out that Sean was on Anti-Records under Epitaph, which at one point in time would have been our choice of label if we were to ever get signed. There was a white piece of paper taped to the window of Valentine’s that was written on with a Sharpie and it read something like this: Sean Rowe upstairs at Valentine’s on whatever date it was. Well, Sean may of had twice the crowd that my band drew that night at Valentine’s but… we most certainly and undeniably had the better poster.

Remember I’ve never listened to Sean’s music at this point but because of this show I decided to look him up and I’ve been a fan ever since. Now I listen to Sean Rowe’s music every week of my life. As a lyricist I cling onto writers like Sean Rowe, Matt Pless or Jesse and Whitney from Days N Daze because the way that these musicians write their lyrics is genius and it inspires me. And although I have been a huge Sean Rowe fan for a decade and a half now, I’ve never seen him play live, so I was really looking forward to this concert. Well so far the rain held off and Sean Rowe had finally taken to the stage. I think he got about 3 or 4 songs in and lightning was spotted so they shut it down.

Everyone and their umbrellas waited patiently in anticipation that the show may pick back up if the weather passes. Meanwhile backstage, Sean Rowe and Donavon Frankenreiter were chatting and I had to take this opportunity to introduce myself to Sean. After my introduction I informed Sean that he and I share a great-nephew. It’s true, my niece on my wife’s side has a son with  Sean Rowe’s nephew. Sean Rowe had not known about this great-nephew at all, so I thought it was cool that I let him know he has more family out there in the world. Anyway the good news finally came that Sean could continue his performance.

I walked over to the Motor Oil Coffee booth and they had a game of Cornhole set up. The guy tells me that I will win prizes if I sink my beanbags in the hole. I was handed four beanbags. The first one I overthrew but now I got a feeling for the beanbag’s weight and I sunk the three remaining bags with precision. I was rather impressed with myself and happy that I won a free coffee and a 16oz bag of Motor Oil “High Octane Premier” Organic Guatemalan coffee. I went back to the Mirth Films/RadioRadioX booth and I was telling Frankie how great my Cornhole skills were and I was bragging about my coffee winnings. This gentleman overheard me and says “that’s my coffee company!” It was Rich Fazio and we got into a conversation about his coffee and it was truly riveting but when I heard the song that Sean was starting to play, I had to say “excuse me, I have to go watch this!” “Promise of  You” was the song and that’s my jam, I doubt Sean could hear me but I was adding in some incredible backing vocals from the audience.

I know that Donavon Frankenreiter was the headliner but I had to focus on Sean Rowe for this recap because I am one of his biggest fans and because we share a great-nephew together, we’re practically family. I realized in my research that Donavon Frankenreiter has millions of views on his YouTube videos so shame on me for not knowing his music before yesterday. But I will say this Donavon Frankenreiter was amazing to see live, he makes exceptional music and just like the story I told you about how I discovered Sean Rowe’s music for myself, I have now found Frankenreiter’s music and he has gained a new fan in me.

Additional Photos By: Tim Reidy


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