Clive Davis junior Cam Franklin, also known by their stage name, gutseverywhere, performed at The Bitter End this past weekend. During their set, Franklin laughed and said, “guts everywhere, literally, right now. Feeling very vulnerable.”
Their songs, which all have a poetic quality to their lyrics, included odes to Union Square and its musical potential, as well as the people who ignore you when you’re in pain. Franklin also included a few covers of Anaïs Mitchell and Portishead. But the song they said they were most proud of was closer “The Botanist.” They said it was about “a Tinder experience, but turned out to be about everyone I’ve ever known.”
With lyrics ranging from “I’m never gonna die” to “No one believes you when you’re inconvenient,” gutseverywhere was thoughtful and bare, sharing experiences of feeling invincible, broken and like you don’t quite fit.
Franklin’s sound fits well with modern bedroom pop, with a comforting tone and a feeling of having just woken up. They also have a Joni Mitchell quality, with a high, clear voice and an edge, especially when accompanied by their friend and music partner, Clive Davis senior Henry Herbert, on electric guitar.
Perhaps just as important as the songs were the non-musical portions of the concert. Franklin and Herbet joined together in telling jokes for the crowd while tuning for different songs, with lines like: “Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to another gender.” As each audience member wandered into the venue, Franklin paused to say their name and repeat their gratitude for everyone showing up.
Franklin also asked the crowd whether or not a poem was acceptable during their set and proceeded to read the poem “First Date.” Quirky and insightful, it is a list of questions and contemplations. Franklin included ruminations like how others feel about kissing in public.
gutseverywhere ended each song without their guitar — only their voice. It was a fleeting moment each time, but one of incredible intensity and isolation, offering a startling intimacy. These moments served as a microcosm of the whole concert: brave, honest and lovely.
“I feel overwhelmed with gratitude,” Franklin told WSN. “This was the first time that I hardly knew anyone around me, but everyone I worked with at the Bitter End was very kind and helpful. I was happily surprised by everyone who came to support and I can’t wait for more opportunities to share my work.”
Franklin’s inspiration comes from other queer and transgender people, who uplift and sustain them. Their hope is to come out with recorded music soon, but for now, their Instagram is filled with snippets of the intimacy one can now find at a gutseverywhere show.
Anna-Dmitry Muratova contributed reporting.
A version of this article appears in the Monday, Sept. 23, 2019 print edition. Email Izzy Salas at [email protected]