Friends at Scala, London

Something You Said contributor Golden Lady checked out Friends’ recent gig in London:

Somewhere between Madonna’s Get into the Groove and Mariah Carey’s Touch My Body, lives a slightly demented lovechild of the two, named Friends. Still relatively unknown, however no less a buzzworthy band hailing from Brooklyn, New York.

They possess what looks and sounds to be a few decades’ worth of hand-me-down hip-hop-meets-punkish musical references. If you’ve heard their breakout single I’m His Girl and watched the achingly cool film clip which accompanies, like me, you’ll have been pretty sure that this bunch were in possession of something devastatingly sassy.

Dreamy, cheeky, retro Hip Pop, worthy of crushing in a major way.

Last week I went to see them play live at Scala. A crowd of this measure and seeming anticipation could make even the least cynical punter overly cautious. Especially seeing as the band have not yet released an album.

New comers Aluna George, a duo hailing from London, were supporting. Despite only catching the last two tracks, I glimpsed enough of lead singer Aluna’s super cool vibe to know we’ll be hearing a helluva lot more from them.

Next stop, Brooklyn!

Five totally mismatched, mis-aged and mystifyingly various characters appear on stage. The more engaging of the bunch being the two gals: lead singer Samantha Urbani with her playful, goth get-up and flung gold cape and Lesley Hann on back up vox/bass/percussion.

As song one merges into song two and then three, it became increasingly obvious that none of the three other dudes in the band had any interest in engaging with each other, or indeed the crowd. While this can definitely work in some scenarios, such snobbery doesn’t work when you are basically a basement party band.

There’s no denying at all that Samantha is incredibly engaging. If anything, she’s a sweetly geeky front girl, inelegantly clunking her way from one side of the stage to another, occasionally sharing some endearingly affectionate moments with crowd members. And whilst glued to her side of stage, moody bass player Lesley provided the youthful angst, necessary for balance’s sake.

Stand outs included the dreamy Friend Crush and 90’s R&B throwback My Boo. However, like so many other hugely hyped-up bands, everyone is searching for a magical moment or two, a reason to support the hysteria, which didn’t totally surface.

Most of the other tracks came over like some high school, jokester band put together by Vice Magazine or maybe American Apparel. With the lack of connection between the band, on top of not being the greatest sound ever heard at Scala, one couldn’t help but feel like they were playing the background in a B-grade John Hughes film which never quite made the light of day. After a few more shows and a handle on just how potent a band they could be, things may be different.

I look forward to seeing them again, after the buzz may have hushed a little and they’ve more of an arsenal of gigs to draw from, as opposed to a handful of hipster parties and the like.


Review by Golden Lady. Check out her blog here.