I had a bit of a moan in my SFTOC post about delayed running times. I guess this is a little “square” of me. After all, “it’s rock ‘n’ roll, man.”
If a train I was expecting to catch were to run 45 minutes late I would complain loudly, possibly in writing (well, maybe I’d compose a passive agressive tweet). But artistic tardiness I’m expected to take with good grace because, as everyone knows, creative people can’t possibly be expected to be punctual too.
The band were meant to come on at 9:30pm and, not being too bothered about the support act, that’s what time I showed up. The audience were a mixed bag; half second year undergrads, half responsible-looking over thirties. As 9:30pm came and went the rag-tag audience were treated to a half hour of various band members and roadies tooling around with the main keyboard.
Wires were disconnected before being reconnected to sockets and heads were scratched in confusion. The undergrads sipped on blue VK’s and waggled their arses to retro house filler tracks. The over thirties chatted politely before fixing their increasingly impatient gazes upon the people ineptly trying to reconnect the non-functioning instrument. At two minutes to 10, someone had a flash of inspiration and replaced the broken keyboard with one that worked. Genius.
I guess I was just tetchy because it was a week night and I had work in the morning. I wanted to see the gig and get home in time for a brew and an episode of South Park before bed. As you creep closer to thirty things like a brew and an episode of South Park before bed become increasingly important to you. It’s not Friends’ fault I work a nine-to-five.
Friends are a five piece band from Brooklyn, who are currently on a UK tour. They are comprised of lead singer Samantha Urbani and her childhood friend Lesley Hann on bass, percussion and backing vocals, with Nikki Shapiro on guitar, percussion and the ill-fated keyboard, Oliver Duncan on drums, and Matthew Molnar playing second keyboard, percussion and bass.
Given the shaky start the band and the audience took a little while to warm to each other, but once the gig got going there were moments of magic. “I’m His Girl,” released last October as part of a double A side, was one such instance.
The song is about being in a loving relationship but still being individual and independent. It’s catchy and has the feeling of an anthem to it. It’s something you might sing when you are on-top-of-the-world in love and every girl in the Academy was dancing like it was written about her and her man.
There are R&B influences to Friends. Their music is bright and funky with Urbani at times channeling the spirt of Debbie Harry. Percussion-fuelled and dreamy, “Friend Crush” saw her sashaying around to the twangy top-noted melodies, and was a high-point of the 40 minute set.
Urbani’s a great frontwoman, drawing the crowd into her performance with Monroe-like purrs and whoops as she slinks about the stage like a veteran disco cat. You can imagine groups of kids playing jump-rope (as they might say in New York) and chanting Friends lyrics. However, Hann’s moody backing vocals and the group’s penchant for raw percussion stops their sound from becoming overly saccharine.
All in all, worth getting home slightly too late for that before-bed brew.