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MP3 of the Day #794: Friends

 
By on Tuesday, 26th November 2013 at 10:00 am
 

Samantha Urbani’s Friends and their song ‘The Way’ has been remixed by Blood Orange (aka Dev Hynes). And you can listen to and grab it for your very own below.

 

Live Review: Two Door Cinema Club with Guards and Friends, 9:30 Club, Washington DC – 2nd October 2012

 
By on Friday, 5th October 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

Technically, until this week, Two Door Cinema Club have not played in Washington DC proper in nearly 2 years. (And at that time in January 2010, they only sold out 9:30 Club with the help of Tokyo Police Club fans, who I learned don’t really overlap with Two Door fans.) That all changed when they played back to back shows at our most famous club venue. This time, the first show announced sold out quickly because of Two Door’s name, and to make it all the more sweeter, the DC market was the first one to sell out (requiring a second date to satisfy hungry fans), the first market in this North American tour to do so. These facts were not lost on Two Door, who thanked the fans later in the show Tuesday night for having supported them through the very beginning.

Historically speaking, DC was one of the first places they ever gigged in America, in spring 2010, supporting the then-massive Phoenix.) Tuesday night, the first of the two sold out shows, was a far cry from those early beginnings as an unknown Irish band. Girls in the queue with me, having never seen the band perform before, squealed with the prospect of finally seeing the boys live. Once inside, I made new friends. Once it was time for them to go on, the venue was rammed of course, but everyone respected each other. I even was able to step into the pit to take photos and come back to the spot down the front that I had secured when doors open. That never happens. Maybe I was just lucky, but I felt the vibe was entirely different than the show we’d seen in Baltimore in June.

But first were two supports. Guards, a New York City trio with two touring band members, have a huge sound and great pop/rock melodies. I liked most of their set; when rocking out hard, they resembled Band of Skulls, and when they were pop, they could have matched the Postelles. They even had a song that sounded so California surf pop, in a way that went far beyond Best Coast’s abilities. I Tweeted, that I thought they had better and a hell lot catchier songs than Foster the People. That was until they went proggy on me, with squealing guitars, fog that engulfed not just the stage they were on but the first couple rows of the stalls and outros that seemed to go on forever (and that’s not a compliment). They have an album coming out next February that will be worth to keep an ear out for; time will tell which way (pop/rock or prog) they will go.

The second support was indie darlings Friends, who I skipped at the Great Escape because 1) I didn’t feel like queueing for their show with Niki and the Dove at Horatio’s but 2) I really didn’t feel like trekking down Brighton Pier to get in said queue. I’m glad I didn’t bother. I realise there are quite a few fans of them reading TGTF, but they aren’t my thing at all. I forget where I read it, but someone once said regarding their band’s appearances at UK festivals that Friends live felt like Samantha Urbani’s personal band. That’s exactly how their whole setup felt like (which did no favours for the rest of the band, who on the whole had the bouncy, rhythmic sound that works well to warm up crowds for a headliner). For those of us who remember Madonna in her ‘Like a Virgin’ phase, Urbani was doing her best conjure up that ghost of Madonna’s past. Wearing a very tight and somewhat revealing black dress, she squealed and moaned her way through their set in what I considered a pretty unladylike fashion.

My guess is that the majority of the audience were minors; that’s not the audience you should be asking as a singer to join you in some “heavy breathing”, eh? The oohing she was doing in ‘Mind Control’ sounded like she was having a private sexual moment. There must be something to their production, because her voice was much more pointed than I remembered from record. The instrumentation was great, but I thought that they were going to be much better (for one, there was this strange muddled buzzing sound, which I guessed was a bass issue), since they have been hyped since their early plays on 6music. My conclusion: they’re overrated. And apparently no-one in the audience had any idea who they were, because it looked like I was the only person who knew the words to ‘I’m His Girl’ (er, thanks Lammo). Tom liked their album ‘Manifest!’, but live, they weren’t for me.

After a tortuous half-hour waiting, the house lights went down again, and a couple dance tracks were played to pump up the crowd as the early stages of lighting began. The band then bounded onstage to thunderous applause, launching into current single ‘Sleep Alone’. This was the first time I’d witnessed ‘Cigarettes in the Theatre’ not being the opening track, and this is just as good, if not a better choice to begin with. The set went from one strength to another, traversing both ‘Tourist History’ and recently released ‘Beacon’ to great effect. While ‘I Can Talk’ and other stalwarts from the debut album garnered expected massive responses from the fans, new songs ‘Settle’, showing off these specially made lit boxes onstage, and ‘Someday’, with its funky bass line and frenetic guitar parts, went down brilliantly. You’d never have known ‘Costume Party’ was a non-album track, as it practically blew the roof off the place.

I got a huge lump in my throat when it came time for ‘Next Year’. I wasn’t sure if they’d play it, but I am so glad they did, even if I did feel like crying. For me, that’s the song that whenever I hear it reminds me that these boys that were new to the world I met 2 years ago fully understand the gravity of their situation, their success. It is a song about choices you make when you become a full time musician; they miss their family and friends and can’t guarantee where they are going to be for special occasions, because a musician’s life is hard with all the touring. Knowing that I have seen them five times now means that they have given up five different nights of their lives to make five different nights in my life amazing. I have followed them around, having seen them play in a small club in Philadelphia that wasn’t filled at all to this, two sold out nights at the 9:30. All that hard worked paid off for them. And I couldn’t be happier.

Cheers Two Door Cinema Club. My friends, you made it a night to remember. You know that you will always be welcome here. DC will always have your back.

After the cut: Two Door Cinema Club’s set list.

Two Door Cinema Club Set List:

Sleep Alone
Undercover Martyn
Do You Want It All?
This is the Life
Wake Up
You’re Not Stubborn
Sun
Spring
I Can Talk
Costume Party
Next Year
Something Good Can Work
Handshake
Eat That Up, It’s Good for You
//
Someday
Come Back Home
What You Know

 

Jersey Live 2012 (Part 2)

 
By on Friday, 14th September 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

Chase and Status were an act who I always saw as a bit of a ‘Pendulum lite’, but with the formers now disbanded and forgotten, it seems only right that the heirs to the festival drum and bass throne can now step up and grasp the opportunity.

And they did, playing a hit-laden set dripping with their signature electronic hooks to close out Saturday at Jersey Live 2012. The MCs whipped up the crowd into a frenzy, with mosh pits breaking out all over the relatively small crowd. They’re no longer DJs; they’re a full-on festival band, more then capable of turning a placid muddy field into a swirling, sweaty arena of noise.

To top of their festival credentials they even tore through roaring cover of Rage Against the Machine’s protest anthem ‘Killing in the Name Of’. The roof (or lack of thereof, so maybe the clouds…) was suitably raised.

The Sunday was more for the golden oldies in us, with legendary acts like Primal Scream, The Stranglers and Noel Gallagher gracing the Main Stage.

The short skirted booze swilling teens disappeared to be replaced by an army of mid-life crisis mums doing that embarrassing dance which you only normally find at those awkward family gatherings that never end well.

The first notable act of the day though were New Yorkers Friends, who are riding on the popularity wave of their Lucky Number debut album ‘Manifest!’ And obviously revelling in every minute of it.

The crowd at Jersey Live weren’t interested though, as their rollicking set was met by little more than sombre applause and the even more offensive sitting on rugs and drinking of Pimms.

Singles ‘Friend Crush’ and ‘I’m His Girl’ were fantastic in their delivery, but the mid-afternoon crowd were simply uninterested, it seems. Kudos to the band for pulling out the stops though, as even with the poor reception, the band gave it their all. (7/10)

The Stranglers provoked an altogether different reaction, with a wave of nostalgia coming over the stoic Jersey Live crowd. Baz Warne fronted the band and was simply awesome, even if at times he did come across more akin to a drunk, embarrassing dad crooning at a wedding.

The hits were all there though, in their aged splendour and fans young and old alike joined forces in their approval of these legends of the scene. (8/10)

Next up the big guns came out, Primal Scream, who are witnessing some sort revival, so much so that they supported the Stone Roses at Heaton Park. Bobby Gillespie marauded around the stage with youthful swagger, looking more like a 21st century Mick Jagger than the ageing rock icon.

They smashed through the highlights of their bulging back-catalogue. Gillespie was the highlight of the show though; he ran the stage with his rock and roll personality and certainly got the crowds rocks off.

To close the festival though, we went from born again legend to bonafide legend, in the form of Noel Gallagher. We can talk about his High Flying Birds, but this set was all about the man himself.

He strolled on stage; resplendent in his long coat at proceeded to show Jersey the set of their lives. He was cool, calm and collected. He even engaged in a bit of banter with the fans, rebuking a fan in a vest for asking for a Liam song. Why bother? He’s music royalty, sit back and enjoy the ride.

As for the spider he brought along in his guitar case… Best to ignore that.

 

MP3 of the Day #599: Friends vs. Jay-Z

 
By on Thursday, 9th August 2012 at 10:00 am
 

What happens when you cross the Friends (pictured above) hit ‘I’m His Girl’ with Jay-Z‘s ‘Encore’? This bootleg combo ‘Jay’s Girl’. Listen to and download the song below. Is it great, or are you shaking your head? Let us know in the comments.

 

Live Gig Video: Friends perform ‘I’m His Girl’ for Bands in Transit at the Great Escape 2012 in Brighton

 
By on Thursday, 21st June 2012 at 4:00 pm
 

Brooklyn ‘it’ band Friends took the time out of their busy schedule in Brighton at this year’s Great Escape to perform the hit that broke them, ‘I’m His Girl’, for Bands in Transit. Not sure what is going on with Stephanie Urbani’s, um, style of dress, but watch it below and form your own opinion.

The band just released their debut album, ‘Manifest!’, on Lucky Number, and you can read Tom’s review of the album here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrodXSXXNYk[/youtube]

 

Album Review: Friends – Manifest!

 
By on Tuesday, 12th June 2012 at 12:00 pm
 

It’s hard not to re-read the album cover of ‘Manifest!’ to check that you’re not listening to a new record from The Go! Team. But don’t worry, your eyes do not deceive you. Percussion-centric and bassline-heavy, Friends‘ debut album is a distorted guitar or two away from being straight from The Go! Team cutting room floor.

The New York-based 5-piece band have already gathered significant praise for their indie/funk/punk/disco/pop music, the variety in genre reflective of how different the band members’ backgrounds are; born in different parts of the United States, they came together in an apartment in Brooklyn. ‘Manifest!’ is made up of indie vocals, funk percussion, punk distortion, disco synths and the catchiness of a pop track. It’s a mix that works surprisingly well, carefully avoiding sounding like several musicians have rehearsed separately then come together for the day to record an album.

Throughout the 12 tracks, one think that becomes apparent is the talents of Connecticut-born singer Samantha Urbani. Her vocals are the thing that sets the group apart from The Go! Team. With instrumentals as strong as they are on ‘Manifest!’, Urbani does a fantastic job of keeping up with the rest of the band and doesn’t once seem overwhelmed by the percussion. I would liken her voice to Katie White’s vocals in The Tings Tings but, you know… good.

All the tracks on the album blend well together too, rather than coming across as an album of singles. Friends’ debut has definitely lived up to the massive hype that the band has accumulated in the previous months, including the lead-out track on ‘Manifest!,’ ‘Mind Control’ (previous Video of the Moment here), being named ‘The Hottest Record In The World’ by Zane Lowe. It’s a deserved title for what I believe to be the stand-out track on the album. Curiously placed at the end of the record, at nearly 5 minutes long, it is the longest song of all 12. With plenty of hand claps, “yeahs” and a beautifully repetitive bassline, ‘Mind Control’ takes its influences from ’70s funk, and it’s just a brilliant end to a great album.

‘Manifest!’ is a wonderful debut from Friends, one that lives up to the hype, and more. Listening to it gives me the same sensation I got back in 2008 when I was obsessed with Vampire Weekend‘s debut. Overall, an album full of interesting bass lines, refreshing vocals and not to mention more percussion than you can shake a vibra-slap at.

9/10

Friends’ debut ‘Manifest!’ is out now on Lucky Number.

 
 
 

About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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