TVD Live: Friends at
The Fox Theater, 10/23

Last week in San Francisco I am 100% sure I saw the next big thing. The band is called Friends and they sound like a cross between My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult and Blondie with a touch of Rhianna. Imagine a live band that takes the best of post-disco, 60s girl groups, 80s one-hit wonder catchy-ness, and then adds a modern flare while turning it up to eleven. It’s rock, it’s soul, it’s trip hop, it’s disco, it’s fucking amazing.

Friends is a Brooklyn based retro-pop group named after Brian Wilson’s favorite Beach Boys album, and they have already been highlighted as the new band of the day by The Gaurdian UK. Their first single from the new album “Mind Control” was mixed by studio heavyweight Paul Epworth (Adele, Foster the People, Florence + the Machine) and named the “Hottest Record in the World” by BBC Radio One presenter Zane Lowe (and we all know that the UK are usually one step ahead of us on the buzz bands).

The show opens with Lesley Hann coming out in full on “I’m ready for my close up” garb to a groove that is rock n roll, laced with pure rhythmic, sassy funk-pop. Then the real fun begins. Lead vocalist Samantha Urbani graces the stage with curly locks covering her face resembling a child of the of 80s of sorts. She then takes that vibe up a notch adding her own persona which is somewhere between Lisa Lisa and early Madonna. It works brilliantly and adds to the versatility of the band; right when you think you have them figured out, they throw you a musical genre-bending curve-ball.

Throw in some congas, a seriously funky awkwardly perfect bass player, a solid beat slaying drummer ,and a keyboard/ guitar combo from some sort of fiery dance club in hell. That should be enough to get you over to their website to check out my favorite track of the year, the lo-fi genius that is “I’m His Girl.”

The only thing negative I can say about this band is that their set was clearly not long enough as they were the opener this evening. They had the sold out crowd in the palm of their hands and absolutely blew the headliner off the stage. I am not sure the crowd knew what to do with themselves after witnessing one of the best live performances I have seen this year. I can guarantee you that everyone in attendance is still talking about Friends, and the incredible stand out performance from a band that you will surely be hearing more about.

Their new record is called Manifest and it is brilliant. I suggest you buy this one on vinyl now and get one step ahead of the hipsters who will discover it any day now and say they told you so.

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