Friends & Aluna George - King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow, Mon 7 May
Disco-tinged set of dazzling pop music
‘Come closer,’ beckons Friends’ enigmatic frontwoman Samantha Urbani, as the Brooklyn quintet make their Glasgow debut. She means it too: blink and next thing, she’s on the floor, shimmying up to an exhilarated crowd. If the intimate touch hints at a house party atmosphere, which Friends also exude through their thrift store image and laid-back attitude, it’s blown away by an ability to generate dazzling pop music.
A fearless creature on stage, Urbani’s caterwauling vocal is shaken up by her multi-instrumented bandmates: a rotating music box of tambourine, drums, maracas, retro guitar riffs and melodic keyboard. The disco-tinged set crosses several genres, from the summery, psychedelic funk of biggest hit ‘Friend Crush’ to a sublime cover of 90s Ghost Town DJs ‘My Boo’, pushing plush grooves and darkly tribal tracks from the band’s soon to be released debut LP Manifest!
If there’s a criticism, it’s that it’s too brief. After 45 minutes it’s time for an aftershow ‘chat’ – but not before ‘I’m His Girl’ earns them the biggest round of cheers.
Supporting Brit hip hop/R&B duo Aluna George should also receive a mention, in particular the soulful vocal of hypnotic singer Aluna Francis, who performs through a lighting blackout without faltering. Check out their recent electronic earworm, ‘Just a Touch’ [below], if the hype hasn’t already reached you.