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December 5, 2011

Concert Review: Friends / Ganglians – Cincinnati, OH

by @thoughtontracks

I’m not a writer or a music critic, although I’d like to be.  So what I lack in literary talent, I will attempt to make up for with strength of content on Thought on Tracks.  As Rob has graciously allowed me to put my thoughts on his blog, I will do my best to cover my own musical interests along with the music scene from Cincinnati, Ohio.

The latest 2011 buzz band to hail from Brooklyn, Friends, has made a name for themselves over the past few months releasing stellar pop tunes.  The quintet is lead by Samantha Urbani on vocals and features Lesley Hann (bass, percussion, backing vocals), Nikki Shapiro (guitar, keyboards, percussion), Matthew Molnar (keyboards, percussion, bass), and Oliver Duncan (drums).  While the band has yet to release an LP, infectious dance pop singles “Friends Crush” and “I’m His Girl” show the promise of what is to come.

Opening up for Friends at Mayday was Ganglians, a four-piece psychadelic pop band from Sacramento, California.  While I haven’t heard all their albums, I was delighted with their sound.  Highlighted by catchy guitar riffs and loud drums, these guys put on a fun show. The two songs that stood out as their best include “Jungle” and “Hair”.   With each, take that volume knob and turn it up. Listen and download “Jungle”:

Friends hit the stage after and did not disappoint the hype.  I love pop music because it invokes feeling, be it happiness or misery.  Samantha’s vocals have a certain darkness to them, like she is longing for something(one) in every word she sings:

I wanna be your friend
.  I wanna ask your advice on a weekday.  
I wanna plan something nice for the weekend.

We all can relate to wanting friendship and interaction with another and the excitement that comes with meeting someone new.  The angst and longing to learn more, to reach the core of that person’s soul.  “Friends Crush” puts this feeling front and center.

The stories in your hair that you carry all around
.  I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t wanna hear ‘em now
.  The stories in your hair that you carry all around
.  I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t wanna tear it out.

In all, I came away extremely impressed with Friends.  While their set was short, all their material gets your feet moving and it left me with the post-show euphoria any concertgoer can relate to.  They engaged the audience with Samantha even venturing out to dance in the crowd.  And if you aren’t convinced Friends is a band worth listening to yet, they finished off their set covering Ghost Town DJ’s 90’s hit “My Boo”.  Can you really ask for anything more?  Look for their first LP to drop in March of 2012.

Connect with Ganglians via MySpace | Twitter | Facebook

Connect with Friends via Bandcamp | Facebook

Written by Greg Dahman

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