Sunday, October 21, 2012

Friends, Hey V Kay and S.L.F.M. @ Neurolux (10/18/12)

This show caught my attention thanks to an email that I'd received a couple of weeks prior.  The email, which came from a PR agency that represented the Brooklyn-based group Friends, asked if I'd be interested in writing a preview for this show and reviewing it.  After listening to a few of Friends' songs, I most definitely was.  I emailed the agency's representative back and said that I'd be game if I could write an honest review.  To the representative's credit, he consented and put me on the guest list.

I posted a preview on my blog's Facebook page the morning of this show.  When I got down to Neurolux around 8:40 pm, I only counted about twenty people there.  I'm a regular Walter Winchell, I am.  Oh well.  Just goes to show that New York City isn't the only city of things unnoticed.

First up this night was S.L.F.M., a solo musician from Salt Lake City.  I missed the first little bit of her set, but since she averaged something like twenty songs every ten minutes, I didn't feel too bad.  Her manic strumming, cutesy vocals and jagged, goofy punk-tunes were abrasive in a charming way and charming in an abrasive way.  Her amplified ukulele sounded so loud and harsh that I actually put in my earplugs (that's a compliment).

Next up was local electronica group Hey V Kay.  If Snake Rattle Rattle Snake ever comes back to town, they've got their opener right here.  Elegant guitar lines, spare synthesizer hooks and steady dance-beats wrapped around Karen Havey's low, breathy vocals and tormented but tough-minded lyrics.  While her partner worked out some problems with their recorded tracks at one point, Havey played a solo-electric cover of "Toxic" that sounded closer to PJ Harvey than to Britney Spears.  Somber, sexy, astonishingly catchy stuff.  Definitely a group to watch out for.

Friends closed out the night's music.  Performances like this remind me why I started writing reviews of live shows in the first place.  Clad in thrift-store chic and mixing sugary synth-pop with muscular funk, this group ripped through one quirky, playful, irresistible song after the next.  Their cooed vocals, chicken-scratch guitar, dreamy synthesizer and driving, always-on-the-one bass and drums got almost everybody in the bar on their feet and dancing.  Their two singers and their bassist took turns hopping off the stage and mingling with the crowd, and there were plenty of time-outs for warm banter, jokes, slapping of butts, etc.  The small audience grew so ecstatic that lead singer Samantha Urbani asked, "Would you guys just follow us?"  This group would certainly deserve such a following.  Without a doubt, this was one of the best performances that I've seen all year.

You can find info on these groups on Facebook and elsewhere online.  Special thanks to BB Gun Press.

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