Friends - The Other Rooms, Newcastle

It’s bank holiday weekend, and whilst the majority of Newcastle are still getting ready for a liver-wrenching night out on the Toon, we are headed to Times Square’s The Other Rooms for an evening of girl power. Tonight sees Brooklyn five-piece Friends embark on the second leg of their nine day UK tour, ahead of several European festival appearances this summer.

First up though, is singer-producer duo Aluna Francis and George Reid, conveniently named AlunaGeorge, playing a set of futuristic 2-step-fuelled R&B. After blowing most of the crowd away with her voice and (as a woman I feel like I can say this without sounding too much like a perve), her body, Aluna joins the crowd and George disappears before Friends arrive to play one of the most fun-filled sets The Other Rooms has seen in a long while.

Playing a selection of their recent single releases, a few songs from their upcoming album Manifest, and an excellent cover of Ghost Town DJs’ ‘My Boo’, Friends are heading the revival of fun-but-not-too-bubblegum indie-pop, encapsulating perfectly the sexual bolshiness that can work so well for female fronted bands. There isn’t an extortionate amount of people present tonight, and although it’s disappointing to see such great music being played to so few, it does give everyone a bit of room to dance. As the drink steadily flows, the dancing changes - much to front-woman Samantha Urbani’s delight – from the generic bobbing up and down and nodding of heads, to full-blown shaking and grooving.

Urbani is somewhat of a spectacle; whilst Aluna Francis was ridiculously hot, this girl is ridiculously cool, from her Madonna-circa-‘Into the Groove’ messy ponytail, right down to her cannabis print socks. During ‘Friend Crush’ she slinks off the stage, dancing and grinding with unsuspecting crowd-goers, singing into their necks with fearless abandon. Band-mates Nikki Shapiro, Matthew Molnar and Lesley Hann remain vacant and silent throughout, letting Urbani take center-stage and passing around their instruments in between every song. After a last encore it’s all over rather too quickly and, discontent with retreating to our beds, in true Geordie style, we’re off to throw as much alcohol down our necks as possible.

Last updated: 18/04/2018 08:39:13

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