I can say with certainty that the Sammy Rae & the Friends concert I attended at the 9:30 club was one of the most upbeat concerts I have ever attended. The band fostered a positive and inclusive atmosphere with a show that included dancing, costume changes, and incredible vocals. Even the band’s introductions – fit into the song “I Wanna Be Friends with You” – set the tone for the concert, making the audience feel like part of their group of friends.
The band of seven kicked off the show starting with a stripped version of “The Feeling,” beginning with just the incredible lead singer Sammy on the keyboard, then morphing into a spirited chorus. They followed this with their latest release, “Follow Me Like The Moon.” Their groovy, jazzy, rhythms were impossible not to dance to. This started off a series of similarly upbeat songs – “Whatever We Feel,” “Talk it Up,” and “Jackie Onassis.” “Jackie Onassis” was definitely one of the most fun songs to watch, featuring dancing by the members of the band, several costume elements and changes, as well as props. And even though it has such an upbeat feel, it still grapples with a personal story for the lead singer, about growing up and coming to terms with sexuality and identity.
They broke out of the more lighthearted rhythm for a Chicago cover of “25 to 6 to 4” and their somewhat angsty song “Flesh and Bone” – which had some incredible vocals by Sammy Rae. This was followed by “Good Life” and their most sentimental song, “Living Room Floor.” I think this song really gets to the core of their self-loving emphasis – “I am in my own lane, I will not let myself down/I am in my own place, I am my own house.”
They ended off this first part of the set with the namesake for their 2021 EP “Let’s Throw A Party” which switched between a calmer, melodic part, and the “party.”
The band returned for a highly demanded encore with a beautiful banjo cover of Nick Drake’s Pink Moon – in honor of its 50th anniversary – and then their most famous song “Kick It To Me.”
Overall, the Friends really created a show that was just fun – and as cheesy as it sounds they did create such a pleasant and friendly atmosphere. It definitely felt like an escape from the outside world.
It’s been about a week and I truly can’t stop listening to their music, my favorites are “The Feeling” and “Jackie Onassis!” Check out Sammy Rae & The Friends on Spotify and definitely see them in concert if they perform in your neck of the woods!