LIVE: FRIENDS / ALUNAGEORGE – 08/05/2012
Disco. It’s a dirty word. People are scared to be associated with it, and I often find myself breaking down the locked doors of people’s closets, and saying, “you don’t have to hide!”
Now is the best time for disco, it is a burst of decadence without the calories or the debt.
But, I sense a timid crowd at Manchester Academy 3 as the funky-hot AlunaGeorge walk on stage. The London pairing of Aluna Francis on scorching vocals and George Reid on synth and bleepy-machine, combine to make a sexy new genre, disco for the Noughty generation. They kick off with the r & b jam of ‘Just a Touch,’ that has a groove that is hard to escape. Aluna is a charismatic commander of the mic with a soulful voice similar to Minnie Ripperton. Just a stunning example of the new class of female front-women that are currently illuminating the scene.
I can feel the disco influences: the hot bass hooks, the string samples and syncopated drum rhythms, but it is a modern interpretation of this ‘dated’ genre. The sample-heavy songs, such as ‘We Are Chosen,’ reflect the sound of post-dubstep producers like James Blake and XXXY that have dominated the club scenes.
As the people get moving… I can see the doors of the closet beginning to open!
Brooklyn five-piece, of three men, two women all Friends, limber-up backstage, and the floor is energised. Some of the audience rush to the edge of the stage, like the Splash Zone at Seaworld they know that something special will happen there, and they all want to be the first to experience it.
Friends jump on stage and give us a taste of their raw and bass driven disco. These are a talented bunch of friends, switching instruments, adding pitch-perfect harmonies. They nearly all play the claves, my favourite bossa-nova essential! The flickers of guitar has touches of Blondie’s ‘Heart of Glass’ era and the fast pace of their music is very early CSS. Fun and sexy.
And sure enough Samatha Urbani seduces the front row, during their cover of Ghost Town DJ’s seductive, ‘My Boo,’ talk about Splash Zone, this is the More Than Friends Zone. The two female Friends attract the most attention, talented musicians and sexy movers. This is what disco is all about.
They close with their best known single, ‘I’m His Girl,’ and Urbani exclaims, ‘come on dance, don’t waste your sweat!’ So as that catchy bass-line wriggles, I see hips move back and forth, as the audience join me outside.
Disco is a dirty word, and that’s why I like it.