Review of Girl Friend Gig at Manchester’s Ruby Lounge
On Saturday April 11th Manchester’s hidden haven of live music, The Ruby Lounge, played host to the city’s very own indie pop success Girl Friend. This was to be their first show of a long UK tour and as the venue slowly began to fill, I wondered what to expect. With such an enigmatic sound of perfect vocals and well placed synth the question of how this act would translate to the stage was at the forefront of my mind. Would the singers hit every haunting note? Would there be a keystroke out of place? Could this act with such an eye for musical detail pull it off on stage?
The stage and crowd of supportive family and friends and curious new comers had been warmed up well with the indie rock madness of Moscow Transport and lively quirkiness of Bete but now it was time for my questions to be answered. They emerged in to view under bright lights, three of the four members in sparkly attire (the fourth choosing a long multi-chain necklace as his sparkly contribution).
Aesthetically, Girl Friend is a very glamorous band. Their appearance is just as detailed as their music with not a single thing out of place. Immediately they jumped in to their set list, belting out a crowd favourite ‘You Lead the Way’. All of my previous questions were quickly answered, and any concerns I’d had on how this act would transfer to the stage musically vanished.
Vocally I was astonished with Amory Neish, whose voice was just as hauntingly perfect as I’d heard on their latest EP ‘Arrive Alone, Leave Alone’. In fact, the whole band played their parts perfectly, bringing each track to life. ‘Monte Carlo’, my personal favourite Girl Friend track and a song I believe will bring them great success, had the whole room dancing and singing along – crowd and band in a blissful little bubble of beats and head bops.
There wasn’t a still body on the floor. Track by track they pulled off each part of their set list beautifully with not a single flaw in sight. And if there were any musical mishaps, they certainly covered them well. As Girl Friend are a relatively new band with little live experience together, a lack of stage presence is something to be expected.
Singer Amory Neish does have the ability to be a confident front man and this he was able to show well. The rest of the band were very focused on their own parts, and though this probably contributed to that perfect sound, it would have been nice to see a little more interaction with each other.
That being said this is the only negative of this act, and it’s not even that much of a negative. Really it’s a struggle to find anything wrong with this band. All in all they were everything I’d hoped for and I’m sure the rest will come in time. With a full UK tour ahead of them, they’ve certainly got the time to work and grow and reach their potential.
1 You Lead the Way
2 Style and Substance
5 Monte Carlo
6 Everybody wants to be Wanted
7 Good Morning
8 Arrive Alone, Leave Alone
9 Chemical Reaction
Band Line Up
Amory Neish-Melling – lead vocals
Jake Ward – keys/guitar/vocals
Sam Dabrowski – drums
Eleanor Neish-Melling – backing vocals
Review by Hev Bailey