Sammy Rae & The Friends returned to NYC on October 7th, 2021 for a sold-out show at the Brooklyn Steel. This venue was double the size of the group’s previous NYC show at Le Poisson Rouge proving that this collective of eight musicians is rapidly growing in popularity. Sammy Rae & The Friends is fronted by singer and songwriter Sammy Rae, but is made up of a horn section, keyboard, backup singers, and a rhythm section. The group really distinguished itself in 2018 when their EP The Good Life exploded on Spotify. Several of the songs have now hit 4 million streams and “Kick it to Me” is almost at 10 million.
Sammy Rae & The Friends performed for a sold-out crowd and the line to get into the venue stretched all the way down past the concert hall to the end of Frost Street. Around 9 pm Sammy Rae took the stage in a pair of fabulous green pants and the brightest smile on her face. The venue was absolutely packed from wall to wall and the cheers from the crowd were overwhelming. Slowly the other band members took the stage and the cheers got even louder (if it were even possible).
The group brought the most excited, elated, and enjoyable presence to the stage, emulating this good energy onto the entire crowd. The band played all their hits, “Talk it Up” was one of the first in the set and the crowd was energetically dancing by the second line. It’s the perfect mix of jazz, funk, and rock all mixed into one song. Sammy’s voice is somehow the strongest and the gentlest I’ve ever heard and “Talk it Up” perfectly exemplifies all her best vocal qualities. The first few lines felt like the beginning of a bedtime story but then amplified into a whimsical rock ballad. This whimsical feeling was present throughout the entire show for so many wonderful reasons. One being that instead of just talking to the crowd, Sammy sang almost every sentence any regular performer would have just spoken. Even when just asking how people were feeling or explaining her thoughts on being back in NYC, it was always in song.
Another highlight moment of the show was Sammy Rae & Friend’s gorgeous cover of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” which was released on Spotify earlier this year. Everyone in the crowd was singing along and at one point every person had their hands up waving back and forth to the chorus. It was a sweet interlude before the final few songs of the set.
The band also did something unique and interesting to preface the end of their set: Three songs before the finale, the group traveled underneath the venue and popped up in the middle of the crowd to perform on the small stage area. The change in location was a fun and unique change of pace that was quite unexpected. It also allowed the people in the back a more up close and personal view of the performers. However, after two songs they returned to the main stage to finish their two-hour set with the “Let’s Throw a Party” off their new album and, of course, the always wonderful “Kick it to Me”. There wasn’t a soul in the crowd who wasn’t dancing. Two hours never felt so short.
Undoubtedly the best part of the whole concert was the undeniable charm and excitement Sammy Rae & The Friends brought to the stage. You couldn’t have asked for a happier, more grateful group of musicians. They all brought such incredible cheer to the stage and seemed to have such a blast doing what they love for their fans. When speaking to the crowd, Sammy’s personality was undeniably genuine and the whole group was sparkling with joy the entire night.