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Review: The City and Horses at The Friars Club

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

The whimsical indie band celebrated their album release at the historic NYC club.

In this article…

When you think of the famed Friars Club in New York City, the names that come to mind are Milton Berle, Jerry Lewis, Frank Sinatra, Don Rickles, Lucille Ball and the countless stars that have graced the venue. 

The last thing that might come to your mind is indie music, but that was on full display Tuesday night as Paper Garden Records band The City and Horses celebrated their release of their new album Strange Range in the hallowed comedy halls along with DJ sets from Popwell and the immortal Andrew W.K.

As the band noted, there is a slight tangential connection between the Milton Berle room, which they played in, and their discography. One of their songs, “Company Ink,” makes a clever Milton Berle reference (rhyming “Berle-esque” with “burlesque” from the first verse). That kind of witty lyricism could be found throughout their songs and was just one part of what made the band so much fun to listen to.

The high range of the vocals for the entire band, starting with lead singer/guitarist Marc and leaking into flutist Domenica and drummer Chris. Those lyrics melded with the orchestral sounds of the flute and saxophone. It isn't a blend you hear too often, but they made it sound so good, I wonder why more bands don't utilize these instruments. Much of their material was mellow with an easy-going quality to it, especially a song like “This is Manhattan” (which you can check out below): 

While mellow was a theme for much of their material, they got really dance-y with a lot of their stuff. The flute and saxophone really come to life, and we were treated to several dazzling solos (and combos) from these instruments. The audience responded by hitting the small dance floor in front of the band to really let loose.

After their short set, the enigmatic Andrew W.K. took over on the DJ table. On Sunday, he played drums for 24 straight hours. The following night, he played a show. Here he was on Tuesday night ready to throw in a DJ set where he proceeded to bump tunes ranging from Lil Wayne to Juicy J. Let that sink in: Andrew W.K. DJing in The Friars Club playing songs like “Stuntin' Like My Daddy.” It was definitely one of the most surreal moments of my concert-going life, especially when you couple factor in his bolting downstairs to read a magazine in the lobby while wearing his sunglasses.

This band is light, whimsical and one of those bands that puts a smile on your face. They are a group that makes fun music and seems to have just as much fun playing it. You can't ask for much more than that out of a band.

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