ALBANY — When Philly’s Marian Hill settled in at Lucky Strike Social on this Monday eve, singer Samantha Gongol, producer Jeremy Lloyd and utility player Steve Davit schooled us in their indisputably sexy sound. Jazz sensibility, infused with electronic beats and samples complimenting its synth and sax heavy pop. All riding on those sultry Etta James meets Norah Jones vocals of Gongol.
Lloyd and Gongol met in school where they starred opposite each other in a production of The Music Man. Samantha played Marian and Jeremy played Harold Hill. Little did they know, 10 years later they’d use the name Marian Hill as their moniker.
First off, if you’ve never been to Lucky Strike Social’s Jupiter Room, you owe it to yourself even if it means you have to venture in and out of the mall. The room is truly a great performance space and once inside you quickly forget you’re in a mall. The lighting, sound and special effects are all top notch. We were accidently treated to fake snow during the openers set but then the weather improved and with a flick of a switch we had lights instead of snow.
Marian Hill opened with “Down” off of its recent full length, “Act One” and gave us a great sample of the night to come. Its single “One Time” followed and the near capacity crowd was suddenly all in. As Marian Hill meandered through its 14-song set it seemed that every song is jazzier, sexier and more sultry than the next. The live sax and bass combined with the synthetic elements and constructed beats gave this sound a real authenticity. I could have just as easily been in an old, smoky jazz club watching a trio instead of this electronic production before me. Lloyd and Davit gave us a little instrumental that was super tight and entertaining before they finished off the set with “I Want You,” its track that’s currently in heavy rotation and was mostly responsible for the large crowd on hand. And the set closed with “Got It” which was featured in a Taco Bell commercial that the crowd was clearly familiar with. Marian Hill did come back out and delivered an encore that included “Whisky” which was the single that started this “saxy,” electro, jazz, soul train rolling. The encore finished with Lovit and back into a second version of “One Time.” Hey, you have to give the people what they want and no one can dispute that Marian Hill did just that on this Monday night.