Headliners Sammy Rae & The Friends rocked Infinity Hall on their “Follow Me Like the Moon” tour with an infectiously energizing musical performance in lead singer Sammy Rae’s home state of Connecticut on Thursday, March 24.
Openers Funky Dawgz Brass Band did more than warm up the house — they got everyone, from kids to young adults and even middle-aged couples, dancing like nobody’s watching. Previously performing for sold-out Madison Square Garden audiences, they certainly know a thing or two about performing onstage, and it showed. The talented ensemble embraced a New Orleans-style, R&B-infused sound, complete with saxophones, trumpets and a tuba that not only drove the beat, but rocked a mean solo.
After a brief intermission, the crowd roared as Rae strolled, unaccompanied, across the stage in front of a starry-night backdrop. She commanded the stage with her confident presence, and to the crowd’s delight, began playing the keyboard and singing a gentle, melodious solo, showcasing her incredible vocals. Soon after, she ushered her friends — the rest of the band — on stage.
“There are only a couple rules tonight: Be good to yourselves, be good to those around you, sing as loud as you can …” Rae endearingly addressed the crowd.
The band carries a wide range of talent, consisting of a rhythm and horn section, keyboards and vocals, even making room for a flute appearance. This allows the group to explore a broad range of genres: They focus on classic rock, folk and funk with hints of soul and jazz, resulting in a unique sound that pushes generational bounds and produces music that has the power to please just about anyone.
Apart from genres, the band continues to break boundaries in music. Many of their songs push four to five minutes, opposing the mainstream trend of continuously shortening pop songs to under three or even two minutes. Instead of catering to the one-hit-wonder type centered around a TikTok-famous 10-second chorus, Sammy Rae & The Friends create holistic, full-length pieces in which every second counts.
Rae and her band consider themselves more than bandmates but also friends — as their title suggests — and even family. This bond is apparent onstage — apart from a phenomenal musical performance, the concert felt like watching a group of friends just having fun, doing what they love. The collaboration and appreciation across band members, beyond being admirable, is key to the band’s sound. A cohesive whole, each individual also thrives on their own, highlighted by a section of the concert that showcased solos from every member.
Throughout the show, the band used just the right amount of theatrics and props to enhance the performance without taking away from the group’s talent. Rae opened the band’s single “Jackie Onassis” (2020) by singing, “I’m about to tell a story that I haven’t yet” from a comically large book, and for the band’s 2019 song, “Denim Jacket,” Rae wore, you guessed it, a denim jacket. All while singing, Rae showed off iconic high kicks and even a dance-off with the saxophonist. It’s not just about her though: She always engaged the crowd, teaching us snippets to sing back and forth with the band, making us feel like part of the show — like one of the friends.
From the bilingual song “Creo Lo Sientes (feat. C-Bass)” (2021) to Rae’s unapologetically queer “Jackie Onassis,” Sammy Rae & The Friends cater to a diverse audience. The band’s EP “Let’s Throw A Party” (2021) and their most recent show-stopping single “Follow Me Like the Moon” (2022) are out now.
Check out Sammy Rae & The Friends and Funky Dawgz Brass Band wherever you stream music, and be sure to be on the lookout for tour dates near you!