Marian Hill has never had an issue defining their sound and standing out from their peers. The Philadelphia-based duo consisting of vocalist Samantha Gongol and producer Jeremy Lloyd continue to bridge genres with very minimalist electro-pop backdrops, velvety blues vocals, and early R&B influences. Touring with current collaborator and multi-instrumentalist, Steve Davit, the collective graced their home stage this past Friday, October 14th, at Union Transfer to give fans the proper show they’ve been waiting for from the local underdogs.
With the release of their new album, Act One, fans are seeing a whole new side of Marian Hill, with more complex imagery and an exploration of that signature sound that the first official release, Sway, teased with only seven songs.
The band started with “Down” the opening track from their new release, a seamless introduction to prompt the evening with it’s slow starting piano melody and soft spilling vocals by Gongol, followed by an immediate bass drop to set the tone for the night. Davit flattered each song with perfectly timed sax riffs that contrast and compliment the bass drops of songs like “Wild,” “Mistaken,” and “Talk to Me.” One of the more symphonic and bounce-heavy tracks, “Sad Song,” embraced their inner R&B which segued into a contemporary cover of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” This then led to a ten-minute jam session between Lloyd and Davit while Gongol worked the crowd into participating in clapping along to every tap of the high hat throughout.
With the majority of the set comprising of nearly every song from their new release, the final course gave fans everything they missed from the first EP, Sway, finishing the main set with their intoxicating bebop single “Got It,” and closing out the encore with favorites “Whiskey,” “Lovit,” and “One Time.”
With colorful lights in rotation and the band’s logo adorned on a Gatsby-esque backdrop, the mood brings to mind the visual style and bluesy jazz adventures of the roaring 20’s. Like the score-heavy 2013 film, The Great Gatsby, Marian Hill continues to fuse the voice and energy of the past while creating their own romantic drama with Act One, an ever-evolving unique sound that has primed fans for what lies in future Acts to come.