Local Bands Impress at Raven

On March 16, some of Oswego States’ favorite sons took to the stage to perform at a local hotspot.

Our Friends Band teamed up with fellow musical acts Show Me Bulldog and Soul Underground to produce an evening of rock, funk, blues and all around good times. The trio performed in front of about 100 people at The Raven in downtown Oswego.

Show Me Bulldog opened the show, and got the crowd into it right away with their fresh take on the popular Gorillaz’s hit “Clint Eastwood.” Along with several other covers, Show Me Bulldog showed off some of their original tunes such as “Lazy” and “Backroom.” Those in attendance were treated to several hearty jams, courtesy of guitarist/lead vocalist Kevin Thomas, bassist Dan LoParco, guitarist/backing vocalist Dan Nicolai and drummer Josh Androff.

Soul Underground kept everybody on their feet with their unique blend of dance, rock and funk. Drummer Manny Greene laid the foundation for lead singer Matt Baluyot’ s smooth vocals. Soul Underground blends together a diverse and refreshing mix of musical styles. According to their Facebook page, the band’s goal is to “move your hips and inspire your mind.” A goal they did not fall short of.

Headliner Our Friends Band kept the good vibes going all evening long, playing such crowd pleasers as “Can’t Find My Shoe,” “No Holds Barred”, “Image,” and “Give it Funk.” Each of the songs mentioned above can be found on Our Friends Band’s new self-titled album. The album is available for streaming on the band’s Facebook page, and is also available on Spotify.

The self-proclaimed “groove-rockers” are comprised of lead guitarist/vocalist Sean McNamara, bassist Taylor Ricks, drummer Trevor Reynolds, and trumpet player Everett Hook. Each member of Our Friends Band is a recent Oswego State graduate, and the foursome is hoping that the performance at the familiar venue will kick-start some well deserved buzz for their new album.

The album itself does not disappoint. If you’re a fan of funk, this album is definitely worth more than one listen. And if you’re not a fan of funk, Our Friends Band may just be able to change that.

The album’s third track “Can’t Find My Shoe” features lyrics so inescapably catchy, they refuse to leave your head for at least the week (not that you’d want them to). The song “Give it Funk” serves as a seven-minute long tribute to the genre that is its namesake. Ricks and McNamara put the crowd in a state of funk trance just so that Hook’s trumpet crescendos can set them free again. The track “No Holds Barred” is split into two parts, which bookend the album. While some tracks are more engaging than others, the album still retains a nice cohesiveness throughout.

Our Friends Band will be performing live April 11 at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Rochester, and will be back in Oswego to perform at Old City Hall on May 4.