Friends @ Urban Lounge with SSION, House of Ladosha

Posted October 22, 2012 in

Brooklyn friends SSION, House of Ladosha and Friends crossed tour paths Wednesday night and treated Salt Lake to a wild night of electrifying pop music. Brooklyn has been the center of music culture for over a decade, and NYC always remains at the top of its game by constantly mutating and attracting fresh musicians and artists from across the land. The performances were a perfect showcase for the artistry that keeps Brooklyn at the top: innovative and fun.

Witch Crunk duo House of Ladosha opened the show with a confident and fun set of visionary, queer hip hop. Dosha Devastation and Cunty Crawford Ladosha met while studying fashion at Parsons School of Design in Manhattan, and started making beats on Garageband in 2007. Ladosha’s name and fierceness was inspired by voguing culture documented in the film Paris is Burning, but their sound bears more resemblance to the funky, witchy rap of emerging queer rap stars such as Mykki Blanco, LE1F and Zebra Katz. The Ladosha brand of spooky hip hop, Southern rap production values, and Dosha’s steady rhymes and fierce performance was on display in songs like “Perched Neva Parched,” “Witches of Bushwick” and in the Ladosha family anthem--“B/M/F”--Black Model Famous. This is the kind of scary-as-hell electronic music that needs to be played everywhere as soon as possible.

SSION is a mutant disco collective fronted by magnetic Kansas City native Cody Critcheloe, which he started while he was at art school there in the late ’90s. SSION (pronounced Shun) came to Salt Lake once before, in 2008, as the opening act for Brazilian electro-pop stars CSS. Their latest, and most assertive album, Bent, features groovy pop disco tunes that spread perfectly to the small but excited crowd. At the onset, Cody established his ferocious stage presence, calling for attention and participation from the audience. Set opener “LISTEN TO THE GIRRRLS” got everybody moving on the floor, and sing-alongs “LUVBAZAAR” “PSY-CHIC” and “EARTHQUAKE” made for one of the most enjoyable pop performances that I’ve seen at Urban. Cody flung himself off the stage to drag a table into the dancefloor, which he summarily mounted to perform the disorienting “FEELZ GOOD (4EVR).” The set culminated with an invasion of the stage by some of Salt Lake’s own young drag artists.

Friends, who opened for Neon Indian at Urban earlier in the year, were tagged onto the SSION show last minute, as their tours momentarily crossed paths. Both bands were performing for each other, just as musicians would back home in Brooklyn, which was not only super sexy, but super special. Samantha Urbani was without co-conspirator Matthew Molnar, but bolstered the travelling band with members of Brooklyn’s Splash- Sasha Desree and Etienne Duguay (also a former member of Real Estate). Friends and Splash are involved with the artistic collective called Vibes Management and Brooklyn venue Body Actualized Center. The “Center” is host to a harmonious medley of yoga practice, live music, raw food preparation and the discussion of metaphysical concepts, a psychedelic, post-Internet community that’s an innovator of the weird cross-pollination of subcultures today.

Urbani mesmerized from the stage, her lyrics devastating concepts of romance in a spectrum ranging from lush snarls to smooth R&B harmonies. Desree fit perfectly into the band’s live performance; while Urbani danced into and with the audience, Desree performed into it, in a glam blouse and heels and a head of luscious flowing locks. Unfortunately, most of the audience had left by the time Friends came on, but their music was perfectly danceable, and songs such as “Friend Crush,” “Va Fan Gor Du” and “I’m His Girl” are perfect pop. I can only imagine the homecoming that these bands will receive once their tours end.
SSION House of Ladosha Friends