Friends Lee's Palace, Toronto ON June 15

Friends Lee's Palace, Toronto ON June 15
Here's an incomplete list of 1980s female pop superstars: Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Tiffany, Debbie Gibson and Belinda Carlisle. Throw in a dash of Kate Bush and a bit of Debbie Harry, and you start to get a sense of Friends' singer Samantha Urbani's aesthetic and sound. Still, the fallback comparisons fail to express her winking, stage-prowling persona and in-crowd dancing that is, naturally, best appreciated live. A five-piece with an ADD record collection, her band burned through an eclectic, joyful set that touched on everything from Blondie and Fab Five Freddy to Sly and the Family Stone and early Prince. An onstage party, replete with bongos (of course), cowbell (which, as the axiom goes, no one can ever get enough of) and unabashedly '80s wardrobe choices, it had an inherent goofiness that never treaded too close to kitsch.