A packed, but somewhat inattentive crowd, greeted Connecticut-bred openers Opia on Tuesday night at the TLA. The duo performed tracks from their upcoming EP, like “Secrets” and “Falling.” It’s clear that they haven’t yet made a name for themselves here in Philadelphia, but their set this week likely earned them a slew of new fans, with their upbeat and energetic performance.
After a lengthy setup, it was finally time for the night’s headliners to take the stage. Emerging from two canvas structures, Jeremy Lloyd and Samantha Gongol were met with thundering applause as their silhouettes appeared on stage.
Things have certainly changed since Marian Hill made their debut on the Boot & Saddle stage back in 2014 to a half-packed audience. A medley of festival performances, appearances on late night television, decent radio play and, of course, that recent Apple commercial have all served to escalate the band’s popularity. And that was absolutely evident on Tuesday night, where it felt like all of Philadelphia had turned out to support their hometown favorites. The Haverford High School alumni received an enthusiastic welcome from their Philly fanbase, and kicked things off in full force with their infectious track, “Down,” which they would also use to close out the evening.
From “Lips” to “Good” (a song about being in a relationship for far too long), the duo transitioned easily from one song to the next, rarely pausing to chat with the crowd.
In fact, the first time we heard from Lloyd was half way through the set when he introduced the very first song the duo ever wrote, “Whisky,” whose chorus. “Throw it back, throw it back,” was all the more relevant. Wasting no time at all, they immediately transitioned into “Lovit,” another favorite from their 2015 release Sway.
The evening itself was a solid mix of old and new, with a fair showing of tracks from their newly released ACT ONE. The pair seem to have grown far more comfortable with their stage presence, carving out their own spaces on stage. But the real MVP of the night was saxophonist Steve Davit, who joined Marian Hill on Tuesday. The tracks he featured on, like “Mistaken” and “oh yeah i love u” were overwhelmingly favored by the crowd, as compared to the more slowed-down numbers that relied solely on Gongol’s vocals. It was there that Marian Hill lost the attention of the crowd, as they became suddenly reminded of the TLA’s club atmosphere. The songs were undoubtedly good, but they lost a bit of their steam when performed to a rowdy audience looking to dance.
Midway into the set, Gongol slowed things down a bit once more with a beautiful rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” which at first seemed lost on the raucous crowd. But quickly proving her vocals are nothing to sleep on, Gongol won their attention and had the whole crowd swaying and singing along.
At the end of the night, Gongol took a moment to reflect on the tragedy in Manchester the night before, thanking everyone once again for coming out, especially in light of recent events. All in all, it was a lovely evening, highlighted by standout performances from this hometown duo. And Marian Hill definitely haven’t forgotten where they came from, with Lloyd remarking at the show’s close that it “always feels so good to come home.” And, for Philadelphians, it was great to welcome them home again.
I Know Why
I Wanna Dance With Somebody (cover)
Take Your Time
I Want You
oh yeah i love u
Talk To Me