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Gallery: Sammy Rae & The Friends Bring It On Home to New Haven

Manic Presents: Camp, The Tour February 10th, in New Haven, Connecticut

Words and Photos by: Chantel Malin | @chantelmalin

Sammy Rae & The Friends are quickly gaining notoriety for their infectious joy, tangible in their lively and heartfelt music that translates equally well to the stage. Hailing from Bridgeport, the band was originally scheduled to make their hometown debut at last year's Sound on Sound Festival; their set ended up getting rained out, but the few-months delay of their homecoming did nothing to dampen the excitement of their fans.

CT-based brass band Funky Dawgz opened the evening with a blend of originals and funk-infused covers of past and present hits. A jazzy twist on your typical pop or rock performance, it's all but impossible not to have a smile on your face as the six-piece band played their upbeat set.

Even before Sammy Rae & The Friends hit the stage, it was clear to see there was an evening of whimsy ahead; in keeping with the "camp" tour theme, the brand brought along all sorts of vines and foliage to adorn the stage, alongside trailheads, lanterns, and a tent. Singer Sammy Rae made sure to express her deep love for her hometown, wearing a t shirt emblazoned with the 203 area code across the back, as well as mentioning how she has a tattoo of the three numbers, went to high school a town over in Hamden, and how she had always viewed playing College Street as a big "we made it" moment.

The band played through nearly two hours of music; in the middle of the set, they brought it down for an acoustic portion, which included "The Feeling," "Kick It To Me," and "The Box," the latter of which had Rae on the banjo. Funky Dawgz returned to the stage for a cover of Jet's "Are You Gonna Be My Girl?" just before The Friends let their audience in on a secret in the form of a forthcoming new song titled "Thieves," followed by a medley of "Denim Jacket" and "Good Life."

The encore saw Rae solo on the guitar for the live debut of "State Song," a love letter to her home back east, followed by a cover of ABBA's "Lay All Your Love On Me" before closing with the aptly titled "Coming Home Song."

Check out the full gallery of Sammy Rae & The Friends below!


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