Last night Emil And Friends entertained the crowd at the Studio at Webster Hall, proving that their friendship is still going strong. The band members separated themselves from the crowd with a miniature city street model, but managed to transform the densely packed studio into an intimate dance party anyway.
Following the ’60s-styled Craig Martinson And The Heartbeats, Emil began the set in his usual fashion: with his rendition of the Temptations’ “Just My Imagination.” According to Emil, the ritual cover is his way of “getting the willies out of the way.” The song immediately revealed the upper range of Emil’s vocal versatility. Clad in all white with a bright-blue bowtie, the vocalist wooed the audience with his soul vibrato and the smooth backing by the Friends, proving the song a worthy tribute to the classic.
Shifting from the melodic feel of his intro, Emil grabbed his guitar and began shredding out the main riff to “Fire Flower.” Several crowd members responded positively, including one who screamed unabashedly, “I like this!” Possibly influenced by the prodding of fans, Emil dove straight into the cause for his recent rise in audience attendance: “Royal Oats.” The familiar chiming synth backed the band as they slam-dunked their respective parts of the track. Complementing the eccentric feel of the song, the lights illuminated themselves to the tempo of the song, giving the audience the feeling that the band was rocking the world.
For those caught up on Breaking Bad, Emil filled the gaps between the songs with his fandom theories about the show, including possible spoilers and concepts that had the audience screaming with excitement and/or frustration, like the Walt-kills-Skyler theory. Emil’s mischievous nature built up the crowd’s expectations, guaranteeing to the audience members that his songs would be just as much fun as his banter.
After only seven songs, the band decided to call it quits for the evening. The sound system techie also seemed confused, informing the band that they still had another 10 minutes before their set was officially over. Even when the crowd began screaming for one more song to top off the night, the band shrugged and turned away from their instruments. Despite the unusual ending, I think most would agree: an Emil And Friends show is just as good as, if not better than, a great Breaking Bad plot twist.