Review: Marian Hill Emphasized Dancing and Good Times at Metro

With the amount of pure energy and sound exuding from Marian Hill, it’s easy to forget that the group is actually just a two-person project. But numbers mean little to the duo, who brought their A-game and more when they performed at the Metro. Jeremy Lloyd and Samantha Gongol along with their saxophonist, Steve Davit, proved that two (sometimes three) people are more than enough to put on a powerful and engaging set. The night started off with Michl – a singer and producer who oozes a calm and collected presence. Michl, who is known for his slow-tempo ambient hit "Die Trying," has a quiet charm, speaking rarely and choosing to connect with the audience through his music rather than with his words. At first, he seemed to be an unusual choice to open for a more vibrant group like Marian Hill. However as his set went on, it was clear that Michl was a good match. Though a more laid back musician with a chill vibe, his raw sound and honest lyrics created the perfect balance to the more boisterous headliner. After Michl ended his set, the stage crew hustled to prepare for the main act. Unlike most concerts that tend to have a much longer intermission, Marian Hill’s show wasted no time. When Lloyd and Gongol set foot onstage soon after, everyone in the crowd went wild. The words confident, suave, and seductive are what immediately come to mind when describing Marian Hill – and that’s exactly the aura that radiated from the duo when they began their performance. “Subtle Thing,” the first track off their second studio album titled Unusual, got their show underway and the hypnotic “One Time” came up next. Gongol’s charismatic stage presence stood out immediately as she danced and strutted across the stage. Her voice was soft and alluring, but also strong, instantly commanding your attention. Though Marian Hill got labeled early on as an electro-pop duo, thanks to some of their viral hits, Lloyd and Gongol proved that they’re more than just catchy pop tunes and lyrics. The duo showed off their talent and versatility through songs like "Breathe Into Me" and “Sideways” (slower tracks that are reminiscent of Michl’s smooth style and set) and songs like "Differently" and “Wish You Would,” both more upbeat R&B tracks from Unusual that were clearly influenced by the early 2000s. But the night wasn’t just about showcasing their new music. Lloyd and Gongol also gave the fans what they wanted. The duo closed out their set with a couple of their biggest hits including “Down” and “Got It.” Overall, the setlist was a well-rounded blend between tracks from Unusual and their debut album Act One. Marian Hill showed that a good concert doesn’t always have to be about sharing a message or performing songs with heavy themes. Sometimes it can just be about going out, dancing, and having a good time.
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Pearl Shin