Smile Politely

Girls Next Door, Sunset Stallion: Canopy Club, Sept. 19 2008

I have been to a few Sunset Stallion shows in the past few months since they formed, and although the first and second may have had a few little kinks in the set, they quickly formed into a band that promises a straightforward performance without blips that another band as young as Sunset Stallion may have. Granted, all have either past or current connections to other local performers, I still congratulate this indie-rock band on their rapid ascendance into the Champaign-Urbana music scene.

At their Friday afternoon Canopy Club performance, as part of the Pygmalion Music Festival, it was obvious that the band is very comfortable with themselves as a cohesive group. Vocalist, Hannah Newman, has a confident stage presence while Chad Warner brings the other band members and the audience into conversation making the entire show very intimate and comfortable.

After Sunset Stallion’s 30 minute set, the a cappella group, Girls Next Door, performed. Sunset Stallion’s singer, Newman, also sang a few leading roles in the GND performance. The girls diverted away from the stereotype of a ‘pretty’ choir performance and added in quirky versions of M.I.A’s “Paper Planes,” Lily Allen’s “Smile” and a Spice Girls’ song.

However, their quirks aren’t anything new. The Girls Next Door began their first group in 1971, and since then has been performing pop, jazz, rock and even some country tunes. They have six albums listed on their website with the first from 1995, Heaven, to the most recent from 2006, Peace.Love.GND, featuring “Oops! I Did It Again,” “Happy Together” and a “Madonna Medley.”

The girls perform in local competitions and concerts with other area a cappella groups such as Xtension Cords and The Other Guys, but the group are not strangers to the Canopy Club stage. This past March, the girls opened with a “One Night Only” Cabaret show opening for a Santa CD release show. Although that show was on a Friday night and drew a larger crowd, the audience this past Friday afternoon was filled predominately with friends and family, though the personalities of the girls were easily recognizable producing a few laughs and smiles throughout the show.

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