Friendly Fires – [Live]

Sunday, 26 October 2008

After a brief freak-out session thinking that I was going to miss the one new band that I’ve wanted to see live, Friendly Fires were scheduled to start at 10:30, not 10, as I’d originally thought. Believe me, this would’ve really pissed me off. And the only thing I could blame would be anyone who attended the Family Force Five show next door at House of Blues because the line for the valet was 10-deep with teens waiting for their Toyota Matrix or whatever. Needless to say, I made it just in time.

Friendly Fires features Ed Macfarlane (or, Ed Mac) on vocals and keyboards, Edd Gibson on guitar, Jack Savidge on drums and some random fourth dude who helped out on bass, cowbell, percussion and vocals. They’re on tour with Lykke Li, but it’s hard to tell if the people were there early to get a good spot, not knowing who Friendly Fires were, or they got there early because of how good Friendly Fires is.

I live in the U.S., so I wasn’t privy to their debut album until September of this year and I would have to guess that over the past month the boys from St. Albans in Hertfordshire, England, haven’t yet earned a crowd of this size. But, from the reaction of the crowd, Friendly Fires’ merch booth was probably, ahem, on fire.

They played a majority of their stellar self-titled debut, including “In the Hospital,” which is superfunky and swingin’ and has one of the catchiest melodies ever recorded. They remind me a bit of !!!, WhoMadeWho and only a tiny bit of LCD Soundsystem only because of the way they use percussion live. Speaking of, “Paris” might be the best example of how layered their songs can get. Reverbed guitars, synths, drummer, percussionist and some serious vocals belting out a promise that after many attempts Paris is finally gonna happen. It might be good to point out that during this song a lucky fan got to freak with Ed Mac after he jumped from the stage to the floor.

Fusing disco, house, funk, shoegaze and pop, Friendly Fires’ charged through “In the Hospital,” “On Board,” “Photobooth,” and the song that made me a fan, “Jump in the Pool.” Song after song, a shoeless Ed Mac left it all out there. They all did for that matter. It’s been months since I’ve been this excited to see a band live and I was not even close to let down. They captured the energy of the record and then some. I feel bad for Lykke Li because Friendly Fires are a hard act to follow.


Friendly Fires is out now on XL Recordings. Buy it on

Friendly Fires – “Jump in the Pool” – [mp3]

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