Friendly Fires @ Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall – 28th April 2009


Friendly Fires are just one of those new bands that pops up out of no-where every so often to capture my heart and my imagination – but blink and you might miss them.  Their self-titled debut album is a sharp blast of 10 perfect poppy electro gems an I was interested to see how it would transalte live.  I guessed it would be a short set so I wasn’t surprised that it was getting on a bit before they graced the stage – but then the whites blazed and there they were – immediately launching into Lovesick (I think!) and sounding loud and punky and gorgeous and edgier than on record.


Frontman Ed McFarlane is an interesting performer – apparently,  I couldn’t see him myself, and to be honest I didn’t care because the sounds were enough to keep me occupied – but my friend commented on his angular, jaunty dance moves and loafer/bare foot combo, adding a welcome and reassuring touch of etccentricty to the proceedings.  The ‘Fires raced through their set with confidence and panache – the crowd were appreciative and encouraging if a little stilted.


Although full of catchy hooks and funky beats, there’s an element to the Friendly Fires sound, buried somewhere in the chord progressions or in the haunting background melodies that sounds a little bit lost to me, a little bit desolate, and this was also brought out during the live show, much to my satsifaction.  White Diamonds was a stand-out track – not one of my favorites on the album – live it gained a new dimension and I now listen to it with fresh ears.  The current single Jump in the Pool was a crowd-pleaser – but over far too briefly for my liking.  I was wishing for an extended carnival-wig-out to go mad to but it was played straight and I couldn’t hide my disappointment.  Still, they certainly left me wanting more,  Their record is never off my stereo and I can’t wait to see them again in the summer – definitely an official ‘New Favourite Band’.


Review – Angela Slater
Photos – Adam Spall

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