Friendly Fires - Rock City, Nottingham 19/12/11
Photography by Ben Harris
Friendly Fires, the trio from St Albans, were elevated to super-stardom in 2011. The release of their second studio album, Pala, and some memorable performances at Glastonbury and Reading, have really put the band bang on the spectrum. As if they weren’t already there.
On what can be described as a typical English winter night, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs (TEED) certainly livened the place up, with his summery inspired electronica. As the masses flocked in it, some were donning “hawaiian themed” shirts, shorts and in one case - sunglasses. Friendly Fires going into the fashion world? I think not.
The main event ensued, with Friendly Fires taking to the stage, accompanied by two trumpeters. For a band with a relatively new album out, starting with 'Lovesick', one of the first songs to circulate off their debut LP, was somewhat surprising. It did however, have the desired affect, creating a raucous of dancing fans. From then on in, there was no pause. Literally. With fan-favorite 'Jump In The Pool' and latest single, 'Blue Cassette', the adoring crowd were engulfed into a tropical sea, full off powerful synth and blinding lights. Time to Breathe.
'Live Those Days Tonight' fired the band back into action, with the crowd chanting back to lead singer Macfarlane “I’ll live, I’ll live, I’ll live." However, in some cases the catchy pop sounds lack a little bit of depth. With some of Friendly Fires songs live, you try to submerse yourself deep into the depths but end up lingering around the surface. Tracks like 'Hurting' and 'Show Me Lights' dwindled the crowds attention, with people getting out their iPhones to send what would only be a non-important email. It was nearly Christmas for godsake.
Attention is soon re-drawn with 'Paris' and then the predictable, yet ever-so-exciting encore. For me, 2011’s best summer anthem in 'Hawaiian Air' and then the never-ending version of 'Kiss Of Life'. In my opinion, the drop which leads into the drum solo is one of the most amazing things Friendly Fires have ever done. Then again, small things excite simple minds. Ahem.
For Friendly Fires, what is next? I don’t know. Personally, I’d love to see them take a new direction. It would be a risk but it would add a bit more variation to their live show. Maybe this will happen, who knows. What I do know, is that Friendly Fires make bloody catchy pop songs and put a great deal of energy in them. Seeing Friendly Fires soon? Don’t expect a Winter Wonderland. Gear up for a Hawaiian Holiday.
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