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Friendly Fires photos by Rachel Venuti

Friendly Fires

Friendly Fires at the Troubadour, West Hollywood, April 14th, 2009

Apr 15, 2009 Web Exclusive
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The large bouncer in the skin-tight t-shirt is firm but polite as he escorts the young woman out of the front of the club.

“I’m sorry, Ma’am. There’s no alcohol without a wristband,” he sighs. To which she dramatically stomps, “I don’t care about a wristband! I just want justice!”

Tonight, I’m late, just catching the tail end of Hockey’s set from the queue on Santa Monica Boulevard. Mostly pretty young hipsters and older industry folk, the line is formidable but moving efficiently. In a few moments all of us will be crowding around the stage to wait for half an hour’s worth of sweaty adolescent sexuality; slick, bass-driven electropop, and charmingly awkward dancing. All of us, except, of course, for the young woman, who is now nearly hysterical and demanding to see the manager.

Friendly Fires, of St. Albans, U.K., is still riding high on their self-titled debut. The album, released in the fall of 2008, showcases confident, kinetic songwriting that matches their growing reputation for high-octane performances. Frontman Ed Macfarlane’s winking histrionic delivery plays nearly perfectly against the tight, road-honed sounds of Jack Savidge (drums), Edd Gibson (guitar), and Rob Lee (bass) making for a kind of smart, indie-rock response to Duran Duran.

The band takes the stage to a chorus of female screams, and then tears through their album, opening with an excitable version of “Lovesick.” Predictably, the singles (“Skeleton Boy,” “Jump in the Pool,” set closer “Paris”) garner the largest responses but are cleverly parceled out during the show to keep the energy level up. The real standout, “Photobooth,” (“the first song we ever wrote together”) whips the crowd into a bobbing frenzy and the encore, “Ex Lover,” includes a tasteful drum jam and synth-dance freakout highlighted by Gibson’s wireless guitar antics from The Troubadour’s balcony.

As they leave the stage, tossing drumsticks into the crowd, Macfarlane lingers for a moment to bask in the wild applause, then humbly departs. Both the band and the audience are very pleased. Walking back out onto Santa Monica, it occurs to me that everyone, much like the young woman from earlier, seems thirsty for more.

www.wearefriendlyfires.com

Author rating: 8/10




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Nausicrate
January 10th 2011
3:11pm

Mostly pretty young hipsters and older industry folk, the line is formidable but moving efficiently. In a few moments all of us will be crowding around the stage to wait for half an hour’s worth of sweaty adolescent sexuality; slick, bass-driven electropop, and charmingly awkward dancing. “Rolex Prices