REVIEW: FRIENDLY FIRES AT BRISTOL O2 ACADEMY (10/11/11)
The Friendly Fires threesome are finally back on home soil, after months of festivals and world wide touring the trio have returned, headlining their own shows and generally showcasing why they are one of the most exciting live acts our fair shores have produced for some time.
Supported tonight by fast rising dance act SBTRKT, not the obvious choice for a support but by no means and unwelcome one. Providing a delicate contrast to the visceral rhythms and samba beats that would follow from Fires, SBTRKT add a new age vibe that feels all together warming, which I suppose is fitting for the warm up act.
Having first stumbled upon Friendly Fires in the NME tent at Reading Festival back in 2008 and being reunited with them and their new material earlier this year, on the Other Stage at Glastonbury to which I personally witnessed my favorite performance of theirs to date. I was keen to see how they’d handle a room as opposed to a tent or field, they did not fail to disappoint.
Entering with a relentless pace and powering through crowd pleasers ‘Trials of the Past’ and ‘Jump in the Pool’ the agogo bells and shakers are flung around front man Ed’s hypnotic body movements. Of course this unrelenting pace cannot last and it’s not long before the guys get a welcome breather, by this point it looks like the crowd could do with one too as they play the closest thing they have to a ballad in the form of ‘Hurt You More’.
Only after this does the show step up to it’s 5th gear as Ed’s fluid movements both flowing and wet (his shirt, white in colour, so soaked by perspiration it is actually see-through) leads us through ‘Love Sick’ and eventually into newer offerings like ‘Live Those Days Tonight’. The numerous burning LED screens owning the stage, somewhat coincide with the tracks played as moving artwork from the bands latest record is used a backdrop. As well-loved as the new album is, it’s always the older tunes that work the people into a frenzy, with ‘Paris’ being the loudest sing along of the night and closing with the epic ‘Kiss of Life’.
Friendly Fires are showing why they are one live band certainly not to be missed.
Words and photos: Laura Palmer
by 247 Magazine