Gig Review... Friendly Fires @ 02 Brixton Academy, London, 25th November 2011

This has been an incredible year for the St. Albans trio. 'Pala' is one of the top albums of the year and the band have had sell out shows across most of their UK tour. I have been lucky enough to catch the boys 3 times this year. Some call me obsessed but they have been 3 of my favourite moments of 2011. The combination of the atmosphere in the crowd, the eye candy, the hypnotic bright lights and fantastically engineered Indie-Pop music. Front man Ed has a unique presence on stage and you couldn’t miss the magnetizing shapes he pulls from a mile away.

Due to popular demand Friendly Fires occupied Brixton Academy for 3 whole nights. I bagged tickets for the first announced gig on Friday 25thNovember. Brixton is the largest venue I have experienced Friendly Fires, and even with only 2 albums under their stylish belts the guys and their accompanying brass band had no problem igniting up the Academy by performing banger after banger.

Opening the show with 'Lovesick', you would never have thought that just over a week before Brixton Friendly Fires had to cancel a string of shows due to Ed's health. The front man sent it, belting out the chorus at once with moves to match. Keeping with the first album, the next track was my personal Friendly Fires fave 'Jump In The Pool'. Jack's amazing drum work really stood out for me in this rendition. Then a conga of jewelled ladies donning tails of feathers evocative of the Pala parrot came out for a Samba remix to the end of the song.

Image (c) Krystelle Kubicki

Friendly Fires introduced Brixton to the latest album 'Pala' with the big songs 'Running Away' and 'Blue Cassette'. I have to give props to Diz-Co Lighting Design for the incredible visuals for the shows. The suited disco light set for the funky 'True Love' put an edge to the song that made me fall in love with it all over again.

The guys then played between the two albums, both being equally received by the audience with shaking hips, arms in the air and mass sing-alongs, or was that just me? For the infectious 'On board' Jack comes away from drums for some cowbell banging while the Balearic 'Chimes' gives you a taste of Ed's vocal range. It's no surprise that 'Skeleton boy' always gets a huge reaction from the crowd, with its electro-funk and poppy lyrics. Then Energy came down for 'Show me Lights', 'In the Hospital' and 'Pala', then came straight back in our faces for the first release off Pala, 'Live Those Days Tonight'.

One of my most memorable moments from the gig was during the enchanting 'Hurting', where Ed stood on a disco lit box with smoke blasting up from it, showing off his signature moves to the max, all very Marilyn Monroe-esque. Friendly Fires ended the main set with the gorgeous 'Paris' and 'Pull me back to Earth'.

For the encore the guys quickly returned blasting out ‘woooop woooop woooop durrrr-um ping’ through the Academy. Which some may recognise as the intro to Hawaiian Air. If you followed Friendly Fires throughout the festival season, live or on the telly box, you were probably expecting a string of beautiful Hawaiian costumed ladies to appear on stage. And right so, because that is exactly what we got at Brixton too. Then the cowbells came back out for 'Kiss of Life' to draw a close on the monumental night.

Gig Review written by - Krystelle Kubicki

Friendly Fires - Hurting (Dezlin Rework) by DEZLIN