[GIG REVIEW] Fickle Friends with KYKO @ 100 Club, London, 27th April 2016

The 100 Club, one of London’s premier and historical venues sits obliviously amongst the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street. Positioned awkwardly next to an Anne Summers, the downstairs establishment is only noticeable due to the growing queue outside. This week on the 27th April, it was home to lively Brighton five-piece Fickle Friends and the talented KYKO as support.

KYKO, aka Scott Verrill, is a South London raised musician far beyond his years. Fusing funky rhythms and relatively soulful lyrics, the youngster revels in the experience and can only come across as casually confident. Backed by a full band, the multi-instrumental Verrill explores African drum beats, summery melodies whilst maintaining a minimalist, lo-fi indie core. The result is something that has gained traction on BBC Introducing lately, and would not be out of place on a Made In Chelsea soundtrack (you know, that sort of thing). Running through tunes such as ‘Mexico’ and ‘Native’, the set is fun and bouncy, with the only pause being for some punter to fall off his mate’s shoulders.
The night does however belong to Fickle Friends. Only just returning to the UK, the band are backed with pink and blue and a new lighting rig evoking an 80s brand to match the evolving indie-pop. Taking to the stage, the band launch straight into usual set-opener and fan favourite ‘Say No More’ – the first song of an hour long set, which craftily and refreshingly balances up-tempo peaks and slower moments. Lead singer Natassja Shiner dominates the stage, baggy t-shirt and all. After a weak and unobtrusive start to her vocals, she eases into it quickly and soon finds top form, working through ‘Could Be Wrong’. The audience mixes in with the laid back atmosphere, contributing to a lot of fun and also a few awkward moments in-between songs – there were people on shoulders thrusting umbrellas in the air, there were irritating mosh pits (I mean, seriously), there were also balloons and glitter thrown on stage.

Written on the road, new tune ‘Cry Baby’ goes down a treat; a modern take on groove and pop. The band continue to thrive, pushing back any doubts of excessive travel – “I think we may have jet lag, but fuck it”. The sound is well balanced and impossible not to dance to, and dance the audience did. With their lustre and resourcefulness in electronic exploration and synth-pop sensibilities, the band maintain strong bass grooves and compact pop melodies. ‘Play’ and ‘Freak’ are perfect examples of the 80s inspired new era – flirting with the old school but remaining contemporary throughout. Fickle Friends’ sound is even bigger live, with percussion and bass leading from the front. Looking around the venue, I could not see one person with arms folded – that’s the effect, infectious dance and an uncompromising desire to sing along.
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Over halfway and the show is taken down a notch with a striking rendition of ‘Paris’; performed under dimmed lights and intentionally much slower than on record. The song builds into a gratifying crescendo before finishing abruptly to move into oldie ‘For You’. This section of the set is dominated by the guitars with disco-tinged inflections. Following on from a technical halt, “Our keys have turned off… it’s a recurring theme at our gigs”, the band swiftly and almost perfectly deliver ‘Brooklyn’ and personal favourite ‘Velvet’. The latter leading to the whole place jumping up and down in tandem. ‘Velvet’ is arguably the blueprint to any great pop tune, using simple catchy dance beats to work in tandem with harmonious lilts and a memorable chorus. Finishing in wild fashion, the set is closed by new single ‘Swim’. Before beginning, Natassja revises the lines to the song as a solo in order to envision a huge singalong. The result - half the audience belting the lyrics back at her, the other half throwing themselves around the room (some in time, others far too aggressively). A group of teens successfully storm the stage, and to the amusement of everyone else, are thrown directly back off.

It’s a strong and powerful set, full of energy. Fickle Friends win you over early doors and don’t let go. The sign of a great set.

Fickle Friends played:
Say No More
Could Be Wrong
Cry Baby
For You

Written by – Richard Maver (@richmaver)

LISTEN to Fickle Friends // [SOUNDCLOUD]