Friendly Fires @ Commodore Review

I haven’t done one of these in awhile, and i’m also currently studying for my LSAT (on saturday!) plus finals next weeks,  so I’m gonna try to cram as much musical goodness into one post as humanly possible…

Here’s what you will find within:

1) Friendly Fires + the XX show review

2) Upcoming Gigs to check out in Vancouver


Friendly Fires and the XX at Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver BC

Rating: 5 out of 5 electric tea kettles!!!

Friendly Fires at the Commodore Ballroom credit: Ashley Tanasiychuk

First of all, I was pretty stoked to hear that the XX were going to be opening for one of my favorite groups ever. Since I heard their cover of the iconic track “You’ve got the Love” by Florence and the Machine I’ve been hooked on these guys, but seriously – I find it hilariously disappointing how the internet and its derivative, unoriginal music “critics” (bloggers) can hype a group to death!  My expectations for this group were waaay too high and I found myself sadly disappointed by a performance that could have been suprisingly sweet if I had not been hyped to death before I even got there.


Overall I thought they were good. Solid performance, pretty tight. They had a darker, moodier tone, kind of reminiscent of 80’s goth/industrial rock but with a new wavey twist. I thought at certain points they could have expanded their songs into more jam-like full-on electro danceparty vibes, but they fell short in that department. They never really let go and let us have it. the reserve might have been their downfall in my eyes. When standing on stage in front of 500+ people you’d better give it 110% and risk falling flat on your face. I really wanted to see them bring the jams home and incite a dancefloor riot but they stayed cold and disinterested. lack-luster stage presence is killing this band’s potential. they need someone to light a fire under their butts! I want to see more improvisation, extended dance mixes and heavy-hitting bass-fueled textural sonic orgasms!

(c) Sarah Bastin 2009

The Friendly Fires took the stage at about 11:00 and straight from the get-go full-on assaulted the crowd with one rowdy discofied dance track after another. They never let up- not once. The energy of this group is amazing, not to mention their repertoire that is chock full of groovey guitar-heavy funk riffs, non-stop driving disco rhythms and a horn section that knows how to make a track pop. You could not see this band live and NOT get up and shake your ass. They are infectious.

(c) Sarah Bastin 2009

They played pretty much all the tracks off their album, but my personal favorites were Jump In The Pool, Skeleton Boy and On Board (during which they pretty much burned the place down). The highlight of the night had to be the encore, which in true rock and roll fashion, they pulled no punches and blasted the crowd with ex-Lover, complete with amazing drum solo lead-out and tea kettle guitar solo! At one point guitarist Edd Gibson entered the crowd and came back sans guitar/tea kettle, which left us wondering – WTF DID HE DO WITH HIS AXE? did he give it to a fan? amazing. mind-blowing. orgasmic. I also have to comment on front man Ed McFarlane, who left us charmed, wet and wanting more. This pint-sized punter is bursting with sex appeal and a stage presence that could outdo Mick Jagger on speed. he never stopped twisting, gyrating, shaking and inciting the crowd to loose their shit. This is an important hint for bands that want to make people dance – you have to lead by example.

I would see this band again and again, and plan to! I hope they make it back across the pond soon!

Check them out on the remainder of their North American tour!

Check tour dates and listen to their tracks on Myspace

Check out the XX on Myspace

Upcoming Shows

Blind Pilot @ The Biltmore with Laura Views, December 03, 8 pm $15 tix @ zulu, red cat

Califone @ the Rickshaw Theatre, December 4th, 9 pm, $12 + s.c. tix @ ticketmaster (boo)

Bowerbirds @ The Biltmore with Julie Doiron, January 23rd, EARLY SHOW! 8:30 pm start, $15 tix @ zulu, red cat


To cap this epic post, here’s a link to a vid of me covering one of my favorite bon iver tracks.. “re:stacks”. enjoy!


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