Nine months out of the year, Seattle's sky is shrouded by a dense overhang of clouds. If you have ever been to a show in Seattle, you may have noticed that the crowd was subdued, as if the grayness of the sky floated down and infused the demeanor of your fellow patrons. It's completely possible to stand next to someone at a show who only moves when they want to grab another Pabst tallboy, and who dreamily sighs at the end, "This was the most epic show I've seen in a long time."
Now, I am going on this diatribe to help you understand that when I say that the Friendly Fires show at Neumos was an all-out emphatic dance party, you will know the weight and implication of this statement.
The fog machine kicked on, simple lights swirled throughout, and Friendly Fires took the stage with their melodies blaring. "Love Sick" shot out of the speakers, instantly grabbing a hold of the crowd. Epic frontman/danceman extraordinaire Ed Macfarlane's voice broke through the instrumentals and the Neumos' crowd has no chance.
Their set switched between songs from Friendly Fires and the recently released Pala, energy remaining consistently high throughout the hour plus. Macfarlane took full advantage of the atmosphere and jumped down into the crowd a number of times, getting down and dirty in his Hawaiian print button-up.
The beauty of this group is really obvious during their live shows. Recorded tracks cannot do them justice, because they don't even start to convey the serpent-like pelvic moves Macfarlane throws down on the stage, or the monstrosity of their live instrumentals. Friendly Fires epitomizes what a live show should be: insane energy, elongated bridges with improvisational riffs, and the sweatiest frontman ever witnessed, who you admire for his balls-to-the-wall mesmerizing dance moves. Ed stopped momentarily at one point, surveyed the steamy crowd, and said, "Oh yeah...I like this." Thanks, Ed, for we like you, too.
I'd be remiss not to say that the encore could have been a wee bit stronger. "Hawaiian Air" was the first song of the end, which felt like a harsh downturn from the prior energy. "Kiss Of Life" ended the night and brought the crowd back to the prior euphoric state, with the band harnessing any and every bell, whistle, and maybe even a few farm animals.
All in all, a pretty damn good night.
Friendly Fires Setlist:
2 Blue Cassette
3 True Love
4 On Board
6 Skeleton Boy
7 Show Me Lights
8 Live those Days Tonight
10 Jump in the Pool
11 Pull Me Back to Earth
13 Hawaiian Air
14 Kiss of Life