Friendly Fires and White Lies Meet Bowery Ballroom (March 26/27, 2009)

Posted: March 28, 2009 in What's Ed-G:
Tags: , ,

As Interpol continues to fade into the abyss and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah struggle to keep afloat, the British have stepped in – officially.  Exhibit A:  The two sold-out shows at the Bowery Ballroom on March 26th and March 27th with The White Lies and Friendly Fires.

Planted in the front row (for both shows like a crazy fan), the support from my behalf was for the Friendly Fires, having only heard a few tracks from the White Lies’ debut album, To Lose My Life.  As they opened the show, after a solid three minutes, it was clear why their album has earned the #1 spot on the charts for three weeks in the UK.  I’m now a huge fan.

The modern industrial sound takes you through a blend of emo for adults, not for the My Chemical generation.  It’s Interpol with a hint of Brandon Flowers glam-rock.  Harry McVeigh’s vocals are strong and rough around the edges – I would later find out that he was struggling with a throat infection which caused the band to cut the setlist by two songs…but McVeigh handled it like a pro – both nights.dsc001222dsc00152dsc00136dsc001561dsc001451

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As McVeigh struggled through some of the songs that pushed the chords, the die-hards chimed in and sang “Let’s grow old together – and die at the same time!” (from their hit “To Lose My Life”), pretty much a reassurance to the band that they’ve got a chance to be the next Kings of Leon if they play their cards right.

At the after-party, the one good piece of information we managed to get from the band is that they are returning to New York in September – not officially announced – but Terminal 5 will be the venue.  Front and center.

Check them out, making their US debut, on the Late Show with Letterman:

Then, the Friendly Fires stepped in to close out the show.  The immediate reaction to lead singer Ed McFarlane’s moves are greeted with shock and laughter, before everyone realizes that his dancing is no joke.  It’s a British hipster’s take on “the Carlton”: on-stage gyrating to cowbells, drum solos and singing about moving to Paris, about still being sick in and out of love, and about reconnecting with that someone – and all done with a euro-pop-rock mix that would make Erasure and New Order jealous.

dsc000111dsc000281dsc000451dsc000511dsc000701dsc000761In the 50-minute set, the Friendly Fires gave one of the best performances I’ve ever seen at the Bowery Ballroom – McFarlane even jumped into the crowd during “On Board” to bust his moves during Friday night’s show.  He was unlike any other frontman I’ve ever seen, quite possibly in need of Ritalin, and even making Brandon Flowers seem straight and straight-laced.  It’s a must-see.

The Friendly Fires, March 26/27 2009 Bowery Ballroom Setlist:
1.        Lovesick
2.        Jump in the Pool
3.        Skeleton Boy
4.        In the Hospital
5.        White Diamonds
6.        Strobe
7.        On Board
8.        Paris
9.        Ex Lover

Check out “On Board”- all acoustic and done for Stereogum.com:

Although the level of entertainment from both bands should never be compared (they are both too different), I will say that the White Lies are destined for US success.  Their sound can blend into mainstream, and McVeigh isn’t too outrageous, so the mid-West will find him a little more acceptable.  In my ideal world, the Friendly Fires will blow everyone’s socks off, but for now, just as content to be a part of the cult following.

Till next time.

Ed-G.

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Comments
  1. Jayvee says:

    Looks like the camera was money well spent.

  2. Charlisse says:

    Dude they remind me of the Psychedelic Furs, his voice is like that & I just bought the song on Itunes. LOVE THEM OMG.

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