(All photos and videos by Bebe Besch)
They may have just been in Seattle last June, but Friendly Fires packed an even brighter punch of fury for their set on Wednesday at The Neptune Theatre. Their performance opened with “Lovesick,” from their self-titled release, to which lead singer Ed Macfarlane gyrated expressively during the song’s long bridge/breakdown. His seductive hip swaying and relentless booty shaking continued for the duration of the show, complete with hair flips that showered the crowd in sweat from his mane. Although Macfarlane was the center hub for the energy that Friendly Fires poured into the crowd, his counterparts were equally unfaltering. Edd Gibson, to Macfarlane’s right, held his own with a severe focus on his electric guitar – he fed off of the crowd’s current and directed all of the energy into each instrument he handled. Cowbells and small drums were also all played as he hopped around on one foot or stomped to their varied set of songs. Drummer Jack Savidge, not unlike his band mates, was particularly enthusiastic as he carried the steady pace of each song from the left side of the stage. He periodically left his position to join the others with singing and bells for songs like “On Board.”
With an all ages crowd, the night’s performance varied drastically when compared to their set this summer at Nuemos (which was 21+). In the front of the crowd, girls were screaming, whistling, and reaching for Macfarlane as he thrusted in our faces. Determined to dance, Macfarlane jumped into the crowd multiple times throughout their set, where he typically started a dance circle in the middle of the audience floor. A definite highlight from the show was dancing alongside him while belting, “All I want is to feel true love!” from their song “True Love.” If those of us near the front hadn’t been soaked enough already with his sweltering perspirations, we got more than our fair share from intimately dancing with him.
Their electro-disco had every audience member moving. Notable fan favorites performed were “Live Those Days Tonight,” a single from their latest release Pala, as well as one of their first singles ever, “Paris.” Fans weren’t afraid to show desperation as their set winded to a close – calls for an encore were undeniable and the trio made their way back on stage for “Hawaiian Air,” followed by an elaborate rendition of “Kiss of Life.” Strobes flashed as Gibson fell to his knees working his pedal board. Savidge led the crowd in clapping, while throwing drumsticks to deserving fans. Macfarlane bowed and told Seattle thank you, which was basically the only commentary he offered. In Friendly Fires’ case actions speak far more than words. Hopefully they’ll come back across the pond soon for another round with us!
2. Jump In The Pool
3. Blue Cassette
4. True Love
5. On Board
7. Skeleton Boy
8. Show Me Lights
9. In The Hospital
10. Live Those Days Tonight
12. Pull Me Back To Earth
15. Hawaiian Air
16. Kiss Of Life
On the other end of the high-energy spectrum was opener Theophilus London. London raps over electronic beats, while singing the majority of his own choruses. His music feels approachable from each genre lover. For half of the audience members at The Neptune, London was the main act; many packed near the front of the stage and chanted catchy lyrics back at the performer. Although songs like “I Stand Alone,” and “Last Name London” were the most well known, many concertgoers thrashed and twerked hard to each of London’s vivid songs. London’s on stage band and DJ helped create the hype, eventually leading to massive amounts of hands in the air. Theophilus London performed as support for Friendly Fires, but still accepted his own mini encore before leaving the stage. His influence was infectious. A fan in front of me exclaimed, “Well, that was f**king crazy!” to his friend before ditching his front row spot in order to be first in line to meet London at the merch table. Although they weren’t anything alike aesthetically, Theophilus London was a totally welcoming and diverse opener for Friendly Fires, bringing different levels of flavor and tenacity to the show overall.
See the live video footage and more photos below: