Live Review: Fenech-Soler at Newcastle Academy 2 – 23rd September 2011

By on Wednesday, 28th September 2011 at 2:00 pm

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder – certainly it seems to have worked for Fenech-Soler, whose splendid return to the live scene was heralded by an uproarious welcome by a capacity crowd at Newcastle’s O2 Academy last Friday night. Whilst the memories of summer are fading, foliage turning autumnal reds and oranges, in the world of Fenech-Soler it’s forever the height of summer; a permanent Balearic party. Frontman and focus Ben Duffy’s seemingly boundless energy and enthusiasm are lapped up by the up-for-it crowd; the 9pm start of this early Friday gig is a perfect start to an inevitably messy weekend.

The comparisons with contemporaries Friendly Fires are inevitable; the difference is, the latter are more cerebral, making the song work for its keep – these guys just want to dance and have fun. Essentially a live version of a dance music set, close your eyes and the wailing alarms, pulsing bass, repetitive electronic and acoustic beats could be part of a 3 AM Ibizan DJ set, yet executed by a sharp five-piece band who could just as easily have ended up playing indie tat. Right from the off, the audience are pogoing along, with the worryingly bouncy floor just about keeping things the right side of chaos. Most of the recent eponymous LP is played, tracks like ‘Lies’ and ‘Demons’ not deviating much from the successful formula of brief, perfunctory verse, before the massive, uplifting chorus kicks in. Add in a breakdown, buildup, crescendo and the beats come back in with a sweaty, handwaving vengeance. It works, it gets everybody moving, and if your party needs starting, just call Fenech-Soler.

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