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In the Post #66: Friendly Fires and Azari & III – Stay Here

By on Monday, 16th August 2010 at 2:00 pm

Unless you’ve actually seen Friendly Fires (pictured above) at a festival this summer or at their high-profile support slot with Muse in Milan, you might have thought they’ve wandered into ‘where are they now?’ territory.

They’ve been working on album #2 and also working on putting together a megamix of top quality dance bangers for the ‘Bugged Out Presents Suck My Deck’ series. The Friendly Fires edition will be released on 27th of September. But don’t be sad. The mix CD does include a brand new Friendly Fires track – a collaboration they did with Toronto’s Azari & III. Lots of cowbell (excellent) and Ed Macfarlane’s vocals are disaffected as in ‘Paris’, but to be honest, I prefer the Azari & III vocals over his (sorry, I’m not sure which of the two is the singer, as there are few specifics about them on the ‘net).

You can listen to ‘Stay Here’ on Annie Mac’s Radio1 show until Friday 20 August. I’m not exactly sure if this song will be available as its own single, but you can pre-order the Friendly Fires’ Bugged Out… CD from Rough Trade now.


Video(s) of the Moment #273: Friendly Fires

By on Saturday, 12th June 2010 at 9:00 am

Not just one but two videos for you all of brand new Friendly Fires tracks on a Saturday morning. Because we here at TGTF are that awesome.

First up – thanks to a heads-up yesterday from a fellow fan on Twitter, we can bring you a clip of a new track from the forthcoming album that was played live for the first time at Krakow, Poland’s Selector Festival last week (04 June), taped by a very nice fan in the crowd. Watch it below. It’s blowing up across Twitter right now and likely to do the same across other social networking sites soon.

I’m going to have to watch it a few more times to fully appreciate what’s going on in the song. But even upon first viewing you will see the St. Albans band is still employing a brass section live (good), Ed Macfarlane is still busting a move whilst singing (good) and they’ve still got good, poppy lyrics (how does ‘I want to be your true love’ hit you?). No word yet on when album #2 will drop, but according to a blog post by the band on their official Web site last month, there is a saucy collaboration of some kind in the works, and some tentative song titles include:

Chimes / Tubular / Bells
True Love
Pull Me Back To Earth
Schaffel: The Return
Running Away
Ultra Slow Jam


And second – thanks to the power of searchable Tweets, I found this video from Friendly Fires’ set opening for Muse at the massive San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy this past Tuesday (on 8 June). I’m going to go out on a limb here and say the bloke who video’ed this must be a fan of both bands, because 1) he was smart enough to tape a new Fires song (this has to be ‘Running Away’) and 2) you can hear considerable whoops of delight afterwards. It starts off as shimmery as ‘Paris’ and the recent ‘Hold On’ (Holy Ghost!) cover with melodic guitar, then Ed Mac ventures into ’70s, falsetto, ‘Photobooth’ territory. Too bad that most of the punters seem unmoved by the experience.



Preview: Electric Picnic 2010

By on Friday, 7th May 2010 at 4:00 pm

Electric Picnic has been regarded by some as Ireland’s answer to Glastonbury. Judging by the line-up released on Wednesday, I’d argue it might have a more interesting bill than Glasto this year. ’70s glam rockers Roxy Music will play their first Irish festival performance ever at Electric Picnic, after having reformed long after we diehards had assumed they’d never play together ever again. I think seeing Bryan Ferry croon his way through ‘Love is the Drug’ and ‘Avalon’ is worth the price of admission alone.

However, if Roxy isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other wonderful acts to ring your bell. London electronica act Leftfield have decided to come out of hibernation to play selected festivals this year, including a headlining set at Electric Picnic; Bristol’s Massive Attack (pictured above) will also headline. Expect an epic dance party with these two along with sets by Booka Shade, Hot Chip, the Bloody Beetroots, LCD Soundsystem, Liquid Liquid, Friendly Fires and the Big Pink. Indie rock will also be well represented by appearances by the Fall, the National, the Horrors, Eels and Modest Mouse.

This year’s festival will take place at Stradbally Hall, County Laois, Ireland, on 3-5 September 2010. Weekend camping tickets are €240 (approximately £206) per adult (up to two children under the age of 14 are allowed to attend per paying adult, and all children must be pre-registered through the festival Web site). Please note that except for children who are pre-registered this way, the festival is 18+ and photo ID may need to be presented on-site. Camper van tickets are €60 (approximately £52). Tickets for the festival can be purchased from Ticketmaster.

Catch the full lineup (so far as of Wednesday 05 May) after the cut…

Continue reading Preview: Electric Picnic 2010


In the Post #49: Friendly Fires and Holy Ghost! Cover Each Other’s Songs

By on Tuesday, 16th February 2010 at 12:00 pm

One of the more unique songs to be reviewed recently on Steve Lamacq’s Roundtable on 6music is Friendly Fires‘s reinterpretation of ‘Hold On’, the dancefloor hit by New York City electro duo Holy Ghost! It’s only one half of a split single to be released in early March: Holy Ghost! returned the favour by covering Friendly Fires’s singalong ‘On Board’. When asked about it previously by BBC 6music News, singer Ed Macfarlane said that they had definite desire to do a reinterpretation of the Holy Ghost! track rather than simply a remix like the painstaking one he did for Phoenix‘s ‘Fences’.

This is no doubt unusual, having versions of big hits by two heavy hitters of the current electro dance scene on the same single, but what I like most about these reinterpretations is that these were recorded in mutual appreciation of each other’s music. That is, one band was fully aware that the other was going to put their personal loving stamp on one of their tracks and vice versa. Both acts also did instrumental versions of the the songs they covered; Holy Ghost! provided a dub mix of ‘On Board’ as well.

Speaking on Monday to Steve Lamacq by phone from his band’s East London recording digs, Macfarlane further explained that the idea came about when Friendly Fires ran into Holy Ghost! in Corsica last summer (presumedly at dance music festival Calvi on the Rocks). Macfarlane is a massive fan of the NYC duo’s work, so when Holy Ghost!’s Alex Frankel suggested the idea of doing covers of each other’s songs, he jumped at the chance. He considers both songs to be “really old” (released in 2007 – that’s old?) and is really happy that the project came to fruition. You can catch the interview on iPlayer until next Monday afternoon, the 22nd of February, here (fast forward about an hour and 19 minutes into the show).

Friendly Fires’s take of ‘Hold On’ starts shimmery as their own holiday anthem, ‘Paris’. With the pronounced bass lines, bouncy synths and in-your-face percussion (more agogô, more cowbell!), there’s no mistake that this is from the St. Albans trio. If it’s even possible, the chorus of “and hold tight, don’t make more plans / and don’t talk, don’t say no words / and be still, now move like this / and hold on, until the kiss…” seems even sexier than it was in the Holy Ghost! original. And the Fires’s version feels tighter, about a minute shorter than the original.

‘On Board’ has been made much more dancefloor friendly by Holy Ghost! Their track features backup singers credited as ‘the DFA Celestial Choir’; perhaps one of their members provided the female laugh when the song starts, reminscent of the laugh at the start of Duran Duran’s ‘Hungry Like the Wolf’. I’m really liking the echo effects on the vocals, the repeated “don’t stop!“s from the choir halfway through, and the wickedly funky underlying bass lines so much that I almost don’t miss the cowbell. It should also be noted here that this song marks one of the last songs !!! and LCD Soundsystem‘s late drummer Jerry Fuchs played on before his untimely death in November 2009.

After the cut: If you’re unfamiliar with either original, we’ve got you covered. You can watch Friendly Fires’s humourous video for ‘On Board’, then listen to ‘Hold On’ (as Holy Ghost! apparently don’t have an official promo for it).
Continue reading In the Post #49: Friendly Fires and Holy Ghost! Cover Each Other’s Songs


Best Gigs of 2009

By on Thursday, 17th December 2009 at 2:00 pm

Now halfway through December and getting ever closer to the end of the year, it’s high time to write those “best of” end of year posts. As much as a nail-biter it was to choose my five favourite gigs of 2009, it allowed me to reflect on all the great gigs I’ve had the opportunity to go to in the Washington D.C. area and elsewhere. And it was a wonderful reminder on what great music is out there if you just open your mind and let yourself feast on what the current music scene has on offer. I encourage everyone one of you to go out to more gigs in 2010 and support the music community!

As USA editor of TGTF, I’d like to note that the majority of the gigs I’ve been to this year have been on my side of the pond and usually in my hometown of Washington D.C. But I think you’ll recognise most of the bands I’ve had the pleasure of seeing live this year. Here’s my top five of 2009:

5. Pains of Being Pure at Heart at D.C.’s Black Cat (Wednesday 30th September) – This didn’t feel like just any show. It felt a reunion and you were surrounded by friends, because the Pains have many friends in the Washington area. The guitars, the synths, and vocals from Kip Berman and Peggy Wang – they all combined to create something heavenly.


4. Camera Obscura at D.C.’s 9:30 Club (Sunday 21st June) – This gig featuring songs from their album released this year, ‘My Maudlin Career’, like ‘Honey in the Sun’ and the gorgeous ‘Swans’. Other previous gems like ‘Lloyd, I’m Ready to Be Heartbroken’ brought the house down as Traceyanne Campbell’s beautiful voice rang throughout the club. One incredible show. So disappointed they skipped over D.C. on their autumn tour.


3. Dot to Dot Festival in Nottingham (Sunday 24th May) – My first music festival, ever. This was my second time seeing Friendly Fires and their first time headlining a festival to boot. It was amazing to be among lots and lots of their devoted English fans who turned Rock City in a sea of bodies dancing to their beats. It was also great to see Patrick Wolf again and Ladyhawke for the first time (the two acts directly preceding Friendly Fires at Rock City). Earlier in the day I was able to take in Matt Abbott and Skint and Demoralised at Nottingham-Trent Uni’s Glo Bar, followed by part of the Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s set in the uni’s student union main room.

Skint and Demoralised

Patrick Wolf


Friendly Fires

2. Friendly Fires at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg (Thursday 13th August) – Not a fan of getting bruised up by the drunks who stormed the stage like maniacs during the ‘Ex Lover’ encore, but this one gets high marks for the incredible crowd energy – so much energy that I worried that the floor would break out from under us from all the jumping around and dancing going on during their set. Further, Ed Macfarlane jumped down into the crowd during ‘Paris’, causing additional mayhem. This is probably one of the last times he’ll ever launch himself into the audience because I doubt his personal safety from this point forth can be guaranteed (!)


1. Elbow at D.C.’s 9:30 Club (Tuesday 4th August) – Somehow Washington managed to score one of only three American headlining dates in all of 2009 from the Manchester quintet. They didn’t disappoint, the whole crowd singing along to every word of Guy Garvey’s. The man has one amazing voice and kept everyone in the club spellbound. The show was simply brilliant. It didn’t hurt that Guy came out an hour before the show and kindly agreed to take photos with us fans who queued up early outside the club before doors opened.


After the jump is a full list of all the gigs I’ve been to in 2009 (in reverse chronological order) so you have an idea of the banquet I had to choose from.
Continue reading Best Gigs of 2009


Live Review: Friendly Fires with the xx at Paradise Rock Club, Boston – 04 December 2009

By on Thursday, 10th December 2009 at 2:00 pm

a-paradiseHabits are hard to break. This particular habit of mine isn’t especially dangerous (I’m not including getting stepped on by drunks in Brooklyn) or detrimental (unless you count lack of sleep). This year, my worst habit of all has been looking longingly and futilely at Friendly Fires‘s tour dates and scheming ways to get to their gigs. Most of the time, an event is ridiculously expensive to get to that it’s worthless to even consider trying to go. (Two examples: Splendour in the Grass in Australia and Calvi on the Rocks, anyone?) Why all the scheming? The band has not returned to D.C. since they played here in March with White Lies on the NME Presents Tour, so if I’ve wanted to see them, I’ve had to travel. This time I went for the Nylon Magazine Winter Music Tour stop in Boston, Massachusetts – over 300 miles northeast of Washington. The Fires played a sold-out show there at the Paradise Rock Club with fellow Beggars Group act the xx.

I was lucky that night for a couple different reasons. One, I actually had a ticket in hand, unlike one of my good friends and many other people we met who arrived at the club early trying to find someone who had an extra or two to sell. I’m not sure how many people actually got in this way. Two, Boston was experiencing unseasonably mild weather (although the corduroy jacket I’d chosen to wear that night was still ill-advised, as when I stood outside of the club for a short time before the bar to the club opened, I thought my arms might freeze off). Three, I had seen the xx earlier at their in-store at Newbury Comics, and it sounded like some people at the gig were unaware that there had even been an in-store. Once inside, most people I talked to were most excited to bop along to Friendly Fires but they were interested in seeing the xx because the xx had never played in Boston before. I filled some people in on them, so I think I helped garner some additional excitement for the xx’s set.

e-xx4The xx Romy Madley-Croft on vocals and guitar, Oliver Sim on vocals and bass, and Jamie Smith on percussion and programming – came out from under the cover of darkness. A minimal show of coloured lights brightened the stage slightly during their set but kept things dramatic for the xx’s brand of dream pop. I’ve seen this band four times now (if you count the earlier in-store), and I have yet to be disappointed in their performance. The beauty of the vocals and guitar work of Madley-Croft and Sim have to be heard live to be believed. With its steamy lyrics and melodramatic percussion, ‘Infinity’ is my current favourite. If you don’t feel the desire within the song and it doesn’t start oozing out of your pores, you must not have a pulse. Since this was an opening slot, they only played eight songs. But they already have another North American jaunt scheduled for next year.

l-ffires5And then there were Friendly Fires. It seemed incomprehensible to me that I had seen them perform less than 4 months ago in New York; surely more time had passed than that? When Nylon Magazine announced back in July that Friendly Fires had been chosen to headline their first-ever Winter Music Tour to set the winter on fire, they weren’t kidding. For sure, this style of music is great year round but even more so in winter, when everyone’s suffering from seasonal affective disorder and wondering when the sun will shine again. That night at the Paradise, multicoloured lights shimmered brightly from the stage as Friendly Fires played hosts to a lively dance party.

A personal favourite, ‘Lovesick’, with its wicked bass lines from touring bassist Rob Lee and Jack Savidge‘s pounding backbeats, got the party started. Singer Ed Macfarlane shimmied like a man possessed on ‘In the Hospital’, the audience cheering him on with gusto. Edd Gibson ran around the stage with his guitar, eager to give every section of the venue some of his precious attention. I admired the way the band powered through the high-octane ‘On Board’. (Incidentally, the song will be available on an extremely limited edition 12″ at specialist record shops and at their dance party at London’s Coronet on Friday.) The band’s energetic routine lasted all the way through ‘Paris’ and ‘Ex Lover’, the band’s last two songs and the ones that received the most applause. But then it was over. Now we wait – rather impatiently I might add – for album #2!

After the jump: set lists and photos.


Continue reading Live Review: Friendly Fires with the xx at Paradise Rock Club, Boston – 04 December 2009


About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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