Friendly Fires // Live Review & Photoset

1st December | Anson Rooms

Photos: Michael Brumby

As a students’ union by day and gig venue by night, the Anson Rooms is a space that boasts potential. Once arriving in the expansive hall, Ten Ven and Alex Metric opened the club night to a sparse crowd. Their tech-house mixes of contemporary and adored anthems fittingly led into the presence of Lone, during which the venue swiftly filled, in anticipation of the main event.

Friendly Fires‘ career spans across a decade; their previous hiatus has been successfully broken with their storming festival season. This In:Motion event of underground DJs, paired with the carnival-inducing power of the St Albans collective built up anticipation to the highest degree. Opening with a surprise gem from their debut album, ‘Lovesick’ sprung the proceedings into an immediately nostalgic trip. Following on with ‘Jump In The Pool’, as predicted, Ed’s hips started swinging as he delved into his synonymous dance moves.

As the outfit are usually accompanied by a mesmerising production, it was actually refreshing to see a fairly minimal light display. This allowed for the outfit to be truly appreciated for their unparalleled talents. Their ability to wrack up a sense of euphoria purely through their catalogue was a sublime spectacle to behold. In terms of crowd favourites, vintage tracks such as ‘Skeleton Boy’ and ‘In The Hospital’ were met with the warmest reception. Elating additions included ‘Heaven Let Me In’, as snappy brass elements added to their rave-inducing flavour.

As the set moved into ‘Hurting’, an element of magic that Friendly Fires possessed resided in their songs’ bridges. As with ‘Paris’ that followed, their breakdowns came with a dizzying force of oozing synths, yet allowed the guitar to robustly split through the noise with impalpable strength. Completing their set in just over an hour, the selection represented the diverse journey Friendly Fires have undertaken.

From the housey injections of fresher club-worthy tracks to their infamous favela-drenched sound, the outfit demonstrated how they can seemingly weave through genres with ceaseless stamina. Climaxing with ‘Kiss Of Life’, a frenzy ensued to the tribal drumming as they rounded off their eclectic set.

Following, Paranoid London closed the event into the early hours. An almost frustrating element of this event was that it didn’t quite bloom into its full potential. Perhaps this was due to the fact there were an array of larger events the same evening, pulling the desired crowd into other spaces.

The standard of DJs on offer warranted a sizeable audience, whereas the party didn’t quite come into fruition. With this being said, despite the lack of numbers, the roster for the event itself was crafted perfectly. The DJs selected to accompany Friendly Fires were second to none. Perhaps next time, when an event of this standing takes place, a club setting would be ideal.

See the video for ‘Heaven Let Me In’ here: