REVIEW: Friendly Fires, Chibuku @ Nation

Chibuku are one of the most distinctive club brands in the country, hosting a regular night in Liverpool for almost a decade. Enforcing a music policy that spans the genres you can expect to hear quality house, breaks, techno, dnb or indeed a permutation from any of the above. So tonight there was some nervous trepidation among clubbers and indie kids alike as Chibuku branched out to host their first ever all live gig in the former playground of the Cream faithful, Nation’s courtyard.

From the girl on a forum who said “Really looking forward to seeing Friendly Fires but it’s in a club so what the fuck am I gonna wear!” to the guy who thought the band “must only be playing a DJ set, Chibuku only do DJs” people were confused. They needn’t have worried as FF have the armoury to cross over into clubland without offending the rockers too much

Trusted with the job of getting the crowd in the party mood and loosened up were Manchester 4 piece Delphic. Set against a dark backdrop and lit only by blue neon tubes and a large boxlight housing the bands logo they began their set, building layer upon layer of acid fuelled house very similar in style to current darlings of the scene, Animal Collective. But it was when they moved away from the effects and electronic wizardry to a more traditional guitar, bass, keyboard, drums set up they produced some catchy electro pop reminiscent of New Order. It’s been a long time since I could have left a gig happy after just seeing the support. However, I had not accounted for what was coming next….

After what seemed an age due to an over studious sound check, St Albans finest came to the stage and kicked straight  into ‘Lovesick’ as they set off to deliver a trademark program of high energy disco rock. Latest single ‘Jump in the pool’ got the Scouse crowd doing exactly that as the explosive opening set the tone for the night ahead

With the addition of a brass section to add some funk, the band picked off the tracks from their self titled debut album keeping momentum going and barely stopping for breath. ‘Photo Booth’ had frontman Ed “snake hips” Macfarlane urging us to join him in some serious hip shaking, but let’s be honest no one else on the planet could dance like him.

Highlight of the night was the funktastic ‘On Board’ during which Macfarlane threw himself into the crowd, stood right next to me and I found myself jumping and singing along with him. Priceless

With previous singles ‘Skeleton Boy’ and ‘Paris’ giving the crowd a chance to show off their vocal talents and guitarist Edd Gibson running through the crowd playing out the final riffs of the night this gig had everything. No joking this was one of the best gigs I’ve been to in the last twenty years. More of the same please Chibuku

The band will be playing all the big festivals this summer including Glastonbury, T in the Park, Reading and Leeds. Promoters at this summer’s Creamfields must also be rubbing their hands after booking Friendly Fires months ago then sitting back while watching the band go stratospheric. Roll on August


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