Toronto – Why is it so cold here? It is April and it is still cold outside. Two weeks ago, I was in shorts and flip flops, getting some rays and watching outdoor shows. Bah. I also have a cough and cold. I thought it was a flu, but Brian said that’s not possible, since I’ve been eating like Octo Mom since I got sick. I don’t really want to bitch anymore, or this post risks becoming a Livejournal post. I am just trying to give you insight as to the state I was in as I went to the Friendly Fires / White Lies double bill at Lees Palace on a cold and windy Tuesday night.
I saw White Lies at SXSW and was thoroughly impressed with them. Enough so that I would venture out from my sickness to go see them. Hopefully I didn’t infect everyone at Lees with this cold/cough hybrid. Actually, I don’t really care. I will get to this band later since I like to write my reviews in chronological order. I am square like that.
Friendly Fires was the first part of the double bill. They are an English dance rock band that has had moderately success the past year. They released a self titled album last year and had several hits off the album, including ‘Jump in the Pool’, ‘On Board’ and ‘Paris’. By hits, I mean, I like those tunes a lot and just assume that they were good singles. ‘Paris’ in particular, was a song I especially liked. However, the version I really enjoyed was the Twelves remix of it with Au Revoir Simone assuming vocal duties. Whatever, it’s pretty much the same song. According to Allison, the song ‘On Board’ is in the Wii Fit Commercial, so it was no surprise when we arrived at Lees Palace, the venue was already packed.
I can only assume they played ‘Jump in the Pool’ early on because we probably arrived one or two songs late. Either way, the band played to a lukewarm reception in the beginning, with lead singer Ed MacFarlane urging the crowd to move and ‘not be a London crowd’. I’m sure the smug Brit lads in the crowd appreciated the hometown reference. Playing songs off their self titled LP, Friendly Fires slowly, but surely generated interest in the crowd, reaching fever pitch with the songs On Board and Paris, which got the crowd clapping and moving. Also, Allison started doing so many ‘woooos’ that the guy beside her had to move spots. Classic. The lead singer, who I can assume is Ed MacFarlane, did everything in his power to get the crowd going, dancing, jumping, dancing some more and even climbing on speakers. It was definitely good showmanship. The music itself was quite stellar, despite sometimes relying on dj equipment,the beat was definitely driven by one, and sometimes two drummers. The album definitely translated well to a live environment. Overall, the show was good, and it says something about the band when they can turn a frigid Toronto crowd from swaying and folded arms to moving and clapping.
White Lies came onto the set about 25 minutes after Friendly Fires finished. The band did their best to foster Interpol comparisons by arrival to the sold out show all decked out in uniform black. When I saw them in SXSW, I think they wore white. I guess wearing black in Texas heat is a bad idea. I think they played the same set they did at Austin, which is not all that big a surprise since they only have an album out. I believe the first song was “Fairwell to the Fairground”. Right away I thought something sounded different then the SXSW show – the voice was a bit off. Later on in the set, we would discover that lead singer Harry McVeigh was harboring a sore throat. As a result, hitting some notes was difficult, particular during a song like ‘Unfinished Business’. Either way, the band marched on and played their blend of joy division-interpol-editors inspired music. I really enjoyed the album, so this was a good show to me. It was interesting to compare the constantly moving/dancing antics of Friendly Fire with the stoic approach of White Lies. I guess when you have the dark nature of the White Lies songs, there really isn’t much dancing. Either way, both bands put forth a good show and because of their efficient nature, I was home by midnight. Bonus points there.