The debut from English trio Friendly Fires was one of my favorite records (#4) of 2008 and by making their first visit to SXSW, they made my short list of must-see bands.
After catching Capsula, Las Robertas, and about 15 minutes of SUUNS (not bad), I hoofed it down 5th Street and under the I-35 overpass to ND Studios. Exiting the crisp night air and straight into a wall of humidity, I sensed this might end up a sweaty mess. As it turned out, I was right on the money. Assisted by a trumpeter and a saxophone player, the trio hit the stage and got right down to it.
Dressed in crisp white oxfords, Friendly Fires strike a balance between Talking Heads' white boy funk and 80's dandies Spandau Ballet. Mixing tracks from their debut and forthcoming follow-up Pala (May 24th; UK May 16th), singer Ed MacFarlane bounced around the stage for the full 30 minute allotment to an appreciative crowd. The new material didn't seem to have as many sharp angles as found on the debut: a little smoother, a little more fleshed out. Cue the horns. In all, the audience ate it up. With a frenetic live show and a solid second record, they should be able to take a huge step forward this year.
Check out the first track from Pala, "Live Those Days Tonight":
[STREAM] Live Those Days Tonight - Friendly Fires by grouppiekid