Resident Anglophile Mark returns to Ickmusic with a review of the recent White Lies / Friendly Fires show in Minneapolis. I need to add a “Tell Us How You REALLY Feel” category just for Mark’s colorful posts… – Pete
Friendly Fires / White Lies / The Soft Pack
April 4th @ the Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis
Beginning last Saturday night, the next six weeks of my life will be filled with music from the Holy Land (aka the United Kingdom). This cavalcade of music was actually supposed to begin on March 30th with Bloc Party at 1st Avenue. But sadly, Kele (lead singer and guitarist) was sick, so the show has been postponed until May 4th, which is fine because it fits nicely between Franz Ferdinand and Keane. So, my first review of the series of shows I will see in April and May (which Pete has graciously agreed to let me write about) begins with the White Lies/Friendly Fires show at the Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis.
It had been way too long since I had seen a show, let alone a sacred band from the Empire. The last one was Oasis in Chicago last December and, like a man with heavy balls that have not been fully drained in quite some time, I was ready on Saturday to spray my musical love all over the pit of a fucking club. Both White Lies and Friendly Fires sell out much larger venues in the UK, so getting to see them in a place with a max cap of 500 was highly appealing. I was jumping out of my skin in anticipation.
My buddy Ross and I got to the Triple Rock around 9:30pm. I had heard a little about the place trying to be a competitor of First Ave and the Fine Line, but not much. They really have a nice set up which reminded me a lot of the Urban, a popular musician’s club back in the day, because it had a bar that is separate from the music room. So you could chill out on the bar side and wait for the bands to come on, take a break from the noise, or just hang out all night where the music is playing. Ross and I chilled out in the bar and as soon as we heard the music start, we went into the other room.
The first band up was The Soft Pack. They’re a very cool band from San Diego who sound much like early Jam. The drummer plays standing up which is always tons of fun. How lucky are they to be out with two big Brit bands! I was immediately struck by how great the sound system was sounding. Yep, a musician’s club.
Next up was White Lies who really got the party started. They have a very 80’s Smiths sound to them. As they ripped through their set, I scanned the crowd to see many boy couples there. Honestly, I hadn’t seen as many men dancing since an 8th grade dance back in my Prairie School days. In fact, a girl standing next to me thought that Ross and I were a couple – asking me where “my guy” was when he went to take a piss. I politely informed her that we were not that cool. Best songs of the White Lies set were “Unfinished Business” and “Death.” Lead singer Harry McVeigh was his typical emo intense glory filled self.
Then Friendly Fires took the stage and the place turned into a bloody rager. I first heard their song “Paris” back in late 2007. They essentialy recorded this lush, shoegazing melody in lead singer/keyboardist/loop demon Ed McFarlane’s dad’s garage. It quickly became for me one of those tracks that creates nostalgia for a time that never was or hasn’t happened yet – a key ingredient in all the best music and a typical one in the sounds that comes from the Holy Land (in this case, St. Albans Hertfordshire).
They opened with “Lovesick” a hard bass dance floor corker of a track followed quickly by “Jump in the Pool”- it’s pounding effervescence shimmering over all of us. As the set progressed, the frenetic intensity of the pit grew exponentially-the band running all over the stage playing a wide variety of instruments backed with Prodigy-esque loop tracks- until the song “Paris” came and a nuclear device was summarily detonated. Everyone was screaming out the chorus, “They’ll be out for us!” at the top of their lungs. Arms, bodies, and legs were flailing all around me as I felt comforted and warm in one of the many places I like to call home.
This tour still has dates left in Seattle, Vancouver, Portland, SF, LA and SD…so basically out west. I highly recommend seeing this show in such small venues – a rare treat and one that should be honored. So go forth, take the sword from the Lady in the Lake, and buy thyself a ticket to see White Lies/Friendly Fires!