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Oxegen 2011 - Friendly Fires

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ATL | 20:11 UK time, Monday, 11 July 2011

Sunday, Vodafone, 17:50

In a Tweet: Sweaty, manic, haphazard- and that's just the frontman.

What Happened: The crowd watching Friendly Fires is pitiful. Absolutely pitiful. It's a real shame as well: they thrive on the energy of a dancing crowd and disco shouldn't be embraced with crossed arms and light applause, but that's a running theme this weekend.

The St Albans collective are on fire from the first few minutes of their set. Breathy synths and a domineering bass mix with everchanging rhythms to become the foundation of Friendly Fires. A particularly welcome feature is that of live brass to proceedings, making the songs really come alive before our eyes. Frontman Ed Macfarlane gives it his all when dancing in his own, um, "unique" way while providing a professional performance: the sound does suffer at times from too much bass and occasionally the vocals can be lost in the mix but it has a limited effect on the whole. Tracks such as "Jump In The Pool" and "Blue Cassette" are strong but their biggest hit "Paris" is a perfect summer festival anthem, as Friendly Fires successfully bring their electro disco brilliance to our shores once again. 

Crazy In Love: "Kiss Of Life" is reworked well live, turning an average track on record into a passionate, unflinching finale that you can't help but dance to with some utterly insane drumming to boot.

Why Don't You Love Me: It feels like Friendly Fires have something more to give but it doesn't materialise. It's a very good set, but we feel they're storing up something really special in their reserves. 

Oxegen Rating: 8/10

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