Live Review: Fickle Friends – Liverpool

Fickle Friends

fickle friends16th February 2016, Studio 2, Liverpool

Words & Photos: Elena Katrina

Since the dreaded departure of The Kazimier, Parr Street’s Studio 2 has become a beacon of hope for new music, for touring bands and local bands looking to jump in on something great. This was the case for the Fickle Friends show, on a very wet and blustery Tuesday night. I pulled up, smug and warm in my car, parked across the way and wondered why, at half an hour past doors, that there was a very soggy miserable looking queue of people.

Eventually inside and first band up, Fake Street, were still putting the final touches to their sound check. Something had gone wrong but I was not worried. The then dry and chirpy crowd were in and all was forgotten by the time local lads Fake Street took to the stage. I’d not seen them before and I wonder, even now, how this can be because they command the stage as though they were playing their own headline set. It was evident that they had the family in too – but thankfully not one of those overly proud embarrassing ones that make everyone else feel like an intruder. The atmosphere was great and the set impressive. I’ll be keeping my eye on these lads for sure.

Next up was visiting band Dive In, one of the main tour supports, and they seemed totally un-flustered by the evening’s change of schedule, putting on a solid show of insane vocals and hugely gratifying shimmery summery disco pop noises. The only thing I felt was that the crowd was pretty tough on them. This can happen when you get a local support and an “unknown” – songs were met by a very quiet yet polite applause and I was concerned that the night was going to take a dip. The band held their own and I’m confident that once they’ve had a few more tunes flung people’s way that they’ll be back with their own headline show and fans to give them the applause they deserve.

IMG_1473Fickle Friends took to the stage around 45 minutes later than expected and instantly hit upon technical difficulties. “Can you just pretend we’re not here” they sheepishly asked of the crowd while tech paramedics arrived to revive whatever piece of equipment was playing up. Then it began…. the opening of Say No More kicked in and I was away. I was probably supposed to be paying attention to crowd reaction, make notes or something but no I was more in fan mode than I perhaps should have been.
It had been some time since I last caught these Fine Folks play live and the same time since we accidentally had lunch together – in what then turned out to be our photo-shoot for an exclusive interview that happened several months later. I’d been in work mode then. But Tuesday night, as horrible as it was outside, I was just a music fan at a music gig, watching one of my favourite up and coming bands bash out tune after tune, a huge smile plastered on my face for the duration.

I can say one thing for sure and that is that there’s been a change in Fickle Friends – there’s much more of an assured performance here. Not in a going through the motions way, which happens sometimes, but there was a genuine change in stage demeanour. Confident and completely at home; as though they were playing to no one, but yet still attentive to their audience between tracks.

We did eventually get an explanation for the delay – they’d had to stop en-route to fix the brakes on their tour bus  – and after the horrific events over the weekend a chill ran down my spine. No one would even have complained had the show not even gone ahead at that point. Instead though the band promised hugs to their previously soggy fans and apologised for keeping everyone outside in the rain. Fairly sure it had all been forgotten by that point though!

Lead vocalist Natti, in particular, seemed like it was all just water off a duck’s back – the lateness, the technical problems, the performing. She hit high note after high note as if it were no effort at all. You can tell that this band are happiest on stage playing, there’s a connection and it its almost palpable. Highlights in the set included, Could Be Wrong,  new track Freak and their last single Paris; a track that really allows for space and fragility to enter the atmosphere.

I don’t feel like I’ve had my full fix of Fickle Friends  – they may have played a solid set of 10 brilliantly performed songs, but I could have watched it all over again. Lucky for me, I’ll be doing just that when I head out to see them again on Thursday in Manchester and this time I really will be there just as a music fan!

 

 

 

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