Fickle Friends Brighton gig review

19/03/18 – Fickle Friends at Concorde 2
You can’t go home again, unless you never really left it behind in the first place.

A sold out Concorde 2 played host to a Brighton indie-pop reunion on Monday night, with Fickle Friends marking the long awaited and much anticipated release of their debut LP, You Are Someone Else – which looks set for a spot in the Top 20 – with an hour of effervescent indie pop anthems in the band’s hometown, supported by two other bands whose origins also lie in the ever-productive BIMM.

First up, Thyla deliver a short but thoroughly enjoyed set of My Bloody Valentine style guitar distortion, beneath lyrics not unlike those of the headline act. Five-piece Island Club play next, with a similar set up to Fickle Friends but male vocals that don’t quite match the hooks of Fickle Friends, although Let Go gets a deservedly enthusiastic reaction and stands up to anything played on the night.

With the crowd suitably warm, Fickle Friends forego introductions and dive straight into Say No More, immediately transporting us to a brighter, hotter, more funky land. The band have reportedly played over 500 shows together in their five year career, but there is no sign of fatigue tonight. Despite confessing to only running through Heartbroken live for the first time at soundcheck earlier today, the drums of Sam Morris and synth keyboards of Jack Wilson – who also plays additional drums to good effect when required – never stray out of sync and, along with the bass lines of Jack Harrington, form the bedrock of the music, above which, Chris Hall’s lead guitar comes out wonderfully clean, especially on the band’s concluding and most famous song: Swim. However, it is Natti Shiner [great name, for either a performer or a boxer] who commands the front of the stage and the audience’s collective eye, and whose vocals separate the band from the pack.

After finishing Brooklyn and before launching into the album opener, Wake Me Up, Shiner tells that the band have long dreamed of playing C2, and that just two and a half years ago they played The Haunt to a crowd of five. Things are different now. Now, every announcement of a song is greeted with enthusiastic shouts and cheers from the sell-out crowd, which eventually causes Shiner to put her hand to her brow and shake her head in giddy disbelief at their hometown welcome, despite having played a number of far bigger shows than tonight’s. The effect is to show the band as just any other five Brightonians, but these five are currently in the midst of making it.

When the band disappear at the end of Glue, the crowd start confidently chanting ‘Swim, Swim, Swim,’ and sure enough stage lights up again and the band perform Hello Hello and finally Swim, in which Shiner holds out the mic for the crowd to sing to her, which they do admirably. Indeed, various members of the audience seem to have managed to learn the entirety of the album in the three days since its release.

With the end of Swim, the show concludes. When the lights come up the illusion wavers, but when I exit C2 I am still shocked to find himself in zero degrees Brighton, and not the LA sun in which the album was recorded, or even our own Summer City, but then, as has been proven tonight by lead and support acts alike, we cool here.

Fickle Friends are touring now.
Island Club are performing at Patterns in October, with tickets out now.

Set List:
Say No More
Wake Me Up
Cry Baby
Hard To Be Myself
Hello Hello

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