Black Kids/Friendly Fires

A guide to who’s cool in indie rock for 2008

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With the bill reading much like a hipsters guide to who’s (potentially) cool in indie rock for 2008, I’m curious to learn how many of the HUNDREDS of free ticket holders that queued outside 93 Feet East actually made it into the VICE Live Tour gig?

And ignoring the fact that less than six months ago, you might have seen anyone of these bands on a decrepit stage in front of six awkward scene kids, post-‘Top bands to watch in 2008’ issue season; the band room on Brick Lane was alight with hoopla.

And yet, at the peak of this fashionista hype-storm, my mind was more occupied with what could possibly be occurring in the band room backstage, so grossly unalike the artists billed that evening seemed. Ipso Facto would be sitting in the corner of the room, holding kitting needles and shuffling dolls heads beneath their feet, while the boys from Friendly Fires would be getting off on electric zaps from their many synths to the bemusement of expatriates Black Kids, who would be fine tuning their harmonies with an acappella of The Ronettes’ ‘Be My Baby’. Indeed, as busy behind stage as it was tight front stage, each had their moment.

Having plundered the wardrobe of Wednesday Adam’s, all girl outfit Ipso Facto skulked strangely through a set of morbid holla-by’s and pop staggering chants that featured debut single ‘Harmonise’ and the corpses waltz ‘Smoke and Mirrors’. Eloquently timed by the grossly talented and mesmerising limb-y Victoria, their staunch harmonies and stale organ sighs proved a perfect substitute for acquiring the effects of sedative abuse. Yet moments before total paralysis set in from such necromantic garage, Friendly Fires soared in on a fire bolt of pop, hailing a mirror ball crucifix above their heads and crash landed in a sack of sleazy 80’s disco punk that featured ‘Paris’ and the soon to become indie dance-floor sensation ‘On Board’.

But it was headliners Black Kids that prompted an intimate cheek to cheek clog of the band room, since word of their hotness has spread from the lips of London folk faster than a bad joke (ok, guilty!). Though, described by the fuzzy-fro’ed front man as “…just a party band from Jacksonville”, Reggie Youngblood can hardly ignore the UK hype-train that has him and his possie firmly strapped in first class. Indeed, Black Kid’s were met by glaring curiosity and a polite applause which, after 45 minutes of euphoric bootie-bumping indie pop starting with ‘Hit the Heartbrakes’, was a sweaty play pool of smiling scene kiddies high on Go Team-esque hysteria and ungodly Cure-like lures. While the nostalgically romantic ‘Hurricane Jane’ showcased sweet solemn desire, the set ended triumphantly with ‘I’m not going to teach your boyfriend how to dance with you’. And indeed dance, dance, dance, dance!

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