Leeds Festival 2009
Sunday afternoon and the rain gave the final day a depressing send off. As the Main Stage had adopted an afternoon line-up to rival Download, the NME/Radio 1 Tent became the place to be, if only to remain dry. The inevitable popularity meant the usual audience swap was a rush rather than a casual exchange but then what would you expect when revellers need a party and Friendly Fires are due next. After their Mercury Prize nomination, anticipation was rife with an audience already eager to commence clapalongs before a note was even played. When they do, ‘Lovesick’ smattered a crowd already in the mood with a horn section adding smooth grooves to the sparse beats and tempting lead singer Ed MacFarlane to a bout of bodypopping. With revellers already suitably damp, calypso percussion invited a rave for ‘Jump In The Pool‘, effortlessly supporting the Miami Vice vibe and Casio bleeps of ‘Skeleton Boy‘.
MacFarlane then took on a disturbing resemblance for Stretch Armstrong, allowing the beats to take control of his elasticated body during ‘In The Hospital‘. A lacklustre ‘White Diamonds’ needed rescuing from a somewhat enthusiastic crowd but even they were helpless to save upcoming single ‘Kiss of Life’ and instead waited patiently for the chorus to kick in. Momentum was further eased when the lead guitar was deemed inaudible for a sultry rendition of ‘Photobooth‘. Drums were then discarded for the start of a stripped version of ‘On Board’ only for the percussion to return for the track’s finale when MacFarlane was mixing it with the adoring hoards at the front. Alas, like Florence and The Machine before them, this was another set to fall victim to time constraints as the performance prematurely finished on a triumphant ‘Paris‘, a situation which left the band to embarrassingly apologise before scampering.