Tuesday, August 25, 2009

the phenomenal handclap band and friendly fires @ the el rey

I am an old woman--'cause despite my night ending at a respectable 11:30 PM (the going out bit that is...), I left the El Rey, beat. Clearly you need to train for this kind of high octane concert going.

The night opened with The Phenomenal Handclap Band, a.k.a. quite possibly one of the most difficult name in the world to live up to. While the jury is still out on "phenomenal," (right now I'd peg them more as energetic and charming...although that's harder to fit on a marquee) there was less hand clapping than the name might imply (three times, including an energetic burst during the last song). However, the sheer number of tambourines made up for it, as did Laura Marin and Lady Tigra's Blondie by way of Schoolhouse Rock vocals on "15 to 20." The 70s may have ended--but it's clear the party rages on.

A brief opening set, the crowd was primed for recent Mercury Prize nominees, Friendly Fires. Purveyors of slick dance rock, their eleven song set rocked rougher than I'd expected--raw vocals crashing against screaming guitar, mixed with enthusiastic clapping by both band and audience (clearly on loan from their opener). Songs were stretched out and reinvented under the strobing colored lights. Vocalist Ed MacFarlane displayed a strut that could put Mick Jagger to shame, singing, playing keyboard and guitar, and drums--air and real--to the delight of a gyrating crowd.

And then there was me--clutching my notebook and trying not to put anyone's eye out with my pen. Surely we could get Laura Marin and Lady Tigra to sing a rousing version of "one of these things is not like the other..."

Set List

1. Lovesick
2. Jump in the Pool
3. Strobe
4. Hospital
5. White Diamonds
6. Skeleton Boy
7. Kiss of Life
8. Photobooth
9. On Board
10. Paris

11. Ex-Lover

mp3: "15 to 20" by The Phenomenal Handclap Band
mp3: "Paris (Friendly Fires cover)" by Au Revoir Simone

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

phc reminds me of tom tom club and disco. i like it! thanks!