01 March 2011

Gig Reviews - Fenech-Soler / Florrie

Fenech-Soler Gig Review:

Hoot Hoot to you fellow feathered friends. Whilst indeed all of us have been cleaning our feathers and gulping down the odd rabbit or two, I went to a couple of significant gigs. The first being Fenech-Soler all the way back in October. One word could sum up this gig; AMAZING. They performed at a small club in Brighton (UK), so the gig itself was fairly intimate despite the sell-out crowd and packed, sweaty atmosphere. Support came in the form of The Special K's, Kinema and Shake Aletti, who all did a splendid job in building up the crowd and generating a lively presence before the main gig.

When it was time though, Fenech-Soler were utterly brilliant and knew how to engage with a crowd. The songs they belted out were performed with verve and infectious energy; “Lies”, as previously reviewed on Owlbynight, was strong and ignited with a cumulative build-up of synths, bass, keyboard and guitar into a snowball of bounding madness. “Demons” was a skittish blend of continual and reliant cymbols, squeaky clean vocals and gusto drumming. “Stop and Stare” was a jabbing mix of 90's sounding trancey synths, oceanic keyboard work and icy yet smooth singing. These three tunes were the cream of the crop, but each song the crowd easily revelled in, becoming part of the Fenech-Soler space ride. Friendly Fires and Delphic should watch out.

The dark dingy feel of club Audio coupled with the excessive smoke machines and bodged neon strobe style lighting gave the impression we had walked onto a tacky 1970’s space movie. The combination of the slightly meagre stage, the execution of the bands songs with professional ease and competence and the galactic pulses of heavy and thunderous indie-electro this Lincoln four piece were so amazingly capable of playing worked effectively. I half expected a randomer dressed as Darth Vader to come on and have a blast at the drums, but no, this was not the case.

Evil galaxy lords aside, I got to meet the band afterwards and seriously, these guys are humble and down-to-earth, chatting away and signing autographs, which was probably the last thing they wanted to do when the alternative option was to chill out with a couple of cans. Either way, if Fenech-Soler keep up this awesomeness, then surely these guys will catapult wildly into the more mainstream scene perhaps and be embraced by many music fans alike, and deservedly so. Don't forget to Facebook/Myspace/Twitter these guys up, buy their debut album if you already haven't done so, and submerge yourself in their glittered electro-indie goodness.

Florrie Gig Review:

Finally the blonde siren with a killer set of vocals and sophisticated ‘noggin’ on her svelte shoulders going by the name of Florrie, did a show in my hometown around three weeks ago as part of her initial UK wide tour. First let’s set the scene, we arrive a tad late. There is no queue outside, no door fee, nothing. The general thought is along the lines of “this is not good news at all”, especially when the club next door is rammed to the hilt with clubbers. Upon entering, the stage is prepped and ready to be played on, but where are the crowds? They had simply not turned up. A spattering of around 40-50 were present at first suggesting bad promoting on behalf of Club Coalition in Brighton. Something that Florrie completely didn't deserve. Looking at the silver lining to the then gloomy thundercloud, the feeling was, in a distorted way, that the sparse turn-out added to the personality of the gig.

With a small but loyal crowd who had gathered, there was an overwhelming feeling of intimacy and it was clear that the people there just wanted to hear this girl, her bandmates, her unique voice and sheer talent at constructing superb records. Florrie herself exuded an air of regal chic and debonair; an English Rose, some could say, here to grapple with the seemingly neglected female-electropop-music sector. With Sky Ferreira, Little Boots, La Roux, Uffie and the like on a period of AWOL, Florrie sits neatly between the “Where are they right now?” and the “Oh...who is this appearing?”, cue a resurgent Beth Ditto, a formidable Claire Maguire, intuitive Oh Land and vibrant Yelle. Comparisons aside, Despite the circumstances mentioned, Florrie proudly stood tall and held her own. She possessed that fine thread that forms a crucial link between the performance, her persona, the band and the small crowd, and her web ensnared us all.

At times it felt like there was a wavering of overall engagement but that is completely understandable considering the factors leading to the gig’s outcome. It is essential to remember that Florrie is still an underdog of the internet-based music world and word is yet to spread. This tour is the first stepping stone, so naturally there will be a feeling of "the unknown". Florrie however, floated majestically from song to song. "Summer Nights" was an earthy array of steady beats, Miami vibalicious sweetness, sneaky synths and sleek vocals. The sincere and succulently tender “Give Me Your Love” built up to an anthemic pounding of drums, regal keying and sublime singing to create a dynamic and emotive chunk of indie derived pop at its contagious best. The Downtown urban grit and subtly enigmatic and sexy “Call 911” all showcased Florrie’s vocal and performance credentials. Silky, with attitude, and underlying depth to the lyrics, the composition of mature synthing and racey fervent beats epitomises the skills Florrie has honed down to a fine art form.

The Florrie mixture certainly seemed to contain the essence of Little Boots, Kylie Minogue and Uffie, and it's this blend that means Florrie has such widely diverse appeal. The spectrum of range and difference of songs blended with relative dynamism, something a lot of established artists fall way below the mark at achieving. I met Florrie after the gig to pester her for a photo and all I can say is; intelligent, genuine, charismatic. This lovely lass is a winner.

Florrie's intimate performance fired the critical salvo that sunk the critic's battleship named “Alternative female solo pop is dead” and looks to of won the battle. Can her big guns win the war? If you ignore the obvious and tacky sexual pun, it is clear she can, and will surely. The ingredients are there, the fighting spirit visible. Florrie, we salute you.

As always, check out Florrie's Facebook/Myspace/Twitter, show the girl some love, and hit up her homepage to download free tracks from her amazing "Introduction EP".

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