Whilst the long queue waits outside in the freezing cold air, inside the 02 Academy the first of tonight’s 4 bands takes to the stage – Florence & The Machine . Spirited singer song–writer Florence Welch cuts quite a figure. She is a Titian haired beauty who immediately grabs your attention the moment she appears on the stage. They open with Between Two Lungs then My Boy Builds Coffins and the first things that strikes you is how powerful her voice is, at one point it soars above the band’s instruments. The crowd seem to know most of the set and respond accordingly as Florence jumps around the stage, her red locks glowing like firelight under the stage lighting. Cosmic Love and Girl With One Eye show off Florence’s vocal range perfectly. The highlight of the set comes when they play the raucous single Kiss With A Fist and then Dog Days are Gone. Having come third in the BBC’s Sound Of 2009 new music list, rumour has it that she’ll pick up an award at this years Brits for Critic’s Choice Award. So 2009 will be a busy year for F.A.T.M.


Next onstage are album chart toppers White Lies, the band a lot of people including myself have come to see. They launch straight into Unfinished Business, a murder ballad [written by bassist Charles Cave] and, after a few bars, the crowd goes wild when lead singer Harry McVeigh is joined on stage by Florence Welch who sings the remainder of the song with him. The title track from the album To Lose My Life and Farewell To The Fairground both sound very clear and polished; almost effortless. A Place To Hide [for me the outstanding track on the album] is delivered with the confidence of band that have been doing it for years. Death, the opening track from the album, closes the set – a track that sounds like Furniture from the mid 80’s but with dark undertones, and, as with quite a few White Lies songs, this has a bleak subject matter. Love, loss and murder are mentioned. But don’t let that deter you from seeing these guys play their dark synth pop. White Lies delivered a powerful, flawless performance.


Friendly Fires arrive on the stage and Lovesick is greeted with applause. It seems that different sections of the crowd have their favourite bands on the bill tonight. When lead singer Ed Macfarlane hasn’t got his face pressed in to his keyboard, he is dancing manically to On Board or Skelton Boy, his slight frame twisting and contorting to the funky rhythms. In The Hospital, White Diamond and Strobe are all well received, mainly by the female fans at the front screaming Ed’s name! At this point he decides to go into the frenzy, then reappears minutes later saying “I think I’ve slightly broken my toe” – that’s dedication to the cause. Photo Booth, Ex-lover, Paris and finally Jump In The Pool bring this high energy set to a close.


Glasvegas arrive on stage to the loudest cheers of the evening. Under a wash of blue light lead singer James Allan gives a rye smile and, as the band launch into Geraldine, wearing a striped jacket and John Lennon t-shirt he looks like a younger version Joe Strummer from The Clash. Lonesome Swan, Its My Own Cheating Heart then Fuck You It’s Over and Polmont On My Mind are all delivered to the adoring crowd with a powerful torrent of guitars and soaring vocals. Half way through the set a lot of the younger members of the audience head toward the exits to catch buses or lifts due to the late start. Glasvegas have refined there sound to stadium-style power. Go Square Go becomes a mass sing along and Daddy’s Gone closes the set to football terrace like chanting. James Allan and the band were note-perfect all night and gave a truly awe inspiring performance.


Set List:

Lonesome Swan
Its My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me cry
Fuck You It’s Over
Polmont On My Mind
Flowers And Football Tops
Ice Cream Van
Go Square Go
Daddy’s Gone

Review And Photos – Ian Dunn

2 Responses to “Glasvegas + Friendly Fires + White Lies + Florence & The Machine @ Birmingham Academy – 4th February 2009”

  1. Miles Groce Says:

    Wheyyy i’m in the forth photo down ACE review yet again nice photo’s !

  2. Ian Dunn Says:

    Hi Miles ,Thanks very much for your comments,i’m glad you enjoyed the gig.

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