Gig Review: Fickle Friends @ Riverside, Newcastle (18/10/17)

It’s naïve to think that because a band has good songs that they’ll, in turn, have a good live show. A good gig needs a bit of edge – a unique vibe or atmosphere that an audience can buy into. Fickle Friends have mastered the art of atmosphere.

With fake palm trees flanking the drum-kit, neon pink lighting blanketing the floor and a massive disco ball rotating overhead, the stage was set. Within the next hour, Fickle Friends would take the expectant Riverside crowd on a sonic journey through a world of 80’s inspired indie-pop bubble gum. Synths incoming.

After opening with the aptly named ‘Hello Hello’, frontwoman Natti Shiner quickly addressed the crowd, recalling the band’s last time on Tyneside she said: “It’s nice to see so many people here, last time in Newcastle 80% of the crowd were the support band’s family and friends.”

Natti fed off the energy of the fans, when they would jump, so would she and vice versa. She had an effortless likeability and used it to work the crowd in what was truly an interactive experience. Splitting the crowd down the middle for ‘Cry Baby’, both sides had half of the chorus to sing each.

Fickle Friends are still in the process of recording their debut studio album, which is due early next year, meaning Riverside was treated to a couple of ‘unheard’ tracks – ‘Wake Me Up’ and ‘Rotation’. Both songs were in keeping with the band’s already successful formula; a synth-pop core with just the right amount of indie edge to keep both camps happy.

In 2017, it seems that the majority of bands, regardless of their fame, will do an encore. Not Fickle Friends. Despite the crowd waiting and chanting in anticipation, it simply didn’t happen. Whether they had just exhausted their catalogue of tunes or it was a conscious decision, it was refreshing none the less. If every gig ends with an encore then surprise will soon become boredom. Fickle Friends are a one of a kind bunch, don’t let the label ‘pop’ scare you.

Words: Johnathan Ramsay (Review written for Gigs North East)