Live Review :: FBi Social’s 2nd Birthday

March 28th 2013

It’s our birthday and we’ll brag if we want to.

It goes without saying that FBi Social‘s 2nd birthday was irrepressibly, pants-shakingly rad. But I’m going to say some things anyway.

Despite being a volunteer at FBi for about 9 months now, I’ve somehow never been to the venue. It’s been a source of great shame for myself, to the point where I can’t even look myself in the eye when I brush my teeth in the morning. Admittedly this has increased the accuracy of my brushing and consequently enhanced my dental hygiene, which is nice. But it’s done nothing for my self esteem. To remedy this, I clawed at the opportunity to witness FBi Social’s glorious emergence into the terrible twos.

Rocking up as early as possible, I encountered an extremely thorough ‘door dude’. He wasn’t about to let in any scoundrel claiming to be writing a review for the Flog, so I was subjected to an intense quiz on all things FBi Radio. He may as well have been guarding the Bridge of Death. However any and all twinges of irritation slunk away as soon as I stepped into that room and heard the music of Swimming.

I only managed to catch the last two songs of their set, but my mouth was agape the entire time. Much like the music of The xx, sparse instrumentation allows the vocal performances of the band to be understated while remaining at the centre of attention. Feminine voices intertwine with the masculine,  and underneath it all is a seemingly simple musical base. What thrilled me most about the music was the percussion. While played live on a drum kit (sometimes by two of the three members at the same time), it sounded very much electronic in its arrangement. I was reminded of the way Chet Faker‘s drummer brought Burial‘s ‘Archangel’ to life in a live cover of the track.

I badgered them while they were trying to pack up their gear, bought a shirt, and was so excited by their performance that nothing else impressed me until Tim Fitz. He played unabashed pop music, but in many different forms. Jangly guitar numbers flowed into soulful jams, but it all would’ve flown straight past me without much of a reaction if he hadn’t pulled out those incredibly loose, jazzy keyboard solos. Fitz took full advantage of his Nord’s capabilities, twisting knobs with one hand while the other hand went nuts over the keys. Improvisation at its best.

After Tim left the stage and his soloing fingers were safely back in their box, I ran across to the supermarket across the street for some nourishment that wouldn’t cost me half my payslip. Unfortunately, a multi-level inner-city shopping centre with no staff at the checkouts is basically another planet for a Newcastle boy like myself, so I got a little lost. I decided to stalk some people until they inevitably made their way back to the entrance. It was a successful plan, but I completely forgot to actually buy anything. All was well though, since Super Magic Hats provided me with all the sustenance I needed.

Super Magic Hats makes music that fills huge spaces. It’s not a forceful presence though; rather than engulfing everything in the area, it flows gently around anything in its way. Wispy strands of sound snake their way into people’s ears, and round-edged chunks of rhythm are soothing yet authoritative. This adds up to an odd reaction from the crowd. Half of them dance like maniacs, and the other half nod their heads sagely while they watch the producer trigger samples on his midi controller. It’s an appropriate fit for FBi Social’s birthday. Head music can be feet music, and anything goes on the second level of Kings Cross Hotel.


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