Venue: Bush Hall Date: 06/10/09 Photogrphy: Luptonn Moving to London from a sleepy village in the middle of nowhere was an exciting time for me all those years ago, especially musically. Being transported from a location with barely two decent venues to call home and a lack of decent bands to fill those holes, to a place which has an endless supply of great venues (though not so much anymore) and amazing bands regularly passing through would surely quench my thirst? Yes and No. To be honest the sheer volume of possibilities was overwhelming; often I felt the ‘who should I see tonight? [Insert band] or [Insert band]? blues. Not a bad situation to be in but one that has shaped my last few years as a consumer of music. What I’m trying to say is that I’ve become very selective of the bands I choose to see these days. This wasn’t an issue when I was presented by two of the best bands to come out of 2009; London based Fanfarlo and those young starlets, First Aid Kit. Both bands have released critically acclaimed records this year, so it was only fitting that I should bear witness to what turned out to be one hell of a magical night. Unfortunately due to other commitments we missed the opening band (I’ll make it up to you) so I’ll skip straight to First Aid Kit. First Aid Kit are the sort of band that have somehow found that magical ingredient that so many bands fail to ever achieve and that’s instant likeability. It’s just something that oozes out of their harmonies, their mature lyricism and how they tip their hats to the people that influenced them without becoming some awful folky tribute act. Tonight was the first time I’d managed to catch them live and they more than made a point as to why they were on this tour. Playing a selection of songs from their debut EP (Drunken Trees), a bunch of new ones (upcoming album) and that fabled fleet foxes song; the girls were 100% endearing and 100% spot on. I think a year of pretty intensive touring has ensured these girls know exactly how to put on a good night. After fifteen minutes of “they were so damn good, weren’t they?” and various other complimentary lines, Fanfarlo took to the stage. It’s really hard to delve too far into the details of a Fanfarlo gig. The only way I can describe the feeling is to explain it in an extremely pretentious manner. It’s like they’re the pilots of an extremely smooth flight. They welcome you aboard, take you somewhere you can never find again and only ask for a small fee to do so. Have you heard their album? It’s perfect right? Well that’s what it’s like live, just with an added energy. The beautiful surroundings of Bush Hall seem to compliment exactly what this band stands for; it’s beautiful, warm and friendly. When I started 2009 I asked everyone at The 405 who we should be looking out for and most people mentioned Fanfarlo and as they rung out the last chords of ‘The Walls Are Coming Down’ everything just fell into place. I’d be hard pushed to find a better choice for band of year, or even album of the year. What a night.