Their performance of the track – which closes out Humberstone just-released second EP, ‘The Walls Are Way Too Thin’ – came towards the end of the singer-songwriter’s set, performed at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire on Monday November 8.
It’s a faithful recreation of the slow-burning track, sans its swelling atmospherics and pared-back drum beat. Both singers’ disparate styles blend to form a hot-and-cold dynamic that adds to the song’s emotive character, while Steadman strums its melody on a green Fender Telecaster.
Take a look at the performance below:
The new duet marks Humberstone’s second recorded performance of ‘Friendly Fire’ with a collaborator; earlier this month, the artist linked up with Griff for a live redux of the song dubbed its “Emotional Grim Reaper” version. Another recent collab saw her dial back the song ‘Scarlett’ with Australian indie-pop artist Ruel.
Upon the initially release of ‘Friendly Fire’, Humberstone said she had written the song “on a very confusing holiday in autumn of ”. She explained: It was meant to be some time to heal but it became an agonising period of overthinking about the relationship I was in.
“I was very stressed because I knew the relationship was good and just couldn’t understand what was wrong with me or why I was having these weird confusing feelings. I felt I needed to get it off my chest and this song was my way of saying, ‘If I do hurt you in the future then I never meant to and I’m sorry.’”
Humberstone released ‘The Walls Are Way Too Thin’ – the follow-up to 2020’s ‘Falling Asleep At The Wheel’ – earlier this month. Alongside ‘Friendly Fire’, singles for the EP included its title track, ‘Haunted House’, ‘Please Don’t Leave Just Yet’ (a collaboration with Matty Healy of The 1975) and ‘Scarlett’.
In a four-star review, NME’s Sophie Williams called the new EP “a six-track collection that is remarkable for its emotional insight”. She singled ‘Friendly Fire’ out for its “sense of warmth and levity”, noting how “its brooding chords build into a hook about painful endings, soaring beautifully alongside Humberstone’s tender, folksy delivery”.