Friendly Fires; Bloomsbury Ballroom II, London, Saturday December 1

A new kind of ballroom dancing

Great mysteries in modern music include, ‘What became of the likely lads?’, ‘Is this it?’ and, er, ‘Who must be hanged for The Twang’s existence?’ And, as of this evening, ‘Why the hell have Friendly Fires still not signed a huge record deal?’ We can only assume the A&R scramble’s been bloody.Ed Macfarlane, chief Friendly Fire, singer and bassist, appears centre-stage beside a table covered in all manner of objects to either shake or bash. Throughout his band’s seven-song set he’ll pick up whatever takes his fancy to assist crowd-winking drummer Jack Savidge, opting for a cowbell for brilliant new single ‘Paris’, while a cymbal gets a good hiding as ‘Ex Lover’ brings tonight’s show to a reverberating standstill. Yet for all their showy charisma, for those punching air the hardest tonight, the band could be playing behind the stage’s closed curtains. The sweatiest dancers aren’t even facing forward as the band ingest Frankie Knuckles’ ‘Your Love’ and hock it up as their own power-pop party hit. So, if you thought that 2007 proved that indie bands doing live dance music was always going to be about haircuts and fluoro hoodies, in the final weeks of the year, you might have to think again.

Stuart Stubbs