Live Review: Fenech Soler

11 Oct

Concorde: Friday, October 7 2011

Fenech Soler’s upward trajectory was brought crashing down to Earth in March when singer Ben Duffy was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

This tour was postponed while he underwent a successful bout of chemotherapy.

It would have been easy for the personal misfortune to have become a professional crisis. After all, they’d grafted non-stop for three years and Duffy’s illness was discovered just as their breakthrough seemed imminent.

As it is, their enforced absence seems to have given them even more energy and a heightened determination to blast out their floor-filling electro-pop at ear-splitting levels.

There was no gentle warm-up or greetings; instead, during the opening 15 minutes, they battered the brain with an incessant bombardment of artillery-fire synths, intense strobe lighting and structure- shaking bass as a pumped-up Duffy threw himself across the stage, frequently demanding “jump Brighton”. And Brighton jumped.

The band’s achilles heel, however, was the set list. Instead of devoting a four-song section to slower numbers, they then dropped them in across the rest of the performance with little thought to the irritating stop-start nature of the set it created.

 Low key tracks like The Great Unknown, performed with elongated wishy-washy intros and outros, shattered the pace and atmosphere while doing little more than highlight Duffy’s penchant for some grating, funked-up vocal wailings.

Thankfully they went out with a bang, ramping up the tempo again to kick-start Friday night in style for the swelled ranks at the front. It was loud, lively and exciting. And that’s when Fenech Soler are at their best.


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