It’s been a long time since Friendly Fires played an indoors gig in Ireland. May 2009, to be precise, when they played the Forum in Waterford. It’s been even longer since they played indoors in Dublin. So to say their show in the Olympia was hotly anticipated would be an understatement: it went onsale in the summer and if it wasn’t a sell-out, it was certainly close. But something wasn’t quite right and I’ve been trying to put my finger on it since the gig on Wednesday, December 7. It could have had something to do with the support act. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs were announced as supporting the band months back. So with the ridiculously early doors (seriously, it’s Dublin, surely people won’t mind going to a gig at 9), we scoffed dinner in a hurry and – practically – legged it to the Olympia. Yet when we arrived in, the rave hadn’t started; Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs were nowhere in sight. Instead, the middle-of-the-road Irish band the Kanyu Tree were onstage. I hadn’t seen their name as support anywhere (MCD tweeted it earlier in the day) so to say I was miffed would be an understatement. Their Script-lite songs were bland, predictable and are made for daytime radio, a sorry indictment. They were so bad that my company for the night, Brid O’Donovan, who is responsible for all the accompanying pictures of Friendly Fires, asked could we go anywhere so we didn’t have to watch the rest of the Kanyu Tree. So the crowd wasn’t exactly whipped into a frenzy for Friendly Fires.

When they arrived though, the energy levels in the room rose considerably, with the band tearing through ‘Lovesick’. The climax of that song also saw singer Ed make his only foray into the crowd of the night, which in hindsight, was quite strange. That ‘Jump In The Pool’ followed should have seen people bouncing off the ceilings – the Olympia has quite a low ceiling anyway, so it wouldn’t have been surprising – but it never happened. We saw Ed’s renowned hips move too. When I saw them in Waterford it was not as on display as it was here. Then, it seemed cool: this indie band had a singer who actually danced. But last week, it seemed overdone. Ed looked like he learned all his moves from a 16-year-old at a local disco. What’s cool about that?

Friendly Fires, it must be said, do not make music for the winter. I was questionable how the likes of ‘Hawaiian Air’ would sound in the middle of an Irish winter and it just sounds strange. The band were good, didn’t put a note wrong and tried to get the party started. But things never really took off. The songs don’t particularly stand out from one another either, and the only deviation from the party anthems (as the band would probably like you to call them) was ‘Pala’, from the band’s second album of the same name. I really like Friendly Fires, but they didn’t warm up this cold winter night. Brid really liked them though, so shows what I know. More photos from Brid O’Donovan after the jump.