CHICAGO — Now this is how you start the day properly! Continuing in the tradition of blue eyed English soul bands like the Style Council, UK dance machines Friendly Fires ripped open a blisteringly hot day three at Lollapalooza on Sunday with an ecstatic set of synth pop that got lunchtime feet moving immediately at the Budweiser north stage thanks to high-energy singer Ed Macfarlane.
Unassuming at first, in that English way, Macfarlane came out grooving and never stopped, pogoing, spinning, shaking his head and punching the air during the bouncy New Order-at-a-rave opener “Lovesick.” Though already seemingly winded after just a few minutes, he continued gyrating wildly all through the polyrhythmic “Jumping in the Pool,” after which he was, predictably, drenched in a torrent of sweat.
A few songs later, he warned that the exertion might cause him to pass out as his wild stage pacing continued through the song he said was the band’s best, the slyly funky “Photobooth.” Despite facing directly into the noon sun, Macfarlane somehow kept his energy up, and the band ended on a high note with the falsetto funk and double drum kit calypso techno workout “Paris.” It was the perfect powerbooster to jump start the always challenging third day of Lollapalooza, one where hangovers, sun headaches, missing flip-flops and no sleep typically start to take their toll. When in doubt, just do what Macfarlane would, dance like you just don’t care.