Every year at the New Noise Music Festival, established and emerging artists come out to perform in Santa Barbara. This year, FMLYBND simply stole the show.
The New Noise Block Party was just one part of the festival and it took place on Oct. 19, featuring nine bands in eight hours. Though the artists at the beginning of the lineup were alright, the show didn’t seem to actually begin until FMLYBND started rocking out onstage. Further into their set, as everyone began to realize how awesome they were, more and more people were attracted to the stage and the general atmosphere grew increasingly upbeat. Needless to say, there was no lack of fist-pumping or overall gaiety among the crowd as FMLYBND played their single “Electricity,” off of their debut EP Gold.
When hearing “Electricity” for the first time live, I was shocked to feel a sudden overwhelming wave of happiness. I was also surprised by the strong religious references in the lyrics; however, by no means did that affect the type of crowd listening at the Block Party. Anyone, regardless of religion, would be able to appreciate their music for what it is.
In an interview with Annenberg TV News, lead vocalist of FMLYBND Mac Montgomery clarified that though certain song lyrics do hold religious meaning to them, they can be interpreted in many different ways. He does not want FMLYBND to be categorized under the label of “Christian music” because the sound and flavor of FMLYBND is for all kinds of people, not just those who are religious.
That being said, the six-member band graced the stage in their grunge clothing and instantly got the crowd flailing their arms in heated excitement. In addition to performing their songs from “Gold,” they also threw in covers from older bands such as Berlin and Joy Division.
I was seriously impressed with their version of “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” and even dare to say that, in my opinion, their cover surpassed the original by Joy Division. Throughout their performance, each member of FMLYBND had an enthusiastic stage presence that resonated to the audience, with an exception of the drummer, Ethan Davis, who looked completely miserable from having to perform while he was clearly under the weather.
Nonetheless, they put on a great show collectively, frequently getting the audience to sing along and put their hands in the air. Montgomery entertained the crowd by briefly conversing with the audience, making small jokes in a charming, awkward way in between songs. As they announced they were about to perform their last song of the set, a random guy in the crowd screamed, “Doubt it!” to which, Montgomery playfully responded, “I don’t.” Ending their set in good humor and good music, FMLYBND left a lasting impression.
A version of this article appeared on page 8 in the Thursday, October 24, 2013 print edition of the Daily Nexus.