Tag Archives: onboard

Bass Line #4: Friendly Fires – On Board

If it hadn’t been for Ed Mac, Edd, and Jack of Friendly Fires, I never would have become friends with Phil or joined up with There Goes the Fear in the summer of 2009. The St. Albans band were the first band after I’d become a music blogger I followed to the UK to see live; they headlined the Dot to Dot festival in 2009 and I caught them in their top of the bill slot at Nottingham Rock City.

This was also the site – well, to be fair, it was on their tour bus parked in the car park of Rock City – of my first in-person interview. Talk about being thrown into the fire. To say I was nervous was a massive understatement, especially when their tour manager gestured for me to go up the stairs into the bus and I nearly walked right into the back of frontman Ed Macfarlane. (Whoops.) Since then, every single time I’ve managed to see them live in America, the three of them have always been so nice and pleased to see one of their regulars coming round again to see them play.

This was one of their mainstays in the early, pre-‘Pala’ days. ‘On Board’ boasts a funky as all hell bass line played by Macfarlane on record, and it’s easy to see how his personal affinity to house music fed into the way this song sounds. Also enjoy the promo video, which I had the pleasure of finding out personally from the band on that very bus was actually all their mates dressed up in costumes created by a very artistic friend of a friend who dressed up as a shrimp to collect her university diploma in art (not kidding). The video is endearing in its DIY nature. Back when they was!

I was unsuccessful in finding a bass cover of the song, which is probably just as well as the ones I saw for ‘In the Hospital’ and ‘Skeleton Boy’ were god awful. I guess it just goes to show that Ed Macfarlane is an amazing bassist and any attempts to duplicate the super funky underlying bass lines of Friendly Fires songs will remain masterless except by their original master.