Review: FMLYBND at Velvet Jones

Isla Vista Synth Rockers Play with Kiev on Tuesday, November 12

Silhouetted in fog and colorful light, FMLYBND took the stage at Velvet Jones this week night as part of the CALIRUTA Tour (brought to you by Goldenvoice, the nice folks behind a certain California desert music weekend). It immediately became clear that our Isla Vista friends have gotten used to playing last (though on this tour they’re taking turns with indie-rock veterans Kiev). Tuesday nights aren’t an easy draw, even for a hometown band that’s topped the charts of the buzz-measuring rod/blog-amalgam HypeMachine. Nonetheless, FMLYBND drew a crowd of friends and family, coupled with a sizeable flock of folks curious to see these internet darlings for themselves. Most songs sounded record quality, with the improving quality and consistency of frontman Mac Montgomery’s vocals being outshined only by his charisma. But, despite the bands newly-minted headliner status, there were some “curious” aspects to FMLYBND’s hour-ish long performance that might otherwise be called “careless” were it not for the semi-casual feel of Tuesday’s hometown show. Both of the group’s popular, more distinct tracks were performed very early in the set (albeit with great precision). The remaining songs, save for an unattributed Joy Division cover, were largely undecipherable from one another, some sounding alarmingly similar to another three-syllabled synth-pop outfit from Boston. The set also ended abruptly, leaving many in attendance to wonder if there had been technical troubles. Growth, for bands as it is for people, is inevitable, with the variation lying in the direction of said growth. FMLYBND are clearly eager to start running — whether they first master the act of walking, though, remains to be seen.

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