Ross From Friends Review: British Producer Lights up Säälchen

Felix Clary Weatherall, known by his somewhat distinctive moniker, Ross From Friends, released his debut album Family Portraits in 2018.

The young producer, hailing from Essex in the south of England, has built up a solid reputation for the live show he’s been touring around Europe, the US and Australia ever since. Intriguingly, as a relative newcomer on the electro circuit, he’s so far managed to balance both curating mixes for the UK’s Radio One and playing early slots at Berghain during his regular visits to the city.

The show at Säälchen on February 22 drew a full crowd, with those who’d been smart enough to buy their tickets early braving the Winter chill to line up on Holzmarktstraße. Arriving on stage a little late, the house was packed by the time the action started.

It’s tough to think of many other producers making these elements work in electronic settings right now

RFF is flanked by friends John Dunk (saxophone and keyboard) and Jed Hampson (guitar), allowing for a more energising live arrangement than the tracks on the record suggest. Starting off at a slower pace with some less familiar tracks from the album, the trio work their way into the event, feeling out the energy of a Friday night crowd in that strange post-work, pre-party point in the evening.

The distortion put on the sax and guitar suits RFF’s bouncy, intangible style. It’s tough to think of many other producers making these elements work in electronic settings right now, and all credit to him.

The trio work their way into the event, feeling out the energy of a crowd in that strange post-work, pre-party point in the evening

Throwing in some bigger hitters from the early EPs gets things a little warmer, with ‘Crimson’ and ‘John Cage’ causing an outbreak of appreciative cool-guy shuffling before 2017’s ‘Talk to Me, I’ll Understand’ (once ‘covered’ by former British Prime Minister, David Cameron) takes the pace up a notch. From here, ‘Project Cybersyn’ takes over, and for the first time, the mismatch between the heavier, techie sound and the relatively early start time become apparent. Nonetheless, the crowd laps up the remainder of the set, receiving an encore to send us on our way.

RFF’s tour continues further afield in 2019, but he’ll be back in Germany for Melt! Festival later this Summer.

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Luke began writing about music for his university paper while studying in England’s cold, post-industrial North. He became a regular reviewer of new releases, live shows, theatre and film, before moving to the big, grey blob of London. He has written indie and electronica reviews for indieBerlin since arriving in Berlin in 2017, while pursuing other freelance writing, editing and communications projects (and struggling to learn German). You can follow Luke here and read his recent reviews here.

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