Live Review: Ross From Friends – Soup Kitchen – 15/03/18

Words by Isabel Sanchez

Everything about Ross From Friends makes you feel at home. The name ‘Ross From Friends’ itself tells you much more about the London-based lo-fi talent, Felix Weatherall, than you would first expect. Weatherall told TheLADBible the humbling yet amusing account of how he chose the name:

‘Basically, me and my childhood sweetheart would always watch Friends together when we were younger and it was kind of our ‘thing’. She actually left me after quite a long time together so I used it as my DJ name to try and grab her attention initially but it didn’t really work out. Now I can’t really change it because it’s gone too far and I’ll have to change all of my URLs etc.’

The story of the name encompasses the Ross From Friends’ character, revealing an outlook on life that, while being playful and young, has an emotional and serious side. You get the sense that he’s just a normal, chilled-out guy who has shared inside jokes about Friends with a loved one – a scenario we can definitely all relate to.

This relatability, mixed with a down-to-earth sense of humour and touching emotion, are intrinsic to his music and performance on that wonderful night in Manchester’s Soup Kitchen. Weatherall successfully pulled off bringing live music into the venue’s club environment with an original setup that featured a DAW, a guitarist and a saxophonist. The set started with ‘Crimson’ and seamlessly transitioned into other bangers like ‘Talk to Me You’ll Understand’, ‘Romeo, Romeo’, and ‘Suzinak’. It also included some magnificent unreleased material from upcoming EP Aphelion, due April 6th.

However, perhaps the best part of the whole show was the musicians themselves – their contagious smiles, their vibrant energy and dance, and their entertaining interactions with the audience all culminated to a fantastic stage presence. From the moment they came on stage they had completely captivated and conquered the crowd. Watching them play together is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It’s like watching three best mates have the time of their lives as they share their joy for music with whoever cares to join. That, in a way, is perhaps what the lo-fi genre is all about and what makes Ross From Friends such a star of the scene. There’s none of the pretentiousness that comes with clean-cut production and with being a big-name DJ. It’s simply about relaying the beautiful experiences you have with your friends through the warm sounds, uplifting melodies and, of course, the funny names, that characterise lo-fi.

The whole night would not have been possible without the touch of Transmission Funk, who also deserve an applause for perfectly curating the event – they picked an ideal venue in the city for the artist, sold just the right amount of tickets and had great opening and closing acts. Unlike most blurry Soup Kitchen nights, there was barely anyone in the smoking area, there were no queues for the toilet and the bar wasn’t too busy. Everyone (and I mean everyone) was on the dancefloor, utterly consumed by the blissful energy of Ross From Friends. The trio crafted a euphoric sense of unity in the crowd as friends held hands in the air, others embraced while some were simply brought to tears by the elation created by the music and mesmerising atmosphere. The whole affair felt like a joyous gathering of a group of close friends in a mate’s basement, all coming together to appreciate music.

Overall, you get the same warm feeling from being part of a Ross From Friends gig as you would from watching a Friends episode; itfeels like home and an experience I would definitely recommend. Weatherall and his companions promise to deliver a unique performance that is honest, original, inspirational and simply unforgettable. There aren’t that many artists out there who manage to capture today’s youth in as touching a way as they do and Felix Weatherall is definitely one to watch out for in the future.