Live Review: Funeral for a Friend

King Tut’s – 18/01

There was a time Funeral for a Friend were headlining the O2 Academy on the other side of town, with a capacity of almost ten times that of King Tut’s. It’s an injustice – while the band have never made the same album twice, it is hard to argue that any of them have truly been missteps (Memory & Humanity comes closest). On the plus side, it means those fans still around get to experience a well-seasoned band in an intimate environment with a celebratory tone, right?

Before the headliners, No Bragging Rights dish out some hardcore with much synchronised bouncing and a fair few snapbacks. Looking past the predictable delivery, they do at least use their position to preach a positive mental attitude – more than once, lead singer Mike Perez highlights the dangers of mental health issues and urges people to seek help if they need to and reassures folk they are not alone. Their songs are good, but if this band is changing lives then it is through their passion for life and what they encounter in it that sets them apart.

Funeral for a Friend are up against a tough crowd. Not only has their venue booking size decreased, but so too has the interest from fans in what the band are up to these days. More than a couple of songs from new album Chapter and Verse are rolled out to not much reception at all. Shame, because songs like ‘1%’ and ‘You’ve Got a Bad Case of the Religions’, dealing with income inequality and Matthew Davies-Kreye’s views on religion, are great and show that as they grow older the band are more and more tempted to engage with the world around them.

Only once they roll out ‘Recovery’, which some wanker in the back has been yelling for all night, do the crowd decide to engage, mosh, bounce like the old days. The momentum keeps up with ‘Juneau’ and ‘Roses for the Dead’ but it is a little late to recover a gig that feels like an uphill struggle against both crowd and technical difficulties. Songs like ‘Front Row Seats to the End of the World’ and ‘Maybe I Am?’ deserve to be hailed as warmly as classics, but tonight, that wasn’t for happening.

Maybe a bad crowd. Anything after Hours failed to engage. There really is only so much a band can do, and it is tough to see what Funeral for a Friend are doing wrong. They will have better shows, but more pressingly they need to find a way to connect and become relevant again.

[Scott Wilson – @HeartofFire]

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