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LIVE! – Funeral For A Friend

July 27, 2010 by  

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LIVE! – Funeral For A Friend

ARTIST: Funeral For A Friend
SUPPORT: The Blackout
VENUE, TOWN: 02 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
DATE: 23rd July 2010

FIVE WORD REVIEW: Five Welshmen return to 2003

MAIN REVIEW: Tonight will be last headline show for Funeral For A Friend guitarist, Darran Smith. Earlier this year, it was confirmed that he will be leaving the band. Despite Darran’s departure, the band are continuing with new member, Richard Boucher. However, to accommodate Darran’s deserved farewell, the new formation of Funeral For A Friend won’t be participating in live events until after their August 1st appearance at Sonisphere festival. In addition to their festival set, the band announced two headline shows in Cardiff and London. As a parting gift to Darran, these two headline concerts are exclusively unique, as the band are playing their debut album, `Casually Dressed and Deep in Conversation’ in its entirety.

Due to traffic congestion, The Blackout are the only support act that I witnessed tonight. Prior to their performance, Young Guns and The Automatic had unfortunately already finished their respective sets in the prestigious confines of Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Nonetheless, The Blackout’s energetic display ensured that my frustrations with London’s traffic system perished. The band’s 2009 release, `The Best In Town’ was heavily represented, with singles `Children Of The Night’ and `Save Our Selves (The Warning)’ garnering a fervent reception from the crowd. The Blackout’s brand of catchy post-hardcore may appear formulaic on record, but the band truly excel in a live environment.

Funeral For A Friend don’t require any introduction to tonight’s spectators, and neither does their set list. Predictably, ‘Rookie Of The Year’ opens this monumental set with the zest and adeptness that is now synonymous with a Funeral For A Friend show. Many bands would struggle with the monotony of playing old material, but these Welsh rockers appear to relish the opportunity. Matt Davies sings `Juneau’ with the same desire and sentiment that attracted us to the group in 2003, and the lyrics “I’m nothing more than a line in your book” are impassionedly repeated by every single member of the audience.

Furthermore, the band’s captivating display only acts as a testament to the magnificence of `Casually Dressed and Deep In Conversation’. Each track seamlessly progresses into the next, without jeopardising the flow or tempo of the performance. For example, `Your Revolution Is A Joke’ may be the album’s most melodic track, but 2000 fans are singing every word with an intensity that only maximises the buoyant atmosphere.

`Novella’ concludes the main set in an entrancing fashion, though the band return with a 7-song encore that highlights tracks from their excellent back catalogue. `Roses For The Dead’, `Streetcar’, and even the b-side `You Want Romance?’ are transmitted to the audience with exuberant expertise. Additionally, The Blackout’s Sean Smith lends his vocals to a ferocious airing of `The Art of American Football’.

`History’ closes tonight’s proceedings, with supplementary vocals provided by their support acts and family members. Overall, it’s an apt and historic conclusion to Darran Smith’s tenure in Funeral For A Friend.




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