Despite releasing a new album recently, Getintothis’ Cat Vivian sees the Funeral for a Friend crowd pining for the band’s old hits.
The Kazimier saw the last return of Funeral for a Friend to Liverpool last week. The band recently announced they plan to do one major tour next year before parting ways. Having released their seventh full-length album Chapter and Verse back in January to mixed reviews and the venue providing one the last of their intimate shows, the turnout would prove to be interesting.
Trickling in slowly, a little after 8pm fans gathered to see opening act, Liverpool’s Native Kings. The crowd seemed rather distant and slightly on auto-pilot at first however warmed up gradually, as did the venue, as the set continued. The trio gave a flawless performance delivering catchy tune after catchy tune.
Varying from a funky Incubus intertwinement of bass and guitar to solid Rage Against the Machine heaviness, the set had a kind of neat and accomplished sound that wouldn’t see the band out of place playing a teenage party in an American film. At times there were also some Matt Bellamy style inflexions in singer Cameron Warren’s dynamic vocal range along with an overall influence from Muse on the trio. With such mainstream bands cited, the group can be said to be an all-round, good alternative rock band.
Next up were Welsh act the Vestals who perhaps created a slightly more suitable atmosphere for the Kazimier, aided by the increase in crowd size and use of a projector. The band were a post-punk dream with jangling guitars and melancholic overtones reminiscent of The Cure, Echo and The Bunnymen, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Smiths and the Stone Roses in more uplifting moments. Set to the backdrop of scenes from Donnie Darko, they even played the Bunnymen’s The Killing Moon which was well executed despite the sorely missed piano parts. Pondering if every day was Halloween, the song Mrs Halloween is pure pop punk goodness and gets in your head after one listen. The set ended slightly quicker than Native Kings’ but nevertheless did the job. This band is definitely recommended for anyone who likes the post-punk sound as it manages to take the greatest of its pioneers and turn it into something authentic and unique.
Funeral for a Friend finally descended onto the stage, quite literally down the steps of the Kazmier stage, to a crowd that were good and drunk at this point. They opened with single Bullet Theory which went down a treat shortly followed by Pencil Pusher. As the set went on, Matt Davies complained of a strained voice and the rest of the band laughed and compared it to the duck army vines on YouTube. (Be sure to search for it to recognise the full similarity). This was largely unnoticeable however and Matt still gave it the proverbial bifters to a circle pit that didn’t quite whip up as hoped.
There was somewhat of a request corner that formed to the right-hand side of the stage who shouted out songs but FFAF, albeit in a humorous way, made it known they’d be ignored and carried on to play Streetcar which saw a show of fists raised in the air. Shortly after this Matt went on to address the t-shirt he was wearing that read #refugeeswelcome and stated that the UK are ready and willing to help the current Syrian refugee crisis but the government aren’t. This was a poignant moment and gained a unanimous roar from the crowd and they went on to play History with the crowd raising two fingers reminiscent of the song’s lyrics. Escape Artists Never Die was next where Matt personally fist-bumped members of the mosh pit before ending on Roses for the Dead and making a rather emo heart hand gesture to the crowd at the end.
Overall it was a good gig and it was clear, as kind of expected, that a lot of the crowd had turned out to relive some of the older hits. Matt acknowledged this by personally addressing and thanking the fans from the 2001/2002 era despite the slightly rowdy but good spirited request corner. It’s interesting that hits such as Your Revolution is a Joke, Oblivion and Monsters were excluded from the set and replaced by newer material. This was well received however and the choice to play a smaller venue perhaps helped afford them this freedom. The group definitely connected with the crowd on a personal level and though from Wales, they definitely relished in the scouse sense of humour.
Matt gave the Liverpool crowd one last heart hand gesture, perhaps the last emo salute, before departing the stage. Funeral for A Friend’s last international tour Last Chance to Dance will commence in February 2016 with UK dates in Cardiff, Manchester, Glasgow, London and Birmingham.
Pictures by Getintothis’ Gaz Jones.