Future Of The Left, Blacklisters, Cleft: Roadhouse, Manchester


Once more to the future for one of the best bands in the country, Getintothis’ Joseph Viney is ensconced in a world where pleasure and pain have blurred boundaries.

No matter how good they actually are, Future Of The Left have always operated outside of the popular streams. For a country with no genuine left-wing political alternative, it’s more than a little fitting.

But let’s not get bogged down with the failings of British government, and instead look at one of Britain’s current best groups.

The Roadhouse is a cramped, sticky and warm venue. The noise FotL create doesn’t blast it clean, but instead adds another layer of grime on top of what is already in place.

Tonight’s gig feels like a trip down memory lane with all four of their LPs getting a showing.

The hypnotic Kept By Bees, from 2007’s Curses, opens proceedings before it slides into the titanic The Lord Hates A Coward. From there on in, it barely lets up.

The hardcore wreckage of Arming Eritrea is nestled alongside utter gems such as Small Bones, Small Bodies, the mammoth-bass-supported Beneath The Waves Of An Ocean, the frantic hilarity of Robocop 4 – Fuck Off Robocop and the deadening thud of You Need Satan More Than He Needs You.

There’s time, as ever, for Falco’s classically-trained caustic wit. He finds it in himself to take shots at Metallica (‘for fans of Metallica, this is what a keyboard looks like.’), Robbie Savage (‘a construct’) and anyone who dares interrupt his flow from the densely packed crowd. There are plenty of chancers, but nobody can deal with Falco in full honey-dipped cynical flow.

Things finish in typically chaotic fashion. A medley that includes the eternal Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues degenerates into what is best described as an equipment-based orgy onstage. Drums are pulled apart, guitars leaned into stacks for ultimate feedback death, fragments of language and hell spill forth from the speakers.

Fuck it. A lot of us wouldn’t have it any other way.

Speaking of other ways, maybe there’s another way in which Blacklisters’ vocalist can prepare for gigs. Obviously bladdered to the gills, he stumbles on stage, talking nonsense and wrapping the cord around his neck. Unless it’s all a contrived act in which case…give this man an Oscar.

His stage antics are even less amusing. Swinging from the rafters and giving Getintothis a face-full of front row crotch, lying down and generally howling in between songs.

Let’s cut to the chase: Blacklisters aren’t much cop. The guitar work actually looks good, but the sound quality just destroys it and the result is an absolute cacophony. Saved by the bell, or at least a fantastic rhythm section, you’re best sticking to the records for these.

Cleft, however, are fantastic in both formats. Their brand of turbo-prog is fast, exciting and astounding. It’s music for the modern age alright.

The duo, riding a wave since the release of debut LP Bosh!, head out on yet another tour with brothers-in-arms Alpha Male Tea Party this month. Catch ‘em while they’re hot, friends.