Tonight is a sad night; as it is indeed one of the “Last Chances to Dance” with Funeral For A Friend on this their farewell tour. For some fans of the music such as I having never seeing them perform live, it is an important night, with the Hours album played in full and in order.
Starting off the evening we had Zoax supporting their debut album, from start to finish the vocalist Adam Carroll was loud, engaging and beaming with energy. Crowd interaction is this man’s game and the vocals were intense, as was the performance.
From the second track the he was bellowing lyrics to some of the fans along the wall, getting in the crowd and then finishing the tune amongst the people on the balcony shouting with no mic “Is everybody F*cking enjoying themselves”, to a cheer. Watching him return to stage for their final track of the night there was doubt in my mind that these guys should be huge. They are just so much fun to watch.
Next up was Hardcore Punk Rock from Shai Hulud, mentioned by Funeral For A Friend in their set as having been a major influence on their music and in fact were around many years before them. It is easy to see where the influences come from and the performance was well received, Again so much energy on show with the lead singer climbing the stacked speakers on the stage.
Funeral for a Friend approached the stage casually, needing no introduction. The crowd roared and the vocalist Matthew Davies-Kreye requested the lights up so they could see everyone. He was quite humble, thanking everyone saying: “We only have a few requests. Everyone just go bat sh*t crazy. Sing, scream, cry, bleed just don’t die, seriously that would be sh*t. Are you ready? (the crowd roared) Then thank you for coming out, this is Hours”
Many songs like History and Recovery were given long introductions and explanations, several with quite some detail. With it being their farewell they wanted to convey the meaning, as with Monsters: a “Song about human condition, because were all monsters”
We had a comedy moment prior to recovery where he spoke to a person in the crowd and said “you’re basically doing this (mimes talking). He realised the balcony couldn’t stand up and encourages them to abide and if you’re sitting down to “dance inside”.
“Hey Birmingham, you guys have the best reputation for the best head moshers in the U.K, I own you body for the next 3 minutes and I want everybody on the dance floor to shake the shit out of themselves (let’s not leave that to interpretation)”. This was without a doubt the liveliest track from the crowd perspective, the floor turning into a mosh.
The rest of the band retired back stage after this track and leaving Matthew with a guitar , giving his all for what was almost a tear-jerker I Am The Arsonist.
He went out of his way to give thanks to “two huge punk bands”. Zoax — “a pleasure to share the stage, we’re fans since about 4 weeks <laughs> – phenomenal band”. This is as true as it gets. Shai Hulud – “These guys have a major influence on our music and our lives and we wouldn’t be here today without them”.
Before Into Oblivion “This next song we said we would never ever ever ever ever play ever again. Feel free to dance sing and join in, and pretend you’re a fisherman lost at sea”.
This tour is clearly about giving back and thanking everyone that has touched and related to them over the years. Coming to a close with the last tracks of the night was when we get into the time machine back to 2000. Random stranger Gareth Smith, an early member of the band appeared on guitar for Juneau and finishing the set on Escape Artists Never Die, a fitting title for final song of the night, and for FFAF.
Although it was my first time seeing FFAF live, the performance, singing and show made it clear that the band gave it their all. It was an electric performance leaving me with mixed emotions. It left me with a heavy heart, and some sorrow but with a hope we will see this band again one day.
Wishing you all the best from Birmingham Live! Goodbye Funeral for a Friend 🙁
Funeral For A Friend Set list
All the Rage
Roses for the dead
The End of Nothing
I Am The Arsonist
Escape Artists Never Die
Words and photographs: Chris Bowley