Leaving their pens, promo pics and acoustic guitars at HMV, the Futureheads are at the Barfly tonight for a gig hosted by Kerrang! Radio‘s Emma Scott, to show us that what doesn’t kill your music career only makes you stronger.
Go:Audio kick things off tonight with their synth-powered pop-punk and do a pretty good job of warming the crowd up, garnering more cheers and applause with each song. They obviously enjoy being on stage and it shows.
You can hear the influences of Hellogoodbye in their music and they leave me wanting to pop on The All-American Rejects when I get home — I reckon if there were a happy kind of emo, this would probably be it.
The aesthetics aren’t the only thing to change when Gundogs take to the stage. With two female vocalists powering out dirty guitar riffs, Gundogs have a fine stage presence. Despite this I think they’ve missed the mark with the audience, it’s probably the wrong bill for them to be on. Regardless they carry on strutting and strumming, with a never-say-die attitude I think most would admire.
After a long wait, and an impromptu bit of stand up from the sound tech to ease the boisterous crowd, the Futureheads finally grace the stage. They quickly launch into ‘Decent Days and Nights’ turning the jeering to cheering and leading the crowd to dancing and the kind of pointing you see when binge-drinking and ‘Wonderwall’ cross paths on a Saturday night. I think you can count that as a success.
The Futureheads’ set is pretty much an equal mix of new and old material with the only middle-ground being ‘Skip To The End’ and ‘Area’ from News and Tributes. The new songs are well received and sound like they’re drawing more on the fast-paced punk influences than previously. The swaggering energy in ‘Broke Up The Time’ and their latest single ‘The Beginning of the Twist’ transfers very well in a live setting and keeps the crowd gripped.
It’s the older songs however that really keep the feet moving and the hands held high. It’s also obvious that people still get caught up in hysteria when they hear ‘Hounds of Love’, which raises the decibel level halfway through the set. If there’s one thing you can say about the Futureheads, it’s that they certainly have their backing vocals down to a fine art.
They finish up with the jaunty and slightly seedy ‘Man Ray’ only for the crowd to demand more, which they get in the form of ‘Piece of Crap’.
Barry, Jaff, Ross and Dave eventually leave the stage and despite playing seventeen songs it feels a little short. But maybe I’m too demanding.
Review – Ash Carter
Photos – Steve Gerrard