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Funeral For A Friend : Manchester MEN Arena : 9 December
Funeral For A Friend are the sort of band that demand nothing less than complete and utter devotion.
emo-inspired Welsh teenagers named after an Elton John song Funeral For A Friend - end up
here? They take to the stage at the most soulless enormodome in Britain to be faced with a
throng of denim-clad, under-sexed Iron
Maiden fans, all waiting impatiently for tonight’s headliners’ tragic ‘drunk granddad
at a wedding’ routine. A "Maiden, Maiden, Maiden" terrace chant immediately
breaks out, followed by a volley of jeers. It’s not the most promising of entrances, particularly
as the first chords of set opener ‘This Year's Most Open Heartbreak’ haven't even
been struck yet. It's evidence, then, of just how far Funeral have come in the
the last year, that by the end of their alloted 45minutes the catcalls have been replaced with
something resembling - wait for it - applause.
So why the shift? Simple. Yes, their beating heart is undoubtedly sappy emo but tonight
Funeral are on inspiring, ferocious form. The coruscating metal riffs and hard
rockin’ exuberance of Top 20-bothering single ‘She Drove Me To Daytime
Television’ sound truly heroic under the circumstances. ‘Escape Artists Never
Die’, meanwhile, is an inspiring, backs-to-the-wall triumph.
Throughout the set fresh-faced singer Matt Davies is a mic swinging, convulsing
showman (of sorts). During ‘Juneau’’s anthemic (and oddly arena-sized) chorus it
becomes clear that he’s not just singing (or screaming, for that matter) these songs - he’s
reliving every second of the experiences that inspired them, reopening old wounds every time the
words leave his mouth. Tonight’s crowd may be oblivious to it, but just listening to
FFAF’s muscular, ear-splitting extremo noise and then politely applauding
afterwards is nowhere near enough. Prepare yourself for complete hysteria when they hit your town
headlining the upcoming NME Awards Tour. Like fellow Valley boys the Manic Street Preachers before them, Funeral
For A Friend are the sort of band that demand nothing less than complete and utter
devotion. Tonight that devotion comes easily.
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