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.

They’re probably asking themselves exactly the same question, but how the fuck did Funeral For A Friend – that’s

emo-inspired Welsh teenagers named after an [a]Elton John[/a] 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 [a]Manic Street Preachers[/a] 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.

Rick Martin