Funeral For A Friend

Acorn Arts Centre, Penzance, Saturday April 14

Shiver me timbers – Welsh screamo types invade Cornwall

The lonely squawk of a seagull, the seaside stench of pasties, a lax observance of the legal drinking age, miserable tobacco-stained men playing bowls… there are many things you’d associate with Cornwall, but a resurgent screamo band on the cusp of releasing their best album yet is probably not top of the list. Yet here in Penzance – a far-flung tip of the UK where the rock heritage is summarised by a namecheck from Patrick Wolf and, ahem, Gilbert & Sullivan – is where Funeral For A Friend decide to make their return.

Funeral’s three-date seaside jaunt is the most rock-like thing this town’s seen since a crate of crack cocaine mysteriously washed up on the beach the previous week, and tonight a small convoy of chav-manned cars are circling the venue, offering middle fingers and cries of “EMO!” towards intimidated fans swaddled in My Chemical Romance merch. Inside, it’s a small crowd. So small that when guitarist Kris Coombs-Roberts manfully tosses his guitar pick into the crowd after ‘Red Is The New Black’ it sails over everyone’s heads. But it’s not that Funeral For A Friend are unpopular in Cornwall. In fact, what with only 0.1 per cent of the country being certifiably emo, 300 fans in a town of 21,168 is significantly better than average.

Soaring newie ‘Into Oblivion (Reunion)’ initiates a furious mosh that belies the crowd’s youth – they twist into a frenzy with all the vigour of kids acutely aware that this is their one annual chance to rock out. Like the rest of the upcoming LP ‘Tales Don’t Tell Themselves’, it’s positive, heart-in-mouth stuff – if a bit more Bryan Adams than Bring Me The Horizon – and stumps up irrefutable proof that Matt Davies, despite battling man-flu, is one of the few screamo frontmen whose voice can consistently produce the goods live.

FFAF in Cornwall then: it wasn’t just a gig, it was a fucking public service.

Mike Sterry