Live at Leeds Metropolitan University on Sunday, 19th October 2008
After trekking through Leeds - without a coat - in the bitter Yorkshire winter, we were greeted with a problem relating to our guest-list places, which meant we were able to just get in the venue in time to see Cancer Bats in full swing. The sound quality from the back of the room is atrocious, and as a result, many of the band's songs are inaudible, yet still sonically punishing. Visually however they are a treat, with vocalist/mentalist Liam Cormier frequently flinging himself into the crowd to sing from amongst the faithful. The band leave the stage sweaty, elated, and looking very, very pleased with themselves.
Funeral for a Friend are a band who often find themselves on the cusp of greatness, but never quite hit the heights. Tonight's set follows a path similar to their career to date. There are highs - a stonking 'Escape Artists Never Die' being one of them - and there are lows, including much of the new material - with the exception of 'Waterfront Danceclub', which is a corker - that they choose to air tonight. It isn't that these songs are bad. The problem FFAF have is that played alongside classics such as 'Streetcar' and 'Juneau', the new material comes up just a little short. 'Into Oblivion (Reunion)' sounds massive, as does a spine tingling rendition of 'History', whilst early favourite 'This Year's Most Open Heartbreak' is brutal and sublime in equal measure. FFAF's problems however lie in their momentum. Songs such as 'Roses for the Dead' lift the atmosphere through the roof, a buzz which is cut short by half hearted banter between songs, something front-man Matthew Davies-Kreye seems to continually struggle with. The problems resurface during a rare rendition of 'Your Revolution is a Joke', a song so epic on record it deserves nothing less than a mass sing-along, which appears to be ably provided by the Met crowd. The vocalist's response of "That sucked!" after a penultimate verse ultimately robbed the moment of the gravitas it deserved, but this is only a minor gripe. For the most part, the band are on top form, with a catalogue of songs that bellies their scant number of years together. When they get it right they rival any band around right now, and for a couple of minor issues, this could have been a perfect show.