When you think back to how big Funeral For A Friend once were, tonight’s show at the Electric Ballroom might seem like a huge step down. And whilst it is a considerably smaller show than the venues the band once played, it’s nice to see this doesn’t bother them. Over their fourteen year career, countless bands inspired by Funeral For A Friend have come and gone, yet the Welsh post-hardcore veterans are still here.
First up were British punks Creeper (7), who despite being a new band already look at home playing to rooms this size. The slight goth influences on their punk rock sound are enough to distinguish them from the hordes of upcoming UK punk bands right now. The songs taken from their debut EP sound even more impressive live, and frontman Will Gould keeps everyone engaged throughout their set. It may be early days yet but based on tonight’s performance there are big things to come from Creeper.
Next up were No Bragging Rights (8) who take a much more aggressive approach to things than Creeper. They might not be radically different to a lot of melodic hardcore bands around but that doesn’t really matter tonight given how good their performance is. There is a real intensity throughout their entire set and when their songs tackle subjects like depression and abuse it’s clear this intensity is genuine. It also helps that No Bragging Rights have plenty of great songs in their arsenal with “Outdated” and “Cycles” proving to be real highlights from their 30 minute set.
By the time Funeral For A Friend (8.5) arrive on the stage the venue is packed out, opening with recent single “Pencil Pusher” the band have plenty of energy, however this is something which the crowd seems to be lacking. After a little encouragement from vocalist Matthew Davies-Kreye for some “nice, healthy circle pits” the crowd soon starts to pick up. The moment the band drop “Streetcar” four songs into their set the audience suddenly erupts.
It soon becomes clear that songs from “Casually Dressed And Deep In Conversation” and “Hours” are getting the best reception but this doesn’t mean the bands newer material gets ignored. Funeral For A Friend manage to find the right balance of providing a dose of nostalgia whilst not relying on it for their whole set. It’s also clear that the bands newer material is more suited for the smaller venues they are now playing as there is more of an aggressive, hardcore influence to these songs. As impressive as these newer songs are, they just don’t compare to moments like the entire room singing the “Yet I’m nothing more than a line in your book” phrase from “Juneau”.
Wrapping things up with “Roses For The Dead” Funeral For A Friend end tonight on a real high. Even after fourteen years Funeral For A Friend are more passionate and energetic than they ever were. Tonight proved that they are far from over.