Funeral For A Friend @ Bristol The Fleece 24/4/14 ★★★★☆

The Fleece

Another Funeral For A Friend tour is set to roll it’s way across the UK on 5 date, sold out trek, but this time it’s different, it has a lot more significance this time around. The band are going to be playing 2005 smash hit album ‘Hours’  in it’s entirety for the first time ever.

MTL 2First to grace the stage today is More Than Life who play a solid set combining old tracks with new cuts off of recent release ‘What’s Left Of Me’.  The crowd response and participation is pretty muted with many members of the ever growing audience unaware of who MTL are. However you can’t deny the fact that they play with their hearts on their sleeves and a passion for everything they are about and stand for. New songs such as ‘Weight Of The World’  and ‘Do You Remember’  translate great to the live environment and fit in easily with the older melodic filled material that the band churn out over the course of 30 minutes. This being the bands third Bristol show this year (they played Hit The Deck only a few days ago) is probably one of the main reasons for the lack of movement and interaction from the crowd early on.

BSFA slow rumbling over the PA announces Boysetsfire to the stage, and on walks what we can only describe as, a band of dads. They probably are all dads, but are they by no means a bunch of lame dads trying to recapture their youth. They play with a undeniable swagger and energy that matches and surpasses the hardcore bands of today starting out. They blend clean singing and harsh vocals with ease and with smiles plastered on their beardy weathered faces. Their’s dad jokes being dished out by the band and being lapped up by fellow middle aged rockers who are using their one night free pass to let loose and remember why they fell in love with Boysetsfire in the first place all those years ago. A worthy support act who mean a whole lot to tonights headliners…

FFAFFuneral For A Friend bound onto the stage to a raptourous reception and kick straight into ‘Hours’ opener ‘All The Rage’.  Everyone in the room goes off and loses their shit to follow up song, fan favourite and staple live set number ‘Streetcar’.  The feeling around the room tonight is of nostalgia and euphoria with every word and every note being taken in by all ages of this diverse crowd. ‘Roses For The Dead’  get’s its usual airing and provides the biggest sing-a-long of the night so far.

Now, if you’ve ever wondered what the name of the girl on the album sleeve is called we now know, it’s Mandy, and she’s been staring at us all night long from the back of the stage. The special moments tonight come in the form of not the usual FFAF live songs but of those that have not been played since the recording of Hours.  ‘Hospitality’;  a personal favourite, slows down the rip roaring start to show off a softer side of the band.  The end of ‘History’  is a moment in time that gives you chills as every voice sings every final word acapella. Out of the 11 tracks that make up Hours, 3 get their first airings, the aformentioned Hospitality  and album closers ‘Alvarez’ & ‘Sonny’,  with these two being the weakest songs to end a near perfect album.

Throughout the night we’re reminded why we love FFAF and why they were once the UK’s brightest hopes for a global takeover, think back to Download 2006. They were MAIN SUPPORT to GUNS N ROSES! GUNS N ROSES! Granted Axl and his bunch of mediocre clowns are a joke but hey, it was still a pretty big deal. They never released any bad albums, they were never the downfall of their own demise, they just faded away…

After that rollercoaster set of emotions from listening to a seminal 2005 album being played in full is over, we are treated to an encore. ‘Rookie Of The Year’  brings energy levels back up and is followed by 2011 hit ‘Sixteen’If this show and tour is about something great in the past, we are treated to something to look forward to in the not-so-distant future, a new song, and it’s not too shabby either. A few ‘Casually Dressed and Deep In Conversation’ songs finish up tonight with of course, ‘Juneau’  getting the accolade of biggest sing-a-long of the night. A triumph, a celebration, a brilliant night to justify why FFAF should stick around for a while longer yet.