“We love Glasgow”, says frontman Matt Davies. “It’s the only place outside Wales that we feel at home”. And boy, do they ever. Funeral For A Friend are touring in support of new album Welcome Home Armageddon and somewhat strangely, the Glasgow leg of the tour is in 300 capacity King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, one of Glasgow’s most historic venues. It’s clear though that this venue has been chosen not to sell tickets and makes loads of easy cash, but purely for a love of the venue and the fans.
But lets rewind a little to the support bands. Fellow Welshmen Tiger Please are first up and although the numbers in the hall are quite small at this early stage, they still make a really good go of it. Their fans have turned up though and there’s some good support and banter with the audience.The frontman does look distractingly like actor Jonah Hill (Superbad) with a strange floppy quiff and the overall sound is reminiscent of Kings Of Leon except interesting. It’s a good start to the night.
Second support is from Rise To Remain who were recently signed to label EMI. Although not stunning, they’re capable. Scream vocals are good and while the same can’t be said for the straight singing they’re instrumentally very good and keep the interest level throughout.
At 9:45 though, the headliners take to the stage to huge cheers. It’s been a while since I was at the front for a gig (I’m getting old after all), but within seconds there was a surge that pushed me right to the front and the crowd went – for lack of a better expression – absolutely apeshit. But the good part of being so close to the front was seeing the huge grin on Matt’s face at the crowd reaction at only one song in.
After a couple more songs they stop for a chat and this sets the whole tone for the night really. A few songs, a chat, a song, a chat, etc. There’s some comical banter back and forth, especially round the clash of accents – since names were hard to pick out, someone in the crowd was thereafter referred to as ‘anal gland’, and another guy was called to the front of the stage to investigate his FFAF tattoo. This good-natured banter was prevalent throughout.
Of course, a gig isn’t a good gig without good music and this was certainly no disappointment. The setlist was biased toward the new material which sounded fantastic live. As I’ve said in my review of the album, its heavier than a lot of previous material and this was demonstrated to full effect when played live. Tracks such as “Damned If You Do, Dead If You Don’t” sounded fantastic as did the older material. Surprisingly, regular encore track “Juneau” was knocked off very early in the set which just shows the confidence the band has in the newer material. Of course there are some setlist stalwarts such as “History” and “Into Oblivion” which were greeted with the usual welcome reception too.
New bassist Rich Bouchers has set his place in the band with no problems whatsoever comfortably playing the old as well as the new. While ex-bassist Gavin Burroughs takes up his new guitar position as naturally as if he’d been there all along. Ryan Richards drumming and scream vocal are as vibrant as ever, as is Kris Coombs more technical guitar, but it’s singer Matt Davies who’s bursting with the most energy tonight as if he’s feeding off the crowd. He’s on fire singing and screaming his little lungs out and clearly loving the night that we’re all sharing.
If Glasgow really is their home from home, Funeral For A Friend are welcome back any time they want. I’ll keep the spare room ready.