Leeds Refectory/ Manchester Academy
30 June 2005/ 8 July 2005
What a lucky girl am I…Funeral For A Friend not once but twice in a week! And what a top class performance they put on for us. There is no doubt that I have just had two of the best nights ever, nights I will never ever forget.
First supports were Gratitude (also see album review) and A Static Lullaby. I have to come clean at this point and admit that I didn’t get to see Gratitude on either night – in Leeds I was busy interviewing Funeral drummer Ryan Richards on the FFAF tour bus, and in Manchester an error on the tickets meant that the gig started an hour and a half before stated! Nevertheless I did hear from a friend that they played an impressive set. A Static Lullaby are considerably more upbeat and began to really woo the crowd with their grinding emo tunes.
Next on the bill were Bullet For My Valentine, and the fellow welsh rockers proved to be hugely popular with the crowd; in Leeds before they had even began to play a note there were several circles formed waiting excitedly holding one another back until the very first note! In Manchester Bullet received a smaller scale but equally enthusiastic welcome. Bullet ripped apart the room and furiously ploughed straight into Hand Of Blood whipping the crowd into a frenzy. In Leeds the whole room went mental and the jumping and screaming spread right to the edges of the room. The pits were rough as hell and by the time they finished their set the crowds were dripping in sweat and already exhausted. Funeral For Friend couldn’t have selected a better and more appropriate warm up act. See my Bullet For My Valentine review from their Leeds Cockpit gig for more!
A well deserved beer later and Funeral took to the stage to the delight of a wildly excited audience. Kicking in with Streetcar in Leeds and Juno in Manchester, the welsh rockers blistered through an absolutely amazing set featuring a mix of songs from latest album Hours, debut album Casually Dressed And Deep In Conversation and the fantastic EP Seven Ways To Scream Your Name. The circle pits resumed and everyone went crazy jumping crowd surfing and singing/screaming along with every single word that Matt, Gareth and Ryan sang. I was most impressed with Ryan’s ability to beat the skins like there was no tomorrow and scream his lyrics from the pit of his stomach at the same time.
Funeral’s superb set included a gorgeously heavy Recovery, The Art of American Football, Rookie of the Year, All The Rage, Bend Your Arms to Look Like Wings, She Drove Me To Daytime Television and of course Red is The New Black. More chilled and definitely emotional moments were the heart wrenching performances of Roses For The Dead, the beautiful History, The End of Nothing, and Juno (the screamo version). The guys also blessed the audience with a cracking rendition of Alvarez, and then of course Escape Artists Never Die to close. Throughout the gig Matt Davies giddily spoke to the audience, yelling ‘Are you guys having a good fucking time?’ and clearly having a great time himself, joked ‘Can Everybody sing along to the next one if possible? That was fucking terrible! Can everybody sing along to the next one please? Can you all sweat a lot too?’
A truly awesome experience – I can’t tell you how much you need to experience Funeral For A Friend firsthand. There aren’t many better ways to spend your money, trust me. I walked out of these gigs feeling enriched and totally contented.