A schoolgirl opening her jacket to reveal her bulletproof jacket hung on a massive backdrop that hardly fits on the Islington Academy stage as Welsh post-hardcore heroes Funeral For A Friend performed arguably their best album ‘Hours’ to a full room back on April 24th 2014. Now, the DVD is being released, ten years since the album was first pressed, for the rest of the world to see the veterans travel back to their heyday and bang out the songs that formed the band’s 2005 top 20 album.
Kudos to the band for hitting the hardcore route as of late, going back to their original pre-full-length days to keep fresh and fighting with excellent albums ‘Conduit’ and ‘Chapter & Verse’, but the size of the album backdrop shows how popular ‘Hours’ was and the size of the venues they were turning up at.
‘All The Rage’ and ‘Streetcar’ kick off the party, and the sense of excitement is spewing through the academy. “I can’t feel the same about you anymore” is just one of the many sing-alongs waiting to happen for “the people”, as Matt Davies-Kreye refers to them. With his now trademark Boston Red Sox baseball cap on, the 35-year-old frontman still has the energy that he did a decade ago and has “the people” copying his every scream.
The monster riff that starts ‘Roses For The Dead’ is received with a huge reception, as if to suggest it was unexpected, and encourages bedlam throughout the building. Guitarist Kris Coombs-Roberts is just one of two band members, alongside Davies-Kreye, that were around when ‘Hours’ was released, but the youthful replacements are the current drive behind FFAF‘s current excitement and aptly get through the sophomore album.
‘Drive’ starts the slow songs for the evening and, although the vocals aren’t perfect, the nostalgia seems to mean as much to Davies-Kreye as it does to the fans stood before them. ‘Monsters’ fits in for a heavy interlude and highlights the issues with set structure when playing an album in full, as ‘History’ arrives and gets the vocal chords truly tested out.
Kris Coombs-Roberts brings out the big guns for ‘Recovery’ and ‘The End Of Nothing’ as the guitar on the two tracks isn’t just a highlight for the album, but for the career of FFAF and this live DVD does it full justice. Davies-Kreye gets the microphone stand out for the first time since promoting ‘Tales Don’t Tell Themselves’, which means that it’s time for ‘Sonny’, and a rare shot of the crowd shows the room swaying from wall-to-wall to complete the full ‘Hours’ setlist.
A cheeky bonus to the album includes a host of new tracks for the younger guys to let their hair down to, but it’s ‘Juneau’ and ‘Escape Artists Never Die’ that make the place fully erupt and let the band know what these old songs really mean to them. A neat and honest speech from the band about some of the audience stepping away from FFAF after ‘Hours’ shows how grounded, accepting and proud they are of their career so far, and with such a varied and impressive mix of old and new songs to choose from it’s clear that the band can carry this on for years.
A neat trip down memory lane for one of the best albums in the genre is well worth the time of any old or new FFAF fans, or anyone who wants to relive their youth one more time.
Written by Michael Heath (@MikeBeef)