LIVE: Funeral For A Friend @ HMV Borderline, London (13/02/2011)

Date: February 13th, 2011
Venue: HMV Borderline, London
Support: Spy Catcher, Canterbury


Tonight’s rather intimate gig makes up part of HMV’s ‘Next Big Thing’ series, which is supposedly providing us with an insight on who will be the next act to make it big. However, based on this evening’s evidence on stage, neither support band will be the act to carry that title on ’til the end.

Spy Catcher (**) are up first, and their indie-punk fusion soon becomes dull after opener ‘Remember Where You Were When Michael Jackson Died’. Tonight they’re without Gallows‘ bassist Stu Gili-Ross, and it appears as though he is the driving force behind the band, as they lack any sort of energy or stage presence, this isn’t aided however by the fact they are playing to a half empty, completely stationary venue. An honorable mention to their drummer Alistair Gordon whose antics behind the kit, do go some way to keeping the crowd entertained throughout their otherwise dull set.

After an extended interval, Canterbury (*) take to the stage. They’re a band who have been steadily growing as of late, and could have easily sold out tonight’s venue all by themselves. But based on the performance they give tonight, it’s almost astonishing that they’ve achieved this success. Right from the get go as they lead into ‘Peace & Quiet’ they’re far below average, and their dry power pop seems to only appeal to middle-aged men and the occasional girl down the front. As they depart the stage after what seems like an age, they are met with a polite applause that seems to represent thanks that they’ve left rather than congratulating them on their performance.

Funeral For A Friend (***) are now old hands at a young man’s game, their blend of emotional post-hardcore has been copied many a time since the release of their 2002 debut album ‘Casually Dressed & Deep In Conversation’. Tonight’s set draws heavily on older material, as well as some of their brand new songs, whilst offering nothing from their latest two full-length efforts ‘Tales Don’t Tell Themselves’ or ‘Memory And Humanity’. Despite songs like ‘Juneau’ and ‘Red Is The New Black’ sounding huge within the tiny confines of the Borderline venue, they just appear to lack that one killer song to top it all off. New songs like ‘Serpents In Solitude’ and ‘Man Alive’ sound great live, and appear to see the band getting back to their best, whilst other new offerings ‘Sixteen’ and ‘Damned If You Do’ sadly come across casual at best. However, the highlight of their set comes on closing track ‘Escape Artists Never Die’ as frontman Matt Davies launches himself full on into the crowd, providing an up close and personal ending on this, the most intimate of nights for the band.

Written by Oliver Thompson