Gig Review

Funeral For A Friend
Such Gold, Major League, I Divide
Bristol, Fleece

29th January 2013

Funeral For A Friend     Such Gold           Major League              I Divide

I Divide kicked off tonight's event as the first of four bands. Their fast pasted pop punk and energetic performance drew a crowd at the Red Bull Bedroom Jam stage at last year's Hevy festival. They were on form again tonight, with lead vocalist Tom Kavanagh's powerful vocals setting the bar for everyone following. He wasted no time in engaging the crowd trying to encourage them to close up to the stage, but with little success in spite of a number of attempts throughout the set. "Runaway" followed before Dave Mooney's drums lead the way into "This Ship's Going Down". The entire band bounced around the stage like hyperactive kids, with bassist Kristen Huges standing on the speakers at the front of the stage before leaping backwards. By "Follow Me" a track off of a free album sampler given away after the set the room had started to fill up a bit more and a few of the crowd were bobbing along. Sadly as things started to pick up with the crowd it came time for the final track "Burning Out" with its massive digital bass drops. I Divide are worth a watch so if you see them supporting make sure you get there, I've caught them twice now and it's always been good.

New Jersey pop punk outfit Major League where net to the stage. Opening their set with "Nightmares" from "Hard Feelings". The vibes from the end of I Divides set carried over with a few of the crowd tapping their feet and bobbing along. Bassist Kyle Bell was the main source of energy at the start with the others joining in as the set went on. The non-acoustic version of "Need I Remind You" followed with Brian Joyce and Matt Chila getting playing some catty riffs that sounded great. "Because Heaven Knows" had some good shouty vocals backing vocals and earned them the first applause of the night. The college rock sound of Major League was most notable during the last two songs "Baltimore" from the album "Cities and States" and "What You Make Of It" from "The Truth Is...". Resembling "Set Your Goals" but not getting what they deserved from this crowd. They put on a pretty good show, but the crowd was definitely here for Funeral. A good effort for their first UK tour and from what I've seen and heard it won't be long before they're welcomed by fans screaming lyrics back at them and breaking out into mosh pits.

The Melodic hardcore group Such Gold where the main support for Funeral, with their fast paced yet intricate music. Opening with "Two Year Plan" with a noticeably heavier tone than I Divide or Major League. Ben's shouty vocals much more emotional than either of the openers, as he bellowed out the tracks. Such Gold had all the energy of I Divide, with much more ferocity. Most of the tracks where from their recent release "Misadventures" including "Higher Places", "Understand and Forget", "Survival of the Fondest", "You Are Your Greatest Threat (The Doctor Will Serve You Now)", "Storyteller" and "Locked Out Of The Magic Theatre" with the older tracks "Gutrot" and "Sycamore". Such Gold combine the aggressive music of Senses Fail with their own more scratchy raw vocal sound. Bouncing around the stage constantly, with some incredible licks and riffs that go hand in hand with top notch hardcore bands. Combining punk and metal both musically and in the nature of their performance, Such Gold would have fit in brilliantly at Hevy last year, and more than that they would have stood out. "Misadventures" and the change of bassist to the extremely talented Steel Wolf could really be the start of something.

Finally after the long line of talented support was done it was time for the iconic welsh rockers Funeral for a Friend. Having seen Funeral at Slam Dunk festival last year I knew they would be good, and getting to see them in a small intimate venue like the Fleece certainly suits the Hardcore scene. "She Drove Me to Daytime Television" kicked off the set beautifully, with the crowd singing along at the top of their lungs from the first word. If you own any of the live albums like "Final Hours at Hammersmith" or "Live At Shepherds Bush Empire" or the EP "The Great Wide Open" that mostly comprises of live tracks, you'll know that Funeral sound great and have a bit of banter that adds to the show. And like all Hardcore bands you know the show is going to be packed with energy and emotion. Needless to say tonight was no exception, although front man Matthew Davies-Kreye swapped a few of the humorous comments for a big brother like mini speeches about how any up and coming musicians should be 'selfish' and write songs for themselves, or describing what inspired the songs. Whilst this did put a bit of an odd tone on the show, with the change from Ryan Richards to Pat Lundy and the year off the group seem to be rebuilding and rediscovering themselves. This new identity (though very much the old Funeral we all know and love) had a mentor vibe with a little less going crazy and bouncing round for the sake of it, and a bit more this music means a lot to us and we're glad it does you. Recovery saw the first mosh pit take place at the front of the stage whilst the back of the room was content at tapping there foot and singing along. The fast passed "Red Is the New Black" started by the guitar of Kris Coombs-Roberts and Matt's vocals before kicking in with a scream. Pat Lundy's drums thumped away throughout, if it weren't for the fact everyone knew he was the new kid in the band no one would say he'd only played a handful of gigs with them. The show really stepped into overdrive as bassist Richard Boucher jumped into the crowd and surfed back to the stage. "Roses for the Dead" was the last of the older tracks before Funeral delve into "Conduit" with "Travelled" and the title track. The new tracks went down fairly well but didn't get the entire room singing along, and certainly didn't carry the emotion of the crowd like the rest of the tracks.

The set was rammed with energy from everyone on stage and there were a few humorous moments such as "the pizza maker" a term Matt used for a circle pit, that he requested from the crowd by rotating his finger in the air. Though generally the show had a more "preachy" feel to it at times as he discussed the "haters" and those whom "stab you in the back". None of the other members sought to make any comments about it and played a fantastic set with a few jokes thrown around between them. Generally it felt like quite an intimate affair of people who loved them for over a decade, singing along in a small room with the tracks they loved. Most notably "The End of Nothing", "Dammed If You Do, Dead If You Don't", "Broken Foundation" with a great solo, and the final track of the set "Alverez". It was only the front few rows who sought to jump around and mosh, and seemed most interested in "Grey" and "High Castles" when they were played compared to the more mellow crowd behind.

The show had an odd air at times, and didn't have the crowd bouncing off the wall like I expected but as the band has grown over their 11 years so have their fans. Much like a long relationship some of the heat and energy fades but a strong and deep emotional bond if formed. That being said one member of the crowd did leap onto the stage before jumping across behind Matt who like the rest of the band carried on as normal, before he dived into the crowd.

As the encore tied of the night beautifully, with two big sing-along's that for me sum up Funeral at their best. There not the heaviest screamiest hardcore band in the world like early blackout, and they're not the poppiest or softest, but they are better at those slightly softer songs so well and "Juneau" and "History" are perfect examples. As everyone sung "raise your fingers for one last salute" as they did so themselves. The most incredible moment of the night came during the group vocals at the end of the track when Matt held his mic down and lent out over the crowd supporting himself with one of the pillars as everyone in the room on and off stage sung together, it truly captured the intimacy of the tour and the gig. I spent a lot of time trying to think of something to compare tonight too, but Funeral are the band that you compare hardcore bands too, as many are noticeably influenced by their music and performance's.

I Divide 3/5
Major League 3/5
Such Gold 3.5/5
Funeral For A Friend 4/5

Review By Marc Rich

 Funeral For A Friend

Matthew Davies
Gav Burrough
Pat Lundy
Kris Coombs-Roberts
Richard Boucher

 Such Gold

Ben Kotin
Nate Derby
Skylar Sarkis
Devan Bentley

 Major League

Nick Trask
Brian Joyce
Matt Chila
Kyle Bell
Luke Smartnick

 I Divide

Tom Kavanagh
Henry Selley
Josh Wreford
Dave Mooney
Kristen Hughes

 Band Related Links
Funeral For A Friend Facebook
Such Gold Facebook
Major League Facebook
I Divide Facebook
 Review Score Code
- Top Cheese
- Brilliant
- Pretty damn good
- Ok I guess
- What Was That?