FFAF Small@ Newcastle University Students’ Union, February 14 2013

Funeral for a Friend are veterans on the scene now – they have been going for a decade but they still manage to provide the sort of youthful and energetic gig that their genre demands.

This might be the Conduit tour but it was clear that the majority of the fans wanted to hear FFAF’s older material. The different reaction between songs like as Red Is The New Black and Conduit told its own story – older songs brought about a mosh pit of frenzied activity, while songs from Conduit largely elicited a more pedestrian reaction. 

However, pedestrian is a noun that couldn’t be used to describe the efforts of lead singer Matthew Davies-Kreye. Pausing mid-set to throw up on stage, he picked up a towel and calmly said ‘Don’t worry guys, I’ll clean up my own mess’, before continuing in the same frenzied fashion.

At times the gig resembled more of a political rally than a concert: the politics of Davies-Kreye’s upbringing in the Welsh Valleys during Margaret Thatcher’s crackdown on the miners have clearly left a lasting impression on the singer. He launched into a monologue about his youth and upbringing before the band’s last song of the night, History, while the rest of the band stood back and let him vent.

Davies-Kreye may not have been on top form vocally – often his lyrics came out unclear and distorted – but that didn’t matter. During Juneau and History the band stopped playing altogether, letting the emotionally charged crowd vocals wash over them.

FFAF included a good smattering of their newer material for the fans that have just discovered the band – including Damned If You Do, Dead If You Don’t and Broken Foundation from Welcome Home Armageddon. However these fans were few and far between. And you could tell.

Lead singer Davies-Kreye cut a tortured figure at times, especially when introducing Grey, before which he said: “This is the most aggressive song we’ve ever written and it’s about a douchebag.” He launched himself into it aggressively – you could see it was a deeply personal song and his performance did its content justice.

For any other band, finishing on a slow one like History might have been considered to be an anti-climax but FFAF aren;t any other band. And to prove it they finished on an incredible high.

Russell Hughes