Funeral for a Friend: The Duchess, 11/2/13

*** Disclaimer: I personally think ‘Hours’ by Funeral For A Friend is a good album that perfectly places itself between mainstream rock music and more hardcore genres.***

Tonight, The Duchess was packed to the rafters as Funeral For A Friend trundled into town on their nationwide tour promoting new album ‘Conduit’. A surprisingly sell-out crowd had turned up for a band whose glory days were firmly in the past with ‘Casually Dressed and Deep In Conversation’ and ‘Hours’ released ten and eight years ago respectively. I would have expected many of their fans to have grown up, cut the floppy fringe, ditched the black clothing and formed a relationship with their parents. But nay, it was emo as far as the eye could see.

The reaction to the support bands was among the best I’ve ever seen at any gig. Ever. This may be down to the fact that all three support bands (I Divide, Major League and Such Gold) played what sounded like essentially the same song with the same group of people rotating instruments each time the band (apparently) changed. Like the One Direction’s of today, post-harcore bands seem to have stock band member personas. Each band had ‘the big guy with a beard’ on bass, ‘the sexy one’ on lead guitar, ‘sweaty man’ on drums and surprisingly ‘Manchester United Striker Javier Hernandez’ on lead vocals. I feel I identify most with ‘sweaty man’.

Now, I don’t proclaim to be a massive fan of emo/screamo/post-hardcore music but I feel I can appreciate a good gig regardless of genre. What I cannot appreciate is a thirty-three year old man ranting down a microphone on stage, stomping his feet and whinging about almost every topic in the world. Subjects covered in Matthew Davies-Kreye’s rants include: the music industry, the ‘South Wales Hardcore Scene’, touring, fans, record labels, the act of screaming, Wales, Margaret Thatcher, the miners strike, alcoholism, drug addiction, death, songs written over a decade ago and probably Harlem Shake, the Pope and Vietnam (‘you weren’t there man’). To be perfectly honest, when the trend of song-rant-song-rant became apparent I made it my mission during the rants to get to the bar or distract myself by staring at the paint on the walls. Even the hardcore fans, the ultra FFAFers seemed perplexed by this man’s breakdown. I have it on good authority that one person sent for a St. John’s Ambulance volunteer; a very thoughtful fan.

They played a lot from ‘Hours’ and “Juneau” from ‘CD&DIC’ yet lead singer Matthew made a point to the crowd that he would not be playing “Streetcar” – a song close to the hearts of many fans. Instead we got “Roses For The Dead”, “Recovery” and “History” from the same album. Quite what point he was trying to make was lost on myself and the rest of the crowd. The number of songs played for a band in their eleventh year and on their sixth album was staggeringly low because of the amount of on-stage cry baby antics.

A massively disappointing gig from a band who should have been infinitely more professional, the crowd seemed to lap it up when the music was playing but were visually uneasy when the ranting started. The night was summed up best with the look one of the support band’s guitarist gave me as he walked past, eagerly nodding his head to the bands music. He caught my eye and immediately looked ashamed at enjoying the antics of the man on stage – like a naughty puppy who has soiled a new carpet, proud of his actions but ashamed under the gaze of his owners. I do not blame that guitarist, or the puppy, he did not know better and his role models should have been more mature. Funeral For A Friend’s lead singer is a bad role model for all humans and puppies.

Joni Roome