Funeral For A Friend – Concert 2003

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Concert Review by Mark Bayross

The Astoria, London – 16 October 2003

It seems incredible, not least to the band themselves, that Funeral For A Friend are now headlining the legendary London Astoria. Still, their meteoric rise has been down to nothing but talent, although some journalistic hyperbole on the part of the UK music press may have sped up that ascent.

Tonight, the Astoria is packed, as has been every show on this UK tour, and even though the band have assembled an impressive support line up (Hondo MacLean, the fantastic Million Dead and Further Seems Forever), it’s pretty clear who the kids have come to see.

Emerging in a warm glow of spotlights, the band waste no time getting down to business, kicking into current single SHE DROVE ME TO DAYTIME TELEVISION like it’s already an unequivocal classic. Although the album has been out less than a week, much of it gets aired tonight, and powerful songs like STORYTELLING, ROOKIE OF THE YEAR and the superb BEND YOUR ARMS TO LOOK LIKE WINGS are surely destined to become regular features of their live set.

Interspersed with the shiny new songs are old favourites like the coruscating ART OF AMERICAN FOOTBALL, the singalong-inducing RED IS THE NEW BLACK and ESCAPE ARTISTS NEVER DIE, which Matt Davies neatly introduces with a topical diatribe about David Blaine. Infact, Davies is starting to develop the confidence of a real showman, throwing himself around the stage, windmilling his microphone and engaging in some pre-song banter.

The standout of the set has to be the awesome BULLET THEORY, a perfect collision of depth, melody and intensity that demonstrates just why FFAF are inviting comparisons to the mighty Deftones, and tantalisingly points towards the chart-conquering heights they may scale if this trajectory continues.

The band finish, inevitably, with JUNO/JUNEAU, Davies flinging himself into the crowd as the guitars stop and thousands sing “and I’m nothing more than a line in your book” in unison – an awe-inspiring moment, and one that raises goosebumps throughout the Astoria.

Forget the Next Big Thing hype – Funeral For A Friend are now a Big Thing. Catch them quickly because this is a band destined to fill arenas.