Funeral for a Friend’s return to the tour circuit saw a genre defying line-up, but they kept their Welsh roots to the fore in the line-up with fellow countrymen Attack Attack opening to a sold-out Spring and Airbrake.
Their Jimmy-Eat-World tinged emo brought a few cheers although the crackly guitars and singalong choruses ultimately were too samey, both on the night and in terms of too many bands that sound the same.
Portadown’s In Case Of Fire were always guaranteed rousing local support, but the band’s sub-Muse panderings took too long to get going, and it was crowd favourite Parallels that finally saw them warm up and begin to really engage with the packed front rows.
Their experience of touring with the likes of Biffy Clyro and Ash is beginning to pay off for the trio, but the use of samples between songs only breaks the flow of the set.
Toronto’s Cancer Bats have no problem with engaging the crowd – from the unpretentious tuning of their own gear on stage through to the manic arrival of singer Liam Cormier they knew which part of the crowd they were playing. And that was the part swirling in the mosh pit as they kicked off with Let It Pour.
Cormier’s commitment to the cause ran to literally joining the crowd, held aloft crowd surfing, and from the middle of the crush at the front. Highlights were mainly from their most recent new album, with Lucifer’s Rocking Chair prompting old style headbanging. Set closer and album title track Hail Destroyer kicked off a manic pit and mass chanting. What the younger fans made off it was beyond saying as they tried to make it to the front amid flailing bodies.
Funeral for a Friend are accomplished performers; and they have been open about the sometimes dark journey that dogged periods of their career
Tonight the darkness was dispelled in what was a performance that owed as much to re-connecting with fans as to airing tracks off new album, Memory and Humanity.
From which there were a precious few – highlight being Maybe I Am.
This though, was as much about giving fans a tour through the back catalogue – reminding them why they became fans and why the band enjoy hitting the stage even in the darkest of times.
Matt Davies clearly was enjoying himself on stage in a well paced that ranged from the impassioned Juneau through the plaintive Your Revolution Is A Joke to hitting the audience with full-on version’s of She Drove Me To Daytime Television, and Novella.
They have shrugged off the emo/scremo tag, shrugged off the lighter moments off their last album to morph into a simply damn fine hard rock band; and a band that may be able to retain its fanbase when many contemporaries have fallen by the wayside.
As they left the stage with a powerful version of Escape Artists Never Die, Funeral for A Friend left contented and left the Belfast crowd eager for the Welsh band’s return.