Funeral For A Friend are one of the bands we have to thank for carving out the genre of emo rock back in the 00s. Yet they’re still around and going strong, with a loyal fanbase that turn up to every live show. What’s kept these guys going when so many other bands in the genre seem to have faded out, becoming irrelevant?
I think - and this becomes evident upon watching one of their live shows - it’s due to their unique ethos as a band. For these guys, it’s all about the music. It’s nothing to do with the pressure of what to sound like, the fame, the amount of record sales. It’s about using Funeral For A Friend as an outlet, a coping mechanism, a way to express their emotions. The fact that so many fans listen and identify with this is just a bonus.
As a result, emotions were high during their gig at the Cavern on Saturday 14th. When a band isn’t just there to perform, but is there to convey a message, the entire atmosphere of a gig changes and becomes even more intimate. The loyalty that these guys seem to summon from their fans is insane. I have been to the Cavern many times, but never have I seen it this full - it was practically fit to burst. If you’ve been to the venue before, you’ll be familiar with its layout that’s split down the middle, with a dancefloor to the left and a bar to the right. The left-hand side of the Cavern was bursting at the seams, with people spilling out into the bar area, desperately trying to poke their heads round the corner so they could get a glimpse of the stage. It was, without a doubt, a sell-out show.
I was lucky enough to get a spot in the crowd at the back of the venue on top of the sound stage, so I could see everything, including the audience. I’d say it was about 90% skinny white boy, who would go absolutely nuts every time a new song kicked in, seizing the opportunity to mosh, jumping as high as they could. And like any Funeral For A Friend gig, there was crowd surfing aplenty, including an incident where Matt Davies-Kreye, the lead singer, lost his infamous hat that he’d been wearing for about fifteen years (rumour has it that they were reunited after the show).
The setlist was for fans old and new. I particularly enjoyed the very end of the set, where we were treated to classics such as Juneau, History, and Roses For The Dead. Matt claims that Roses For The Dead is his favourite song to perform live, and this definitely came across as the energy in the Cavern was absolutely electric. I was pretty much a die-hard fan of Funeral For A Friend in my teens, and upon hearing this track I wanted to rush home, throw on my skinny jeans, and listen to the entirety of Hours on repeat.
Regardless of whether you’re a fan of the genre, I think that Funeral For A Friend are deserving of your respect. They’re fantastic at what they do, and they’re incredibly humble when it comes to their fans; this was made clear when Matt stood by the bar after the show, encouraging everyone to come over and say hi. There’s also something about their shows that’s unlike any other. As someone who has been to a lot of gigs, spanning a variety of genres, there’s something about these rock shows that’s so much more fun, and so much more intimate than your average concert. I’d highly recommend watching these guys at some point in the future if you get the chance.