When a band plateaus in regards to the size of their audience, there are always questions to be asked. When this plateau lasts for over a decade, this is even truer. Is it due to a change in tastes and the band's reaction to these changes, or merely a complacency or happiness to stick with what they have, refusing to challenge themselves and break their mould? Future Of The Left, containing the heart and warped brains of Mclusky, have clocked up over 15 years on the road in both their past and present form and yet find themselves in the same 150-200 capacity venues they have inhabited for nearly a score of groundhog day years. Why? Well it's hard to say.
For whilst the duo of Falco and Jack Egglestone have not made any great leaps forwards nor sidesteps sonically since Mclusky's début full-length, 'My Pain And Sadness Is More Sad And Painful Than Yours', there can certainly be no accusations of complacency. Joined by Jimmy Watkins on guitar & vocals and ex-Million Dead bassist Julia Ruzicka, they attack the stage with as much visceral menace and societal disgust as ever before. If anything, they have honed their onslaught further, giving more exposure to the entirety of their back-catalogue as well as lifting choice cuts from that of Mclusky. 'Robocop 4: F**k Off Cop' from 2012's 'The Plot Against Common Sense' and 'Arming Eritrea' are delivered with more venom than on record, and looser without completely losing cohesion. They are particularly strong in the opening four tracks where there is less time between songs and fewer opportunities for the audience to coerce Falco into 'banter'. Andy Falkous' dead-pan interaction with crowds has long been a staple of Future Of The Left's performances, but it is something that is increasingly predictable and increasingly unnecessary. In the time it takes to chastise a couple people and regurgitate a 'right on' complaint about the Olympics, there is sufficient space for another 'Manchasm' or 'You Need Satan More Than He Needs You'.
The latter two show a different side to the band, with the introduction of a Korg synthesiser and inter-band instrument changing but these are no ballads or moments of introspection; they are still propelled with the same intensity, still commandeered by vocal-chord rupturing screams and bursts of sheer white noise.
Yet perhaps, unsurprisingly, the two tracks that stir the crowd the most are the two Mclusky staples: 'To Hell With Good Intentions' and 'Lightsaber Cocksucking Blues'; the former with its mock sing-a-long chants set above razor-sharp Albini-punk and the latter with its juttering guitar lines and outrageous humour. As they close with a cover of the Andy Kaufman track, 'I Trusted You', they hand a microphone and guitar into the crowd and slowly dismantle their equipment; it is this type of audience interaction that seems more fitting for a band that, whilst seemingly always on the cusp of disintegration, never fail to impress.
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