Review of Future Of The Left live at The Faversham, Leeds 04/07/09
Future of The Left's lead singer Andy Falkous confessed recently to a fear of playing their new album Travels With Myself And Another to a bunch of empty rooms. This being 2009, with our pockets full of lint and credit cards upped to the max, such a concern might sound at least reasonable in a punter's eyes. But the truth is that when Falkous and cohorts Kelson Matthias (Bass) and Jack Egglestone (Drums) become victims of our apathy, it's a goddamn national shame. Earlier in the week on tv nearly thirteen million people watched a tennis match. And yet with an air of irony so thick you could smother a cabinet minister with it, despite FOTL releasing arguably the punk album of the year, in fact, THE album of the year so far, there are probably no more than a hundred people in the Fav tonight.
Not that this apparent snub inhibits the trio from delivering the kind of performance which renders the word intense into the most token of adjectives. Opening with Travel's.. eye-gouglingly epic Arming Eritrea, the next fifty minutes are much as life should be; angry, passionate and full of laughter. Eh? I hear you cry. Well, buried on their records but much in evidence live, Falkous and Matthias are laugh out loud funny, a function of their witty, evil between song banter. Tonight's victims somewhat inevitably are the Michael's - Jackson and Owen, both of whom you sense Falkous would prefer to see in the same physical condition. I could give you an example, but it's a family show.
Straddling the finer moments of Travels..with an equally earwax pummelling selection from their 2007 debut Curses, the small knot of moshers at the front - who prior to the band coming on stage could easily have been mistaken for a bunch of trainee accountants, except the tatoos - are kept pinballing into each other all night. The non-hits just keep coming - Manchasm, Wrigley Scott, Chin Music, Stand by Your Manatee - but pride of place goes to You Need Satan More Than He Needs You, the pitch-black set piece of their recent release, Falkous milking the subject matter's lyrical perversity for every last inch of Daily Express reader outrage.
I rationalise my anger at the general public's refusal to anoint Future of the Left as The BEST ROCK BAND IN BRITAIN on the bus home; if the mainstream was the alternative and vice versa, then Arcade Fire and Radiohead would be as over exposed as say Katie Perry or Lady GaGa. Populism isn't about taste, it's about commerce. And it's why millions of people buy Stereophonics albums. So I'll keep writing these reviews, and you'll keep ignoring them. At least we can agree on that.
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