By Adam Smith
Nostalgia sells tickets. It’s a fact that many bands have capitalised on in recent years and there’s no escape from bands rolling back the clock by playing album anniversary shows. Whether you believe the trend is a welcome celebration of the past, or see it as a shameless cash cow, there are no signs of the shows going away.
Tonight sees Funeral For A Friend dig their sophomore 2005 album, Hours out of the vault in its entirety. Although it didn’t propel them into the spotlight like its predecessor, Casually Dressed and Deep in Conversation, the Welshmen put together 11 tracks that have stood the test of time wonderfully.
Kick-starting the set with an explosive performance of All The Rage, it’s immediately apparent that the band are hungry and motivated. Even though only two members played tonight contributed to the album, it’s evident that the band have a strong affinity with the album. In a day and age where bands tolerate dysfunctional relationships to make some money from past glories, it’s refreshing to see band simply having fun and celebrating their past work.
What makes tonight more special is the ovation each track receives from the sold-out crowd. For many people in Leeds Met tonight, the album was the soundtrack to their youth and such sentimental value never seems to depreciate. Clearly aware that portions of the crowd have come out for their first show in years, front-man Matthew Davies-Kreye thanks members of the audience for reconnecting with the scene and celebrating a landmark record.
The nostalgia surrounding tracks like Drive, Roses for the Dead and History evoke unadulterated passion that is often lost in the alternative scene. There are no arguments over what’s punk and what isn’t tonight. In fact, some members of the crowd are still in their work clothes and others maybe haven’t heard an alternative album since 2005. Everyone is here for the music and it makes for a sensational atmosphere.
Of course, there are some flaws. Recovery and End of Nothing sound muffled in places, while the ethereal melodies of Alvarez are lost in the sound mix. It’s unclear whether this is due to rust on the band’s part or questionable sound, but it makes little difference to tonight’s crowd, whose spirited singing has not faltered all night. The atmosphere more than makes up for the minor sound problems.
As the night ends with Davies-Kreye flying into the crowd during the final notes of Escape Artists Never Die, it’s easy to forget we’re in 2014 tonight. Nostalgia may be a cash cow for some, but not for Funeral For A Friend.