Funeral for a Friend - The Sugarmill, Stoke-on-Trent
Having recently made a comeback with a new line-up and outstanding album that saw them return to their heavier roots, Funeral for a Friend have gone from strength to strength in the last few months. Naturally, fans have been eager to hear the band’s latest material live and it was clear to see that expectations were very high for the Welsh rockers sold-out show in Stoke. With the venue crammed to capacity, the quintet were greeted to an incredibly impressive applause as they strutted onto the stage to play their first gig in the Potteries in over five years.
Marking the eleventh date of the tour, in support of their current release Welcome Home Armageddon, the boisterous bunch blitzed through their 75-minute set with ample amounts of power and passion. Kicking the evening off with 'Roses for the Dead' and 'Rookie of the Year', the band’s classic songs went down, to put it bluntly, like a bloody carcass with a pack of wolves. Shoes and bodies fiercely flailed around the room, whilst sing-a-longs, fist-pumping, crowd surfing and clambering over the safety barrier also proved to be popular choices. They continued to cause absolute chaos amongst the 400-strong crowd with their long-awaited new tunes – 'Spinning Over The Island' and 'Damned If You Do, Dead If You Don’t' being two of the set’s highlights. Whilst the five-piece have never been a timid live act, the group did appear much more confident and comfortable on stage. With their brand of post-hardcore and interplay between heavy and soft sounding bigger, better and stronger than ever before. Subsequently it was this tremendous showmanship that saw the fans beg for an encore, whilst enabling frontman Matt Davies-Kreye to convince the audience to construct a conga line – which was amusing to watch to say the least.
As the band eventually exited the room, sweat streamed down the Sugarmill’s walls, as numerous punters left the venue shoeless. If there were any doubts that these Welshmen were not well and truly back, this show definitely blew them away.