Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Live Review: Future of the Left, The Cluny, Newcastle (11/3/2013)

The very first time I heard “Bread, Cheese, Bow and Arrow,” the curtain-raiser on new album How to Stop Your Brain in an Accident, my thoughts immediately shifted to how Future of the Left would replicate it during their live shows. Potent, snappy and assertive, its solitary bursts are so sharp and disparate they almost sound as though they’re being improvised on the spot; an onerous challenge for any band, never mind one performing with a stand-in drummer (regular sticksman, and new father, Jack Egglestone was absent). Even with inconveniences, however, this Cardiff-based quartet have always formed a mightily tight unit, so the fact they smashed it without so much as a minute flaw or mistiming was actually of little surprise. In fact, this stinging, note-perfect rendition did much to epitomise the entire gig, which right from the off was one of both bludgeoning volume and ruthless efficiency.

For anyone who’s seen Future of the Left before, the nature of this appearance will require little explanation. Led from the front by Andy Falkous (who, as a Geordie was enjoyed something of a homecoming), the group ripped through their catalogue with an energy and intensity which would almost seem automated were it not loaded with such vigour and ferocious wit. It’s difficult, for instance to recall a  more entertaining lyric in recent times than that of the Johnny Depp-Harry Potter-Billy Corgan referencing “Robocop 4 – Fuck Off Robocop,” while the vicious one-two punch of “Arming Eritria” and “Small Bones Small Bodies” was, even by their standards, a hugely forceful opening. 

New songs were, of course, treated with preference, but the balance struck between their four LPs – plus mclusky “cover” “To Hell with Good Intentions” was such that their setlist thrilled from every angle, regardless of whether punters were fresh, new album converts or veterans of Curses. Indeed, as part of the middle ground, this third-timer left with a quenched thirst for gut-churning riffs and razor sharp lyrics, an inevitable bout of hearing loss, and a sense that this is a group more comfortable, driven and vivacious in their work than ever.



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