Future Of The Left – The Flapper, Birmingham, 26/11/2016
“This one’s about the little cunt Phil Spector…who ruined music“, says Steven Hodson, frontman for first support band USA Nails deadpan from stage front. It would turn out to be one of many “did he really just say that?” type moments tonight, courtesy of all three featured acts, and what’s more, kept me, and most of the audience, chuckling throughout.
Before today, incidentally, I used to have ears. I suspect that this evening’s entertainment, however, has robbed me of my hearing for the foreseeable future. Both USA Nails and Blacklisters performed utterly scintillating sets that saw them later quite rightly acknowledged by FOTL’s Andy Falkous as two of the finest live bands in the country right now. Hodson, in fact, deputises on bass tonight for Blacklisters and is promptly dubbed ‘Alan Band’ by the latter support act’s Billy Mason-Wood. Both bands drive their intense, adrenaline charged punky noise-rock so forcefully into your skull that it is impossible not to be swept along with them on a kind of sweat-drenched odyssey into the abyss.
This is ferocious stuff, yet entertainingly, the between song patter suggests that these seemingly fearsome, rampant compositions have meanings which range from the terminally mundane to the ridiculous (“this one’s about how Axl Rose turned into a massive dick after Use Your Illusion 2 and stayed that way ever since“). And quite frankly, it’s wonderful. I had a Eureka moment, if I’m totally honest, for Blacklisters had previously been lost on me, but seeing them in the flesh, it all makes perfect sense, so I’ve made the decision to go back and collect both support acts’ entire back catalogues. They honestly were that good!
Anyone who has seen Future Of The Left in a live capacity before will know just how opinionated ‘Falco’ can be. Tonight, his acid-tongued wrath is reserved for Phil Collins, Nigel Farage, anybody who voted for Brexit and, perhaps most amusingly, Metallica. “I bet THEY voted fucking Trump“, he says, during one of many hilarious rants, before later adding “If you’re offended and you DID vote Brexit, then I’m sorry…that you exist!”
The band themselves, of course, are an absolute riot, a blistering cacophony of vigorously savage rhythms and feral post hardcore. Interestingly, for a band who have released one of the finest albums of 2016, the lion’s share of their twenty strong set is made up from older releases yet suffers not one jot because of it. Who, after all, can resist the hysterically funny ‘Robocop 4 (Fuck Off Robocop‘, or begrudge the brutal ‘Arming Eritrea‘ its inclusion?
Pleasingly, the few songs they DID include from ‘The Peace And Truce Of…‘ were amongst the finest they have ever written (I think I’d have gone home in a sulk if they hadn’t played ‘If AT&T Drank Tea, What Would BP Do?‘, but thankfully they did and it fair brought the house down).
In terms of the entertainment factor, FOTL always set the bar massively high, and really they are a joy to watch, Andy’s savage vocals strangely hypnotic, while bass player Julia Ruzicka is a permanently rampant ball of energy who commanded at least as much of the crowd’s attention as the frontman himself.
The evening, of course, ends with the happy mayhem of Falkous dismantling drummer Jack Egglestone’s kit and leaves us with the discordant caterwauling to which we have become accustomed from Cardiff’s finest (“encores are for the weak!“) over the past few years. It never gets old, that, and elevates the already memorable night to near unforgettable. Simply superb.
God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.