All the young things, All the futures

Live Review

Written By Ria Wilkinson Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

The Futureheads, The Daisy Riots and Uncle Monty at Northumbria University, Newcastle Upon Tyne

The Futureheads are currently in the middle of a student union venue sized tour where they are airing their new third long player offering “This Is Not The World” – due out this month on their own label.

Tonight they have been supported by The Daisy Riots (Southportian shoegaze haired young moppets thrashing out the treble loud and clear on their guitars) and Uncle Monty (local four-piece, a little older, a little more earnest with some good melodies weaved into their more structured guitar driven noise). Both acts successfully fulfilled the brief of the support band - be distracting, nay, entertaining but don’t risk over shadowing the main act.

After casually assembling at the stage side to watch Uncle Monty, The Futureheads disappeared backstage to regroup as their lone roadie prepped their instruments expertly, which was almost another support act in itself.

Emerging confidently through the darkness a few moments later, Barry, Dave, Ross and Jaff took to the stage, grabbed their delicately tuned guitars (Dave excepted) and immediately launched into a frenetic rendition of Decent Days and Nights.

This familiar crowd pleaser was a perfect choice to announce their arrival in the evening and was followed by a pair of tracks also from the back catalogue to really stimulate the crowd memory of The Futureheads. The track A to B, subject of which is laziness was played with such vigour, in particular by Ross, that it raised an ironic smile in this reviewer.

It was observed that The Futureheads stood in formation of decreasing order of frenzy in their playing styles -left to right: Ross (lead guitar), Barry (rhythm) and Jaff (bass) with Dave (drums) behind Barry. Ross leapt about in “air guitar” style operatics, Dave gave Meg White a run for her money in cool, almost dispassionate play whilst Barry and Jaff covered the middle ground in their own way. And this was pretty much maintained throughout the whole gig as they skilfully mixed their classics like Area with several morsels from the new album at breakneck pace.

The new material showcased, including title track This Is Not The World, the intriguingly concepted Girl With The Radio Heart, single Broke Up The Time and rousing current release The Beginning Of The Twist fitted seamlessly into the rest of set as the younger crowd at the front moshed along merrily.

The latter track was played with a touch more focus and diligence for it was being especially recorded (as is every night’s version on the tour) to be released.

The venue, as a student union, was mainly filled with usual clientele of young things that may be of less discernment or passion for The Futureheads than the band deserve, especially when rolling out new material. I do wonder if they had held this gig at, for example, The Cluny, whether the new material would have been greeted by a crowd with more enthusiasm and interest. I felt that The Futureheads deserved more response and verve from the crowd in both banter and also in praise for their spirited performance.

However, that is not to say the crowd were not engaged as audience participation was corralled by Ross (of course) who directed appropriate hand clapping and vocal work from us – at one stage mimicking crows with an “Ah! Ah!” along to a chorus of a new track. As rewards, we were gifted Skip To The End and the near legendary Hounds Of Love to play with.

After a consistent and sometimes relentless set with a brief encore (where they go to hug and praise each other – according to the The Young Knives last week, who let us in on an industry secret (wink, wink) of what groups do between encores) and finale of a short, intense track, they bounded off stage and so never outstayed their welcome.

Written By Ria Wilkinson Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

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