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5 out of 10
Firstly - apologies to In Case of Fire, due to stupid work I didn't manage to catch their set, so I have no idea whether they're any good. Now, on with the review!
I'm not really used to going to big gigs. I like little sweaty gigs in pub backrooms, proper DIY stuff and it's rarely that I venture to anything bigger than that. When I saw this line up was on about fifteen minutes from my front door though I thought I'd give it a bash - I liked the Cancer Bats record, and although I'm not a huge Funeral for a Friend fan I did once see them about six or seven years ago supporting Boy Sets Fire, so what the hell.
The audience was no surprise, with an average age probably half that of mine and some lovely hair on display, and I have to admit to feeling a little out of place with my hobo beard and Off With Their Heads shirt. The attendance level was a bit of a surprise however - I was expecting a sellout, and whilst it was busy it wasn't as packed, and quieter than other recent gigs, I'm reliably informed. This diminished audience showed little enthusiasm for Cancer Bats, which was a shame as they played a blistering set. It was possibly a little short, but with minimal banter the band ripped through songs mostly off the new album setting a standard that was to be difficult for Funeral for a Friend to follow.
Sadly the Welsh superstars failed to meet the challenge. The sound was, as is often the case, much better for the headline band, and they played what should have been a crowd pleasing epic set, but in the end it came across as bloated and overlong. There were moments where the spark of excitement almost ignited the audience, but the lethargy prevalent through the lesser known new songs spread to the older songs, leading to an almost subdued atmosphere. It wasn't all bad - when the band found their groove, there was a power to their performance not always evident in their recorded sound, but the longer set made a lot of the songs feel a bit like filler and the band feel rather like they were pacing themselves to be able to last the distance. Far from the stuff that classic gigs are made of.
Listen: www.myspace.com/funeralforafriend, www.myspace.com/cancerbats