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Live Review: Funeral For A Friend, The Automatic, Young Guns - Cardiff University Solus - 22.7.2010

The general feeling about tonight’s gig is that it will be something special, each and every person packed into the Solus, a relatively intimate setting for tonight’s show knows this and to say that they really weren’t let down is an understatement.

I arrived just as Young Guns were finishing up their set; it came as a fairly big surprise to me that they were tonight’s openers, never-the-less from what I did hear, they sound like a band that is on the up, as if saying that comes as a big surprise anyway, this band are clearly destined for big things.

Next up were The Automatic, once bothering the charts with novelty hits such as ‘Monster’ and ‘Raoul’ it’s clear that after seeing them tonight they have matured beyond those songs, showing no need to play them in their live show anymore, they storm through a set that provides a decent mix of their last three albums and they leave the crowd feeling oddly satisfied with this slightly surprising choice of main support.

It’s worth pointing out for anybody that didn’t know, tonight’s show belongs to one band and in particular one person only, Funeral For A Friend guitarist Darran Smith is leaving the band after eight and a half years, and this show is one of two put together to say goodbye, as he embarks onto pastures new.

The first half of the show was a run through of debut full length, ‘Casually Dressed and Deep In Conversation’ an album that is still rather impressive and contains songs that sound relevant today. Each song is played with vigour, ‘Juneau’ and ‘Escape Artists Never Die’ sound as fresh as ever and songs that haven’t been played in years, sound honed to perfection despite a few teething problems with ‘Novella’, the instrumental outro provides a climactic and fitting ending to the initial set.

The second half of the show is an eight song run through of their career so far, returning to the stage with ‘Into Oblivion’ the band show no signs of letting up, even giving the crowd an extremely rare performance of ‘You Want Romance?’.

One thing that is clear to see and has been over the past couple of years is that, this band is purely in it for the love of what they do, and as Matt delivers a heartfelt message of thanks to Darran before the band finish the set with ‘History’, there really is a sense of sadness that one of their best friends is leaving the band.

All in all, this is one of the best shows I’ve been too in a long time, and I defy anyone that was in attendance to not say the same thing. Funeral For A Friend are honestly still one of the most relevant, and best bands in the UK at the moment. Each live show is a great experience and as they show no signs of giving up any time soon, all I can say is long may it continue.


Chris Marshman

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