Though its painfully obvious that every band has a finite life time, even if a lot of them aren’t willing to accept that, it hadn’t ever really occurred to me that I’d be at the final Funeral for a Friend shows. They were technically the first “big” band I ever saw live (when they opened for Iron Maiden back in the day to the typical open minded response associated with metal fans: i.e. not open minded) and I’m genuinely sad to see them go.
I don’t have anything as trite or cliche to offer as “this band changed my life” or “this band saved me” or “I got their logo tattooed on my left ass check cause they really speak to me bro” but…I listened to this band, and particularly the two albums they chose to showcase at these farewell shows, a whole lot. Presumably hours logged counts for something. (See what I did there?)
A love of those two albums was one of the bonding points with the first person I fell in love with, and they also helped soundtrack the resulting heart ache as well. And gym sessions. And walks. And car drives. And train journeys. And parties. Well not parties…who’d invite me to a party? But other stuff in life.
Basically, both “Hours” and “Casually Dressed & Deep In Conversation” are two great albums that mean a whole lot to me and as such the band mean a whole lot to me so to see them go, especially when there are so many truly terrible bands making it big now, is sad. It’s ok to be sad about music because you should care about art that really speaks to you.
If you don’t, you’re a much sadder person than I am even when I’m feeling bummed about never seeing this band again. Well I say that…I wouldn’t be surprised to see them hit the festival circuit in a few years from some well earned cash and a re-visiting of the love that’s paid out to them tonight.
Not hearing these songs again is sad enough, but the perceived fall from grace that followed this band also upsets me. I’ll not pretend for a second that I think any of their other material holds a candle to these two albums, but the rest of their career was hardly a creative flop.
“Conduit” was a raging and concise slice of melodic hardcore that almost stands toe to toe with those first two records, “Welcome Home Armageddon” saw the band injected with a sense of soaring melody and energy that they’d sorely missed and even “ Tales Don’t Themselves” had a fascinating lyrical concept and a few stellar singles.
Though I admire the band for returning to the smaller venues and embracing those who stayed with them so warmly without getting bitter over their reduced size and that perceived creative failing, it’s a real shame that a band this talented and passionate only filled a venue the size of ABC with the promise they’d never be back.
The best of tracks from both “Casually Dressed…” and “Hours” were played in all those small venues as well. They still deserved the support then. It’s just another example that you should support the artists you love through thick and thin, because one day they won’t be there. Especially given the state of “the industry” these days.
The wider perception that were some sort of scene emo band who got big off of hair cuts also boggles me. Those first albums were a melting point of early 00’s post-hardcore & emo, metal and a taste for great song-writing. I’ve known plenty of folk of the more traditional metal or rock persuasion who wrote them off and yet “Bullet theory” is legitimately heavier than anything Slayer have ever done. Both sonically and emotionally.
I’d argue with you on it if you wanted, but even writing this much about Slayer has forced me to spend more time thinking about their total banality than I’d have cared to.
“History” is a bigger anthem than most of the power ballads that never leave your radio, again both sonically and emotionally, and the likes of “Roses for the Dead” have them outplaying most of their peers without sacrificing any of the pace or energy of their punk rock roots in favour of bland po-faced muso posturing.
Kerrang! may well have loved a photograph of them, but there’s nothing about the band’s sound that has anything to do with stylish haircuts.
I’m so glad I got to see these songs one more time, I’m so glad I got to hear everyone sing along in celebration to them and I’m so glad this band get to go out on the high of knowing how much their music meant to a whole lot of people.
That I was privileged enough to get to photograph both of the final Glasgow shows still blows my mind a little. And I hope it always does. I don’t ever want to get to the stage where I take getting to photograph my favourite bands in the world for granted.
Because that kind of mindset is exactly why bands as banal and beige as State Champs are getting big now and bands as creative and passionate as Funeral for a Friend are running off nostalgia and calling it quits.
In summation, go support the bands you love. Even if the last couple of records didn’t do it for you like that one you love did. And especially if they’re a good band.
See you after Funeral for a Friend. You’ll be missed. You were pretty special.