REVIEW gig Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha

Future Of The Left Bring Out The Big Guns In Norwich

Future of the Left return to Norwich with a triumphant bang on their latest tour with Blacklisters and Khan in tow...
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Future of the Left at Norwich Waterfront, (C)Sara Davey Photography Future of the Left at Norwich Waterfront, (C)Sara Davey Photography[/caption]

Future of the Left are a band that have been fully credited with cult status. Formed of two thirds of the incredible alt-punk trio Mclusky (if you do not love them, go find them, listen and learn to adore), one part of post-hardcore icons Million Dead (not the ultra-famous part known as Frank Turner, but the ultra-cool part that is Julia Ruzicka) and currently touring with Ian Catskilkin who is mostly known for his presence in Berlin based cool cats Art Brut.

So basically their current line-up sees an alt-rock dream-team (of sorts) take to the stage and thoroughly f*ck your sh*t up on the nightly.

On other nights of the tour, the formidable and fabulous Dingus Khan have been opening up for Future of the Left. I recently saw them support DZ Deathrays and they were one of the best support acts I’ve seen for a long time – even when the singer fisted his own throat and vomited (quite graphically) on stage. Unfortunately, Dingus Khan weren’t able to open up in Norwich so we left out the Dingus and stuck with the Khan (not too confusing). Similar in name but a very different band on stage; Dingus Khan bring an alt-rock party to the table, Khan bring a riff-a-thon and don’t so much as smirk – they mean business.

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Khan at Norwich Waterfront (c) Sara Davey Photography Khan at Norwich Waterfront (c) Sara Davey Photography[/caption]

Khan literally layed the smack down, slapped us around the face and made sure we were awake. They are a tour de force that sounds like Mclusky wrestling with Jesus Lizard, throwing a few sneaky slaps at Shellac and then the Melvins come along and hand everyone their arses (the Melvins would obviously win in this rock King of the Ring wrestling match I’ve oddly imagined). It was great to see such an excellent and fitting choice of support act and if you’re a fan of any band I’ve chucked in as a comparison here, listen to them now. Their performance was lively, loud and punctual.

Second on stage were Blacklisters, who sadly weren’t for me. They gave an energetic performance and had great presence but their type of music is simply not my cuppa.  Their bio suggests they’d be a band I’d love  - “Their music has drawn comparisons to the Jesus Lizard, Shellac, Pissed Jeans and Kong” – but they seem to have taken the heaviest aspects from those bands, amplified it by 100x and then just…. screamed a bit and had a tantrum over the top.

I suppose you can’t have three very similar bands on the bill, so they at least diversified the evening (Khan and Future of the Left being quite similar) but I don’t feel I should comment further as I’m clearly not a fair judge of whether they did what they do well. The crowd seemed to enjoy the show though, and the band were pretty tight.

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Blacklisters at Norwich Waterfront. (C) Sara Davey Photography Blacklisters at Norwich Waterfront. (C) Sara Davey Photography[/caption]

I had mixed feelings when waiting for Future of the Left to grace the stage. I love everything Mclusky did pretty much, when the first two Future of the Left records came out I boldly declared “I PREFER THEM TO MCLUSKY” (because, y’know, it’s totally fair when you constantly compare bands to their old, no-longer-functioning bands…).

Their first two albums will forever be cherished in my collection, but then they released stuff I didn’t manically love – my affection was turned down from “OMG YES FOREVER” to “okay if you must, I don’t mind”. I’ve seen the band live a few  times – each time was before I’d left the honeymoon phase of adoration  - and loved each show (especially in the Kelson days. His bass-playing – oh my.)

I am delighted to announce, dear reader, that Future of the Left brought it. They did not leave it at home, or on the train, they brought it. Straight to the audience. The set-list wasn’t disappointing for a second – opening with the chant-along ‘Kept By Bees’ via ‘Manchasm’, my personal favourite ‘Small Bones Small Bodies’ and ‘Stand By Your Manatee’, the band were a united, riff-giving front that was a force to be reckoned with. We even got treated to Mclusky song ‘Gareth Brown Says’ causing the audience to go as nuts as a Norwich crowd goes before 10pm.

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FOTL (20) Future of the Left at Norwich Waterfront, (C)Sara Davey Photography[/caption]

The current line-up seems to be working, even if Ian from Art Brut is a temporary measure (one that I actually preferred) whilst band regular Jimmy Watkins is unavailable. The chemistry was undeniable and contagious, and Falco delivered his customary - and delicious - rapier wit to the crowd with his usual finesse, although his edges do seem to be a little less pointy and dangerous these days.

Despite what must have been a trying day (props to Norwich Waterfront for not being there when the band arrived, not having a rider ready, not having a guest-list sorted at front of house and having a massively rude woman dealing with it all), Future of the Left put on one of the best shows I’ve seen in Norwich for a while. The evening ended perfectly – me and my friends losing our sh*t to a medley of ‘French Lessons,  ‘Singing of the Bonesaws’, ‘Lapsed Catholics’ and eventually  Mclusky classic ‘Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues’.

Wowzer, what a night. Sometimes you go to gigs, enjoy them enough but are happy enough to call it a day. Other times, you go to a gig, enjoy them, never want to leave and come out on a massive high. This was the latter.

Thanks to Joe at Division PR.

Words and pictures by Sara Davey.


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