A Streetcar Named Desire
For a moment the slow turn around after The Used's set threatens to cut into FFAF's stage time, however as the swirling intro music begins it's forgotten about as a massive roar goes up from the expectant crowd. It's been a long day for most of the crowd and they're more than ready to end it with a flourish.
FFAF are a lot more than the emo tag they have so often been labelled with. Live they are a lot harder than many would give them credit for and as if to emphasise this the band indulge in some rock posturing! In front of a sold out partisan crowd though they can get away with it.
Most of the crowd are singing along from the start, the front few rows are in fine form as they launch a succession of crowd surfers over the security barrier. Vocalist Matt doesn't really have the stage presence of some of the other front men on display today but his vocal performance makes up for it, being both strong and clear. The songs blend metal riffs with melody and there's some impressive fretwork going on up on stage. As they work their way through 'She Drove Me To Daytime Television' they effortlessly take the crowd with them. The band are clearly glad to be back in the UK and visibly enjoy every second (bass player Gareth Davis in particular!).
The highlight of the set comes with 'Streetcar', which sees Davis get everyone to hold their mobile phones aloft and it's quite a sight as hundreds go up. 'Streetcar' really shows what FFAF can do and features some excellent guitar work. It's a fairly short set (45 minutes) but it's long enough to get all the crowd pleasers in, not least with the finale of 'Escape Artists Never Die'. The band really go for it and are once again joined by the crowd and FFAF easily win the prize for most crowd surfers!
Good performers that they are, the real test is the material and to be fair if you'd never heard them before there are moments where they are unconvincing. That said however the stronger songs really shine through and none of the capacity crowd are complaining as they lap up every second. A triumphant homecoming indeed.