As FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND (FFAF in the following) is one of my very very very… very very favorite bands, this actually was the fourth time that I’ve seen them live. First time was when they supported Linkin Park in Stuttgart 2009, second time was in Cologne 2011 and third time was in Aachen just this summer.
Each concert was a very good one, always at very small venues (not 2009 in Stuttgart, of course), 500 people audiences maximally.
You are always very close to the band. If you want, you can talk and drink a beer with them before and after the show.
So, I kinda (thought I) „knew“ what I was about to see this time, on October 23 2013 at Underground (also a very small venue) in Cologne. Afterwards I have to admit, that I totally failed with this expactation.
THIS CONCERT WAS ONE OF THE GREATEST EXPERIENCES I EVER MADE!!!
But let’s start from the beginning…
I went to Cologne with three of my band mates: David, Ronnie and Tobi. By the way, if you still don’t know my band, check us out on facebook: www.facebook.com/randomcubes
We arrived pretty early. It was really empty at the Underground, so we took the time to drink a beer and talk. While time passed, more and more people came in. The live music started at 08:00pm.
FFAF was supported by two bands. And to be honest, I don’t even remember those bands’ names, as they were really boring and unspectacular. The first band was a hardcore punkrock band from England. The music was ok, but the singing…. Guitarist and bassist „tried“ to sing, but there was no talent, sorry. The second band was a German Screamo band (English lyrics, though). They were a little better, but not very flexible. Each song sounded the same as the song they just played before. And even if my English is pretty good, I didn’t really understand a lot. Only cool thing was, that FFAFs vocalist Matt Davies came on stage for one song and sang with them. But that’s it. We were kinda happy when the support bands were finished and finally the main act was about to start.
Now the venue was „full“, which means there were like 200 people, maybe. Not more. I positioned myself in the middle of the „crowd“, because I knew, when FFAF starts to play, I wanna mosh in the pit and just rock the shit out! And so it all happenend, one of the most amazing shows I have ever seen…
FFAF came on stage. Before the first riff was played, Matt Davies said a few words to say „Hi“ and welcome everybody. This was new for me, because on past show I’ve been to, they just started to play right away.
The first song was „10:45 Amsterdam Conversations“, a very old, fast and heavy song! Lots of screams, but also melodic vocals. A typical old-school FFAF song! The crowd (including me) started to jump and sang (or screamed, whatever) the whole song together with the band on stage. Very nice start!!! By the way: Yes, FFAF has a few songs with very funny titles. They have nothing to do with lyrical content, though. 😉
The setlist kept being amazing! I don’t remember the whole one, but I know that this time they played all of my personal favorite songs! There were „Juneau“, „This Years Most Open Heart Break“, „Best Friends and Hospital Beds“, „All the Rage“, „Sixteen“, „Kiss and Make Up“, „The Art of American Football“, „High Castles“ and many many more. It was a mix of their new and their classic ones! As I said before, just amazing!
Especially when guitarist Kris Coombs-Roberts started to play that sick riff of „Roses for the Dead“, the crowd was totally goin‘ nuts! This song is like THE hit of FFAF. Everybody was sweating like hell, but just rocking together, it was an incredible feeling!
An even bigger surpirse for me personally was that they played „Red is the new Black“, which is my very favorite song! I didn’t expect them to play it because the former drummer Ryan Richards, who also did the great scream vocals on old songs, left the band in 2012 and was replaced by Pat Lundy, who is an awesome drummer, too, of course, but he doesn’t scream or even sing. This song has a lot of screaming vocals, so I thought it would be hard for the band to play it. Of course, the other songs have screamings too, but they’re mostly short and now made by singer Matt Davied and guitarist Kris Coombs-Roberts (very good, btw!). So, this one was my personal highlight! Kris did all the scream parts and… the hell, he screams awesome!!! I love this song, I love this band!
During the concert I came closer and closer to the stage (which wasn‘t very hard, as it’s still a small venue) and the second half I was just standing, jumping, rocking, singing and screaming right in front of FFAF. Matt even saw that I was singing along to all their songs and held his microphone right into my face for a few times! 😀 Very funny and cool!
Another cool thing was that Matt was much more connected to the audience than ever before! On past shows he was just looking to the ground and swaying between the songs, like he was very shy when he was not singing. When he was introducing the upcoming songs, he didn’t even look into people’s eyes. This time was completely different! Sometimes there were like five minutes between two songs, because he was talking so much TO US, making jokes and firing us up… I thought they changed their frontman! Matt was just the best, this evening! Great character and just so pleasant! Also, he just jumped into the crowd twice with his cabled microphone… just saying. xD
All in all, the atmosphere at this concert was a blast! I cannot even describe my feelings in words, that I felt within this hour. Great songs, great sound, great crowd, great band!
FFAF’s last song was „Escape Artists Never Die“, as always. The last minutes everybody could use their very last energy for singing and jumping. Great outro, just as I expected!
When they were finished, Kris Coombs-Roberts looked into my eyes and GAVE ME ONE OF HIS GUITAR PICKS!!! Aoöseifjpofihsdpofhsduhfio!!!!!!!! You know, for me as a guitarist myself it’s not just a good souvenir, it’s even more an honor to get a used pick by one of my idols! Now the evening was seriously perfect!
But wait… When the band left the stage, the crowd started to shout „Zugabe! Zugabe!“ (which means „We want more“ in English“). As I was right at the stage I could even read the setlist. And I saw that there was NO ENCORE PLANNED. But, as FFAF themselves must’ve had so much at this show, they came out again and played one more song. In my eyes, not a typical song for a last one, but at this evening it was the perfect choice: „History“! For those of you who don’t know this song, check it out! It’s a quiet but very melodic and emotinal song. In my opinion the best song of FFAF to sing along with. I almost started to cry this time… What can I say? I know I am using this word really often, but it was just AMAZING! Even when the band was finished, the crowd kept singing the chorus, while Matt was in the middle of them again. After WE were done, you just heard a loud „THANK YOU!!!!!!!!“
So, I think that’s all I have to say about that show. I can only recommend to listen to FFAF and go to their shows! You’re gonna love it!!!