The Futureheads

Few prizes for lack of originality at The Futureheads More

Live Review

Written By Michael Wood Thursday, April 29th, 2010

The Postelles, Dutch Uncles and The Futureheads at The Cockpit, Leeds

As Sunderland pop-punk foursome The Futureheads finish a sterling and energetic set with a double of the (in)famous cover of Hounds Of Love and a song called Jupiter which they call their Bohemian Rhapsody one is left with the feeling that music seldom rewards the unoriginal.

Two hours previously New Yorkers The Postelles had entertained The Cockpit with a fairly faithful rendition of The Ramones's Beat On The Brat and while it was - as was the rest of the set - entertaining it was hardly innovative.

Indeed seldom does one see a band so obviously wearing its influence so obviously. The Postelles charm is that they mix the New York punky sound of a Blondie or Ramones with the pop sensibilities of The Beach Boys but that charm seems set to be their limitation too. It is fine for a band to be the entertaining sum of its parts, but sometimes you should not show the working out of that sum.

One wonders how this will hamper the accent of The Postelles. Many worse bands earn a living and many bands do what they do less well, but they break no new ground and music seldom rewards the lack of originality that comes with doing something well that has been done before.

Case in point at Dutch Uncles who take the second support slot and labour through an unengaged set. Perhaps tonight is a bad night for them - they seem to lack a spark - but perhaps they too are a little too obvious, a little too an answer the sum of which is too easily calculated: Dutch Uncles equals Devo plus Talking Heads over Franz Ferdinand.

Franz Ferdinand were a peer of The Futureheads when the bands broke and the two have had divergent careers with Franz Ferdinand consider more innovative, ergo better.

The Sunderland lads carve a niche out playing a kind of fast paced pop which no one will ever claim is a new discovery but when the spring from Decent Days & Nights to The Beginning of The Twist they do so with a passion and an élan.

Yet it is for the cover version of Kate Bush's Hounds Of Love - the song that guitarist and leader Ross probably heard through floorboards as his mum washed up to it - that the band get most regard and the best reaction.

The roar of approval is noticeable and slightly saddening. The take on the song is everything that the rest of the set is not. It is innovative, it is a fresh take on things, but it seems a novelty and to laud a cover in the face of a band who are treading an albeit well worn path with such vigour and no little smarts underestimates what The Futureheads can do.

Alas music seldom rewards anything other than innovation and often ignores repeated quality.

All the young things, All the futures More

Live Review

Written By Ria Wilkinson Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

The Futureheads, The Daisy Riots and Uncle Monty at Northumbria University, Newcastle Upon Tyne

The Futureheads are currently in the middle of a student union venue sized tour where they are airing their new third long player offering “This Is Not The World” – due out this month on their own label.

Tonight they have been supported by The Daisy Riots (Southportian shoegaze haired young moppets thrashing out the treble loud and clear on their guitars) and Uncle Monty (local four-piece, a little older, a little more earnest with some good melodies weaved into their more structured guitar driven noise). Both acts successfully fulfilled the brief of the support band - be distracting, nay, entertaining but don’t risk over shadowing the main act.

After casually assembling at the stage side to watch Uncle Monty, The Futureheads disappeared backstage to regroup as their lone roadie prepped their instruments expertly, which was almost another support act in itself.

Emerging confidently through the darkness a few moments later, Barry, Dave, Ross and Jaff took to the stage, grabbed their delicately tuned guitars (Dave excepted) and immediately launched into a frenetic rendition of Decent Days and Nights.

This familiar crowd pleaser was a perfect choice to announce their arrival in the evening and was followed by a pair of tracks also from the back catalogue to really stimulate the crowd memory of The Futureheads. The track A to B, subject of which is laziness was played with such vigour, in particular by Ross, that it raised an ironic smile in this reviewer.

It was observed that The Futureheads stood in formation of decreasing order of frenzy in their playing styles -left to right: Ross (lead guitar), Barry (rhythm) and Jaff (bass) with Dave (drums) behind Barry. Ross leapt about in “air guitar” style operatics, Dave gave Meg White a run for her money in cool, almost dispassionate play whilst Barry and Jaff covered the middle ground in their own way. And this was pretty much maintained throughout the whole gig as they skilfully mixed their classics like Area with several morsels from the new album at breakneck pace.

The new material showcased, including title track This Is Not The World, the intriguingly concepted Girl With The Radio Heart, single Broke Up The Time and rousing current release The Beginning Of The Twist fitted seamlessly into the rest of set as the younger crowd at the front moshed along merrily.

The latter track was played with a touch more focus and diligence for it was being especially recorded (as is every night’s version on the tour) to be released.

The venue, as a student union, was mainly filled with usual clientele of young things that may be of less discernment or passion for The Futureheads than the band deserve, especially when rolling out new material. I do wonder if they had held this gig at, for example, The Cluny, whether the new material would have been greeted by a crowd with more enthusiasm and interest. I felt that The Futureheads deserved more response and verve from the crowd in both banter and also in praise for their spirited performance.

However, that is not to say the crowd were not engaged as audience participation was corralled by Ross (of course) who directed appropriate hand clapping and vocal work from us – at one stage mimicking crows with an “Ah! Ah!” along to a chorus of a new track. As rewards, we were gifted Skip To The End and the near legendary Hounds Of Love to play with.

After a consistent and sometimes relentless set with a brief encore (where they go to hug and praise each other – according to the The Young Knives last week, who let us in on an industry secret (wink, wink) of what groups do between encores) and finale of a short, intense track, they bounded off stage and so never outstayed their welcome.