After three supports (which you can hear the band talk about in an interview later this week) FTF opened their set with Sin City. When I listened to the studio version of this track, I was slightly disappointed in it (which you can read about here). However, the live version was a substantial improvement on this, and it formed an incredible set opener, displaying just how in tune with each other the band are. The music most definitely suited the venue and the crowd, but by no means would it have been out of place in an arena or at an open air festival, and technically, they had it together better than many bands of a similar size. However, it was only after two more tracks – Gate Crasher and Out On a Limb – that the show really began to come to life.
The first cover of the night is Rage Against The Machine – Killing In The Name Of. Out of the crowd, Oli (Griffiths, vocals and guitar) pulls a friend of the band to help out with the vocals, pumping even more life into the substantial audience. Hell, a few of them even try starting a circle pit in the middle! It’s at this point that FTF really seem to assert their presence on stage, and in the next track – Memo – Oli performs a solo with the guitar behind his head; after the gig, he stated “I think I’m going to start doing that every time we perform Memo!”
After a few more songs (all received excellently by the expectant audience), the second cover – a Kiss one, this time – is introduced; “for this next song, we’re not in Derby – we’re in Detroit!” the lead vocalist shouts at roaring crowd. Although there are a few technical problems with the drum kit after once that song finished, it highlights the fact that both Oli and Tom (Morgan, bass and backing vocals) are ideal for crowd pleasing, and the mood doesn’t drop at all, even though the next track – Blinding Light – is slightly slower.
It was at about this point in the evening that I realised I’d lost all track of time – each track was as superbly executed as the last, but the evening was sadly drawing to a close. And so begins Def Leppard’s Pour Some Sugar On Me – and it’s no exaggeration to say that everyone in the room was either clapping or dancing along. The band were having the night of their life, and it reflected in everyone who made up the crowd.
Their final track was the one I had most been looking forward to seeing, being not only my favourite off of the album, but seemingly everyone’s. The 8 minute spectacle, Waiting For You, was just as sublime performed live as the masterpiece it was in the studio. In a world where music has resorted to auto-tune, and gigs to phone flash lights and miming, it was rather incredible to see a young, up-and-coming band hold the stage with such self-respect and raw love for the music they’re playing, performing to a crowd waving lighters and singing along. Something about that moment caught me and made me think – “this band really deserve what they have.”
As Waiting For You comes to a close, a few people on the front row (and rapidly, the whole room) start chanting something I can’t decipher. Oli obviously understands though, and after bursting into laughter and replying to the crowd with “why do you always make us play this?!”, they finish the set with a cover of Electric Six’s Gay Bar, accompanied by the friend in the crowd – if that’s not the best encore there can be, I don’t know what is!