An institution not impervious to pretence, the greatest extravagance on display at Mono for this three band bill is a keyboard; this is a rock show.
Local post-hardcore ruffians United Fruit take the stage to little fanfare, mid-week malaise seemed to be running strong, but this proved no deterrent as ‘Taste I Can’t Give Up’ and ‘Go Away Don’t Leave Me Alone’ are delivered with the furious enthusiasm of a band with home advantage.
Despite a troublingly diminutive PA, subdued passages ring out and the cacophonic climax of ‘Red Letter’ is as furious as ever and although new song ‘Open Your Eyes’ isn’t aired, an as-yet-unnamed album is imminent as is a UK wide tour.
In contrast to the endearingly earnest openers, Blacklisters follow with something altogether more hostile, reminiscent of Daughters at their most atonal, drums and bass lurch and pummel in equal measure as the guitarist oscillates between Shellac style caveman riffs and sea-sick dissonance.
Frontman Billy Mason Woods ‘Yowd’ it up, to the crowd’s total indifference, with dance moves of the Buffalo Bill variety.
Although lacking the live fervour of Brew Records companions Kong, their set hints at the live experience they could be, and presumably are, under the right conditions, tonight, however, belongs to headliners Future of the Left.
Although the first night of a brief UK tour, from the clattering drums of ‘Kept by Bees’ to the searing feedback and ritual drum kit dismantling that so emphatically closes the set, they are captivating.
Andrew ‘Falco’ Falkous, flanked by Art Brut guitarist Ian Catskilkin, bassist Julia Ruzika and drummer Jack Egglestone, initially eschews audience interaction in favour of powering through muscular live favourites ‘Arming Eritrea’, ‘Bread, Cheese, Bow and Arrow’ and ‘Small Bones Small Bodies’, for a band “not as active as they’d like to be,” everything seems to work triumphantly in their favour tonight.
A broken string seconds into pre-FOTL Mclusky’s ‘Gareth Brown Says’ results in a brief guitar change and a hilarious digression on mishaps, Raiders of the Lost Ark trivia and Glaswegian elocution, consequently the crowd are treated to the delightfully profane opening line (strong contender for the best ever) twice. TWICE!
All albums are equally represented, although material from last year’s How to Stop Your Brain in an Accident, crowdfunded and released through their own Prescriptions label, is rapturously received, a mosh pit briefly erupting for ‘She Gets Passed Around at Parties’.
One of the best rhythm section pairings in recent years, Ruzika and Egglestone carry the show on bass and drum heavy numbers like ‘How to Spot a Record Company’ and ‘Beneath the Waves an Ocean’ is pure Orange amplifier burl and Totally Wired-era Fall drumming.
Confined to touring when schedules align, there’s a palpable sense of onstage enjoyment, the band are all smiles with each other and Falco screams with the gusto and conviction of a man unconcerned with preserving his voice for the remaining seven or so shows.
There is no encore, instead, they launch immediately into a 10-minute plus amalgamation of ‘French Lessons’, ‘Lapsed Catholics’, ‘Singing of the Bonesaws’ and Mclusky anthem ‘Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues’, it’s unfathomably precise, sweaty, conclusive and the band leave the equipment strewn stage to Van Halen’s ‘Ain’t Talking ‘bout Love.’
Judging by the audience chatter on the way out, there couldn’t have been a less apt song.
Words: Gethin Bowen
Photos: Michael Gallcher