The Old Fire Station, Bouremouth

First it was a venue change, then a date change; I was starting to think this gig might not happen. Luckily for me and all that were in attendance, Funeral For A Friend did grace the stage of The Old Fire Station in Bournemouth with support from Tiger Please and Rise To Remain. From the moment I walked in I could see the venue was packed and previously I’ve had my reservations about The Old Fire Station as a good gig venue and what better test than to have a trio of rock bands tear up the stage.

So first up were Tiger Please who brought a more atmospheric approach with big choruses and U2-like guitars. They went down well and the front of the stage was full of people, which is unusual for the 3rd support band (especially in Bournemouth!). Maybe it was because I was in a mood for heavy riffs and a bit of a scream, but I didn’t warm to Tiger Please. Every song seemed quite safe and although their performance was solid and the front man really has a great voice, they just didn’t do anything for me. They lacked an edge and intensity that would be further exposed by performances put in later on in the night.

Rise To Remain

After a brief break to refuel with my beverage of choice, Rise To Remain hit the stage. From start to finish they absolutely killed it! With the virtuosity of guitarist Ben Tovey and the vocal gymnastics of Austin Dickinson (any relation to Bruce?!) spearheaded the band’s attack on Bournemouth. The charisma and sheer enthusiasm of both really elevated the band to another level. I’ve seen plenty of up and coming bands like Rise To Remain, but none with such confidence and passion. I don’t know what sub genre of metal they fit into (neither do I care!) but it is nice to hear proper guitar solos from a young metal band.

Tovey really had an air of Eddie Van Halen about him with the skill to match. Not to forget the rest of the band that really lay the solid foundations for Tovey and and Dickinson to showcase their talent. Thoroughly impressed and I hope I get to see them again some time.

Funeral For A Friend

The anticipation starts to build. More people join the crowd and even those who were sitting down at the sides of the venue stand as they wait for the band we’ve all come to see. In a section of the crowd a cheer goes up, this signals Funeral For A Friend’s entrance to the stage. This is the first time I have seen them with their new line up so I have feeling of excitement and intrigue. Will they be the same? Are these new guys going to add to the show or just merely play their parts? Matt takes the mic…”Does anybody know a good vet?” Ok…not sure where they are going with this one. Seems like an odd way to open. Bass player Richard Boucher in an embarrassed fashion flexes his biceps as Matt Davies-Kreye hits us with “Because these swans a sick!”. I don’t know what it is about bands from Wales, but they always seem to be up for a laugh and joke and they certainly set the scene for crowd banter from the start.

They rip into their first song: an oldie but a goodie “Roses For The Dead” which is a brilliant opening song for them as it showcases the chug and melody that Funeral For A Friend are famous for. Also a fantastic sing-a-long for those long time fans. Song after song the high intensity maintains as they seamlessly mix songs from their 5-album back catalogue. My initial worries about new band members Richard Boucher and Gavin Burrough were quickly put to rest and they tear through all songs new and old with ease and flair. Funeral For A Friend were one that night and delivered on all fronts.

From a set list perspective you can’t please everyone, but they certainly got close with Funeral For A Friend classics such as “Juneau”, “Escape Artist Never Die”, “Roses For The Dead”, “Rookie Of The Year” and the list could go on. It was nice that they recognised that those songs had to be played and not pushed aside in favour of new material and that’s what fuelled the atmosphere. When a band like Funeral For A Friend have been recording and touring for 10 years, you must get bored of playing songs from your first album (especially with the amount of touring they have done over the years). That attitude was not evident in the slightest as songs new and old were delivered with the same vigour and passion which all in all made for a fantastic evening.

The evening comes to a close starting with “Oblivion” and members of Tiger Please and Rise To Remain take the stage in all in one tiger suits. As much to celebrate the final night of their tour together as to distract their tour mates. Refreshingly there was no encore, and for me it wasn’t needed. The set was well crafted, well delivered and shows there is plenty more to come from Funeral For A Friend for years to come.


Roses For The Dead
Rookie of the Year
The End of Nothing
Serpents In Solitude
Red Is The New Black
Damned If You Do, Dead If You Don’t
Man Alive
Spinning Over The Island
Into Oblivion (Reunion)
Front Row Seats to the End of the World
Escape Artists Never Die

Pictures by;
Dan O’Gara

Words by;
Tom Fisher

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to MySpace