Funeral for a Friend have been going since 2001 and when I heard that they were playing in Cardiff’s Great Hall in the Student Union, I jumped at the chance to go. On arrival at the venue, just before the crowd were allowed to even enter the hall, I was surprised to see no queues waiting to go into the building. I was surprised to discover that the Great Hall was turned into the Great Hall 2 (cut the venue in half with a sound curtain). I thought they were big enough to sell out in their home country, was I wrong?
Ten minutes after the doors opened, the hall was half full. Moose Blood were the first band to warm up the stage. Although they had a diverse range of sounding melodies, I found them fairly boring to watch on stage. I feel I enjoy a band who can keep a crowd interested vocally as well as visually more, so personally, I feel that if they worked on the stage presence side of their set, they would be a band worth watching over and over again.
As a few more people entered the hall, it was time for Polar to continue what Moose Blood started. The Hardcore-metal band tore up the stage like it was a mosh pit, their heavy screams thundered through the speaker into the crowd . They aren’t usually my cup of tea but they had a mass of adoring fans in the crowd who surely knew all the word to their songs. I quite enjoyed how energetic they were for it was a challenge to get a photograph of them.
Gnarwolves is a name that I hear a lot of but haven’t listened to myself so I was unsure of what to expect. The punk band from Brighton were the lead support for the night and I was pleasantly surprised of how they dragged in 30% more of a crowd into the venue. For a three piece band, they surely knew how to be a true crowd pleaser while making crystal clear melodies. The room began filling up and overspilled into the wings of the hall. By this point, it was clear who people had come to see.
The Lights dimmed as the crowd expected a backing track to begin to play… but no! From the darkness, Matt Davies walked out on the stage alone to sound of screaming fans. To our surprise, he broke into a heart-warming speech about how he was so grateful for the fan’s support and how they have done all they can to make us happy. My heart skipped a beat, it was an unusual way to start a show but it definitely made the crowd feel part of the show and also feel appreciated for all the things they do to keep the band going. After that emotional speech the rest of the band entered the stage. This is when the show really began.
They made sure they played a song or two from all of their 6 studio albums as they seemed to understand the diversity of their crowd, from the long time supporters to the new fans. You can tell a true band by the way that the sounds pouring through the speakers, matched the sounds recorded on their albums. I was happy to be part of their opening night of their tour as they put on a superb show which I hope they continue into the rest of their tour.
Funeral for a FriendCardiff Great Hall - 2nd October 2013
Photographer: Cristina Shuker