What’s the sign of a great band? Is it an ability to produce earworms? Many would say so, but I disagree. Otherwise Umbrella by Rihanna would make her, or whoever is operating the strings behind her, the finest artist of our times. I’m going to throw caution to the wind and say she/he/they/it are not. How about delivering songs with clever lyrics that even now, 3 days after I left the gig, won’t stop bouncing round my fucking brain? What if they were delivered over relentless, pounding riffs? Then package them in a compact 3-piece, dripping with a knowing indignation. Some vocals tinged with a mocking, yet not smug, sneer? That’d make a nice change from the usual angst that bands like this often bring. Future of the Left are not a bunch of whiny children. I wouldn’t say they’re angry, I’ve been threatened by Welsh people before and this isn’t like that. FotL are something else. Singer Andy Faulkous is ex-Mclusky, which is irrelevant (much as I liked them). FotL are their own band and are not being carried on the back of “oh, that guy was in Mclusky, we should check them out?”
In all honesty, I’m still reeling with disappointment from last years Interpol gig. Sure, I know they’re not the same deal as FotL, but the difference in showmanship was so dramatic. None of that disinterested, wandering, crossing of guitar cables whilst they prettend to look interested in their fret boards. No. The three members of FotL try so bloody hard, which combined with their competency in, seemingly, all areas of the craft results in one of the best shows I’ve seen. Their new album is very solid, consistent stuff and at this Sheffield Corporation show they played stuff from across their two albums. They hardly need to cherry-pick and I’m very glad that the well-thrashed synthesizer is with them.
I had seen a FotL show before at the Kasbah which, although a smaller venue (and thus better), didn’t leave the same impact on me. But now that they are 2 albums deep, they did. One benefit of Corporation was that it provided a number of hecklers whose only frame of reference to the Welsh people seemed to be late-night BBC3 repeats of Gavin & Stacey. Still, the band dealt with the hecklers in much the same way they seem to with anything else. Amusingly, harshly and definitively.