The Futureheads

When: June 1, 2019

Where: Rescue Rooms

“It’s been too long”, says The Futureheads’ leading force Barry Hyde in his unmistakably strong Sunderland brogue. “This gig is gonna last three weeks!”, he enthuses. He no doubt tells all his audiences that.

Having first emerged at the start of the noughties amidst a burgeoning swarm of guitar bands, the Sunderland quartet, with their proud regional accents and spiky, playful sensibilities, stuck out from the crowded scene. But their stock failed to rise, and they began to drift from the musical landscape.

However, their legacy is a fine one, and tonight the sell-out crowd are treated to tunes they haven’t heard live for some time.

They begin with Yes/No, and the tone of jarring, punchy post-punk is set.

During Area, Barry alludes to the band’s rustiness. “A few of you knew that song, which was helpful cus I could lip read the lyrics”. It’s the start of much banter to come, including riff karaoke on Struck Dumb, Barry and Ross Millard, the other driving force behind the band, challenging the crowd to replicate their riffs with their voices.

The wonderfully jerky riffs and befuddling time signatures of Decent Days and Nights is a highlight of their set, and possibly the best thing they’ve ever written.

They have a new album on the way, and the new tracks follow their trusted formula. But if it’s not broken, why fix it? The only real departure from their sound is latest single Jekyll, a dark and brooding slab of alternative rock.

Back to the oldies and Skip to the End begins with a trio of guitars rutting, creating a riff heavy AC/DC moment.

Equally monolithic is Beginning of the Twist, which prompts a mass singalong, and gives everyone a chance to hone their best northeast accents.

They end with two covers: A Picture of Dorian Grey by the Television Personalities and then a song which they’ve not just made their own but it’s now almost impossible to remember Kate Bush’s original version. It is, of course, Hounds of Love. But before we hear it, there’s another challenge. Ross splits the crowd in two, each side given the task of singing ‘oh-oh’, to create its harmony-swapping opening. And of course, the song is a belter.

Barry is right. It has been too long. But it’s good to know there’s a future for The Futureheads.

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