Saturday 1st September.
New month and a new band for me to review.
I’d heard a lot about The Faux Fighters. I was all set to see them last time they visited Worcester, but I wasn’t well and couldn’t make it. From what I heard after, I’d missed out. I wasn’t about to let that happen again.
This time, the band had support from local band Altered Voltage. Singer Tash, who I’ve written about before, opened the evening with three solo songs, serenading the growing crowd as the doors opened. As before, when I saw her provide support for U2Baby, Tash mesmorised everyone with her dulcet tones, again stunning everyone during her performance of Wicked Games.
She was joined on stage by her Altered Voltage band mates to perform an eclectic set of 8 songs. Being in a group transforms Tash, from being the simplistic guitar strumming songbird, into a crazy little rocker, and the foursome gel wonderfully onstage together. The songs chosen were perfect to show case the bands collective skills and knowledge of music, choosing perhaps lesser known tunes and turning them into their own. For such a young band, they had a captive audience, everyone I heard talking about them was lavashing deserved praise
. The band attracted at least two people to the dancefloor from the opening song, Wolves of Winter by Biffy Clyro, and there they stayed for the whole set. I’ve heard that Swim Down by Moose Blood is a band favourite to perform and it showed, the energy from all four members was insane and it was impossible not to fall in love with everything this band has to offer. Every time I see them perform, they have grown, evolved. And it’s exciting.
“I bet you look good on the Dancefloor” was arguably the song that ramped up the mood in the venue, calling for frantic dance moves from the crowd and onstage.
A dedication from the singer to her Dad led us into popular choice, No-one Knows by Queens of the Stone Age, before the set was concluded with Lights Out by Royal Blood,a song which has previously, aptly, caused stage malfunctions when performed by the band, inspiring their name. The only sparks that flew this time though, came from the group themselves, proving they were very worthy candidates to warm up the waiting crowd.
Since delving into this writing malarkey, I’ve found myself in a position where I’m reviewing music I’m not familiar with. Original artists are great, as their music is previously unheard by most of the people in the venue. When you’re reviewing a tribute band however, the opposite is true. Facing the mighty Faux Fighters, I felt I was wet behind the ears, a little like an outsider, if I’m honest, and the pressure to “get it right” was immense. The venue had filled with people who would know The Foo Fighters inside out, and apart from maybe two songs, I knew NOTHING!
I knew what the band looked like, I knew who the lead singer was, but I’d never watched any of their live performances, although I had caught a song they performed at The Brits this year. Their music had passed me by. Was I finally out of my depth with this one? Would I have to admit defeat? Armed with notebook,pen and a whole heap of determination, I waited.
As the screen lifted and the intro led into the opening song “No way back”, the first thing to hit me was the singers striking resemblance to Dave Grohl. Staggering infact. The two “dancers” had stayed front and centre and were joined by a friend, a small crowd forming as the band threw their energy off the stage and into the venue. No pause for breath between one song into the next, “I’ll stick around” enticed more people onto the dance floor, filling it up in front of us so we had no choice but to stand. “Up in Arms” and “My Hero” , which incidentally was the first song I recognised, followed. The music was loud, and polished. These guys were clearly professionals at what they were delivering.
The fifth song of the first set served up a little surprise. Tash from Altered Voltage and Maddie from another local band, Nexus, joined the band onstage to provide harmonic backing vocals for Sky is a Neighbourhood, the song I remembered was performed on the Brits earlier this year. The song has the perfect alt-rock pulse to suit the trio of singers now onstage and it’s fair to say this moment was certainly one that would be talked about after the show.
The groovy beat and winding guitars in Generator headed up another run of crowd pleasing favourites. The songs were delivered with so much passion, I had to wonder how I’d gotten through life without ever hearing them before. It certainly was the kind of music I like, and the Faux Fighters were expertly serving me each song in perfectly digestible ear splitting, throat tearing morsels of awesomeness. As the first set came to end with “Stacked Actors”, the venue was fit to burst, as more people joined the Faux party, long since ditching a Peaky Blinders event that had happened earlier that evening, to join us while dressed in their finest outfits.
As I’ve admitted to not knowing much about the Foo Fighters, I took the opportunity to talk to the people around me who clearly did. The best testament a tribute act can get is that of a die hard fan of the original band. One guy I chatted to had seen the Foos several times live, each ticket costing him an arm and a leg, but in his opinion, worth every penny. He did however then say, “but for a tenner I’ve seen these guys, the music is just as good, he bloody looks like Dave, it might as well be the real thing”. Out of the mouths of fans.
The band came roaring back onto stage and into the limelight with the power of wild lion. “Rope” opened the set, then into “Breakout” which , from assessing the adoring crowd, was a winner with the fans. By this point , the guy behind me had noticed me frantically taking notes, desperate to capture the atmosphere I was feeling there and then, and decided to take it upon himself to remind me to add “potatoes” to my shopping list, a joke that became a running theme throughout the rest of the evening. “Learn to Fly” was jam packed full of rip roaring riffs, causing the swaying crowd to sing, dance, jump and bounce in unison. Blokes hugging, songs have meanings to people, and if a tribute act can successfully convey the same meaning to a person as the original artist, then that’s proof indeed that they must be doing something right.
The guys took the opportunity inbetween songs to do a few birthday wishes to crowd members before going into “For all the cows” , prompting the guy behind me to tell me to add milk to my now hypothetical comedic shopping list. Two more songs ran into a wind down “Wheels” and I really studied what was going on around me and on stage. The crowd was literally buzzing, as if the ground beneath them was electrified, making them jump around uncontrollably. They were loving it. The band members looked professional, they looked as though they were performing to thousands, not hundreds, they looked like the real deal to my eyes, my eyes that would only recognise Dave Grohl on a Foo Fighters poster. I guess what I’m trying to say is that they looked like they belonged up there on that stage. As far as I was concerned, they might as well of been the real deal. Not knowing enough of their music before hand to make a comparison, I could only go on my feeling on the night itself. It was a good feeling. Not one person remained seated. All eyes and ears were on the band. If anyone left early, I sure as hell didn’t notice. All I saw were more and more people squeeze onto the dancefloor as each drum bashing, guitar screeching, vocal powered song went by.
They have the ability to turn a small dance floor into a heaving mosh pit. That’s admirable!
After All My Life and Arlandria, thanks was given to my partner in crime Sarah, for taking the photos. Sarah is one of those die hard, life long fans of The Foo Fighters, and having heard her talk about these guys before, I knew I’d be in for a treat.
By the time they reached “Best of you”, I was a mental, hot and sweaty mess. I got adopted by the guys that had been around us all evening and whisked into the middle of the dance floor in a long line of bouncing bodies and intertwined arms. The songs outtro lasted an eternity, with strains of “woah ooh-oh” from the crowd continuing long after the song had finished, reaching its climax with a Mexican wave of adoring arms showing how much the music was being appreciated. If that had been the last song of the set, I have a feeling we would still be there now. I have only ever experienced that kind of reaction to one song before, and that is when Shed Seven finished a live gig with “Chasing Rainbows” , and the chorus continues long after the band has milked the adoration, left the stage and the crowd is back out in the street heading home . It’s epic. It’s belonging. It’s what music does. It’s what good bands evoke.
“Pretender” took the already manic crowd to a whole other level, before more screaming vocals on Run led into Monkey Wrench and then the finale song “Everlong” leaving the crowd wanting more. But there was no more to give. The guys had put everything they’d got into that performance, leaving it lingering within everyone that was there to witness a tour worthy show.
My words can only say so much about a performance like this. My words are no substitute to actually being there. The photos can capture a small snap shot of the evening, but you have to be there to feel the heat, and the passion from the band and it’s fans.
To The Faux Fighters themselves, well done and thank you. You were kinda epic!
Follow the band:-
The Faux Fighters on Facebook
Photos unless otherwise stated by Lissywitch Photos.