Archive for Astoria

To the Future!

Posted in Music with tags , on December 1, 2008 by James Osborn

The Futureheads, London Astoria, 29 November 2008

The Futureheads, London Astoria, 29 November 2008

Effectively back from the dead following the misery of their second album poor sales/record label drop, the Futureheads have spent 2008 reclaiming their spot as one of the Britain’s finest alt-punk-pop outfits. Third album This Is Not The World, released earlier this year, was an absolute return to form for the band and demonstrated to anyone who cared to listen (including Radio 1’s controller, for the first couple of singles) that the Sunderland four-piece had decided to play very good songs very fast again.

With almost an excess of breakneck new tunes, this collection of shows in fact marks the release – already – of a brand new single. And when they launched into it, mid-set, it was clear why it warranted a tour all of its own. I wouldn’t be like this if you were here it a 2.5 minute kidney punch from the band, basically to say, If you haven’t already noticed, we’re back and we fucking mean it.The Futureheads

But the ‘problem’ faced by the Futureheads became immediately clear upon arrival at the Astoria: At least fifty percent of the crowd was made up of fans in their mid-to-late twenties, and this was confirmed the next day, when a quick visit to the band’s Myspace revealed only one fan comment about the show.

In this new bottom-up music industry model, a band requires a hardcore of 15-18 year old fans in order to start selling out shows, start playing bigger ones, and start surviving. They need people who don’t have to get up for work the next morning to jump on Myspace/Facebook/Twitter/Etc, sweaty and excited, the moment they get home from the gig, to tell their friends and the world about how great the band they’ve just seen actually are.

This is less of an issue for bands of a strictly alternative genre, who are competing for airtime/music press column inches with other bands that will, like them, never be played on the Chris Moyles show. But a band like the Futureheads perform music that should be appealing to this age group and who, when it comes to a play on Zane Lowe’s show, or a slot at Reading Festival, are competing directly with outfits like You Me At Six – a band who spend as much time trying to look pretty to their burgeoning (predominantly female) audience as they do writing songs.

Yet if the Futureheads can keep going like this – keep releasing killer records and building continual momentum on the strength of the songs alone – then it will be a victory for every band in the country that puts substance over style. As they returned to the stage for a four-song encore, which included the irrepressible Area and an even-faster-than-usual rendition of Broke Up The Time, it became obvious: Great music, passionately performed, will always trump haircuts.