Gig review: Future Of The Left, Annandale Hotel, 5/1/11

The room was well and truly packed when Future Of The Left took to the stage, the intimidating yet entertaining presence of Andy Falkous igniting cheers from men and women alike. What ensued was an hour and more of aural assault covering eras from McLusky to the last FOTL record, delivered seamlessly and swiftly. There is yet to be a better rock show intro than the unison cries of ‘Cmon Rick, I’m not a prize!’ as they opened with Arming Eritrea and pushed straight through with the pulsating Chin Music.

Andy Falkous may be the most entertaining rock star to grace a stage. Whether throwing playful jibes at fellow band members or screaming at blood-vessel bursting pitch, he’s extremely fascinating to watch. Put him toe-to-toe with last year’s now infamous heckler and it becomes a comedy show, as he effortlessly put the man in place time and time again. Before performing You Need Satan More Than He Needs You he riffs on a song dedication, claiming past recipient Phil Collins has passed his ‘cunt-by date.’

Yet for all the comedy, a FOTL gig is an intense experience. By the time Manchasm appeared mid-set the room was a veritable sweatbox, the guitars amping up louder and floor quaking from bass. The new additions, guitarist Jimmy Watkins and bassist Julia Ruzicka, were both flawless, holding their own in the presence of Falkous and his long standing partner in crime, drummer Jack Egglestone. The four piece were tense and taught on crowd favourite To Hell With Good Intentions sparking a word-for-word singalong.

There was no pretension in the encore which ended with a cataclysmic rendition of Lapsed Catholics, Falkous and Watkins shouting into microphones whilst practically headbutting, before the former began dismantling Egglestone’s drumkit piece by piece.

As each band member left the stage; Ruzicka silently backing away once her bass riff was done, Watkins after pouring a beer down his shirt and into his pants, Egglestone once he had nothing left to hit with a drumstick, there remained but one man. The inimitable Falkous, who in only his way, plucked away at his guitar before setting it to a squealing screech and disappearing off stage. Mr Falkous, my still ringing ears salute you.

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