100 Shows of 2010 - #29: The Futureheads @ Black Cat, 6/4/10

I had been waiting and waiting and waiting for years for this show. No kidding. Somehow, don’t ask me how, I hadn’t ever managed to see The Futureheads live. Theirs were gigs that scheduling conflicts and lord knows what else had put asunder. But finally, the concert gods had mercy on me, and I have now seen the adorable Sunderlandians live and in person. And my friends, it was as good as I could possibly have hoped.

MINI RECAP: The Futureheads = Charmingly Cheeky Chappies! Overall score: A.

There was a relatively sizeable crowd upstairs at The Black Cat to see the band, and we were all in for a serious treat. They were instantly likeable, and consummate showmen. And the bassist looked a whole lot like that Chase Crawford from Gossip Girl, though that’s really neither here nor there (you know me, I like to get some good objectification in when I can). A blistering rendition of new song “The Chaos” from their new album of the same name started off the set, and the band showed themselves to be in fine form with some ferocious riffage and a commanding stage presence. One of my favorites from their debut was next, the excellent “Meantime”, which sounded just as fabulously frenetic as on record. “Takin’ you back to 2004, eh?” they joked. When prefacing third song, “Heartbeat Song”, it was requested that we pretend we were in the 1980s in a John Hughes movie, falling in love for the first time. Really, that’s not far off the mark, as the song certainly could have been culled from any of Hughes’ finest Bratpack flicks.

Things didn’t let up after that, with the foursome launching into a killer rendition of “Decent Days & Nights”, another goodie from 2004. Throughout the set I was so impressed by the band’s assertive yet totally and disarmingly pleasant persona, they were totally in command but totally accessible. “Sun Goes Down” from The Chaos was introduced as a “vampire sex song,” and the band requested “vampiric” lighting, which evidently translated to dim red lights. Whether or not the band engages in vampiric activities remains to be confirmed or denied. The set was primarily filled with new songs, with songs from the first record taking up the majority of the remainder, though they did sneak in a very bouncy version of “Skip To The End”, which pleased the hardcore fans down the front. “The Connector”, the fastest song the band has ever written (“it’s ridiculous,” said they) came next, and was indeed pretty dang fast. Not to mention pretty dang good.

Towards the end of the set I had sent a friend a text saying that if the band played “Hounds of Love” I might swoon. Well, not five minutes after I sent that message, what should they happen to play? Their Kate Bush cover sounded as good as I could have ever imagined, and was a major blast from the past. “Paul Weller is not a nice man,” we were told, right after someone jokingly requested The Jam and right before the final song in the set, “Jupiter”. Though, of course, it wasn’t the last song. “There’s no way we could not give you an encore tonight, because it’s been so excellent,” they proclaimed, reemerging to spew forth three more amazing songs (“This Is The Life”, “Le Garage”, and “Man Ray”, which I was so excited about I wrote it down in my notes as “Man Fucking Ray”.).

The Futureheads were one of those bands that came over in the British Invasion of the early Naughties, and they’ve proven to have more longevity than most of those bands had. Their live show, so fun and joyful, also proves that they’re a force to be reckoned with when it comes to playing live. I have to say that I’m definitely even more of a fan now than I was before I stepped foot in The Black Cat last weekend. They were just splendiferous, and I can’t recommend seeing them live heartily enough.

mp3: Struck Dumb (The Futureheads from The Chaos)

mp3: Man Ray (The Futureheads from The Futureheads)


  1. Nice writeup. How were the Static Jacks?

  2. Why thank you. Sadly, I can't tell you. Missed them, and The Like.


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