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The Futureheads Rant live review Leeds

by The Editors. Published Sat 07 Apr 2012 22:14, last updated: 10/04/12

Purple Revolver took a trip back to the future of music to witness a stripped down, spiritual a capella performance by The Futureheads.

Sunderland's finest bravely sail into unchartered waters with Rant, but thankfully it's more attuned to a Jack Sparrow sea shanty than the nu-folk chart fodder currently polluting the airwaves.

An old saying goes - never fight in a basement as there is only one way out, but there was no struggle from the audience who lapped up their new material in Leeds' underground bunker The Wardrobe.

Surely it was a strange sight for Futureheads fans to see the group appear without their instruments, as their harmonic vocals usually fly over pounding drumbeats and guitar riffs.

Barry Hyde, provided rhythm on acoustic guitar for a few, choice songs and led the chorus with the raw magnetism and commanding stage presence of Buddy Holly.

It is hard to imagine how difficult it must be as veteran musicians to step on stage and perform a capella without the comforting anchor of their instruments.

But The Futureheads carry this off with aplomb, as if directly tapping into the spirit of ancient choirmasters.

The foursome got medieval on their fans and brought on their female support act The Cornshed Sisters to sing what Barry called: 'the oldest song in the world' the mellifluous Summer Is Icumen In.

When it came to Jaff's turn to 'do the do's' and start a song, the tallest member of the group stumbled on the delicate intro twice, much to the amusement of Barry.

Between tracks The Futureheads kept the crowd captivated with their great sense of humour and a big highlight was the cover of LA electro rockers Sparks' The No 1 Song In Heaven.

The quartet's captivating performance was rewarded with calls for an encore of which they obliged, returned to perform Hang Johnny from the new record.

Rant, the fifth Futureheads album is out now and the double A-side single Meet Me Halfway/The No.1 Song In Heaven is an impressive interpretation of The Black Eyed Peas' #1 hit single and Sparks' 1979 track.

Before the gig Ross Millard said Rant is a gamble, but hopes fans will be open to the changes.

He said: "A lot of them might not accept songs like The Old Dun Cow and The Keeper and dismiss them as old-time and medieval."

"But I’d like them to hear it with different ears and appreciate that we’re doing a modernist version."

The Futureheads are keeping themselves busy and are curating a food festival to celebrate the Olympics and working with their local council to try and drive up attendances at local gigs.

Barry said: "We've got so many plans for this year. We're putting on our festival Split for the fourth time.

"We're doing a massive food event in Sunderland in June, which we'll be performing at. It's all to do with the Olympics.

"Our world is evolving in quite an unusual way. We're always working with Sunderland council to try and increase the number of people at gigs."

Catch the Futureheads on their live UK tour in April
8th: GATESHEAD, Sage
9th: GLASGOW, Oran Mor
10th: BIRMINGHAM, Glee Club
12th: NOTTINGHAM, Glee Club
13th: MANCHESTER, Royal Northern College of Music


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