I was fortunate to be studying in northeast England around the time when The Futureheads were making their breakthrough. Some five years since last seeing the band in their local surrounds, I was eagerly awaiting a concert reunion tonight at the Mod Club in Toronto. My affections for the top corner of England are strong as a whole, but when it comes to local rivalries my affinities lay firmly on Tyneside with Newcastle. So there was something of an in-joke tonight as I arrived at the Mod Club wearing my Newcastle United football jersey, as Newcastle are the arch-rivals of Sunderland, the Futurehead’s town. With a nod, lead singer Baz Hyde acknowledged my show of colour and the Futureheads responded with the finest performance you could ever hope to see from a a band of Mackems.
Tonight the Futureheads were stellar. Absolutely class. To recall one of my favourite pieces of Geordie slang: The Futureheads were mint!
I’d recommended this show to anyone who would listen because I knew the Futureheads would not let me down. It was like 2004 all over again – only now, they have four albums under their belts, so the set list was chock full of variety. Kicking off with “The Chaos”, the lead single from their latest album of the same name, their set eventually wound up going all the way back to the start of the band’s history as they played their 2003 debut EP “First Day” during the encore.
The Futureheads always have a great time when they are playing live, spirits always seem high and the banter between band members is free-flowing. Tonight was no different. The energy and good vibes emitted from the band were picked up by the audience, who were fully into it. Everyone was having a good time, but a special mention goes to the guy right up at the front with his blonde girlfriend: his unique dancing, (straight back, straight shoulders, flailing limbs and bobbing head), was described by Barry Hyde as, “brilliant… you have the best posture I’ve ever seen from someone dancing in a crowd!”
Near the end of their set, The Futureheads announced they would be playing two more songs. This was the cue for anguished cries for more, with one fan waving a $20 bill in an attempt to pay-per-play. After some familiar ‘oh-oh-oh’ audience participation with their hit song “Hounds Of Love”, the Futureheads played out to “Jupiter” then briefly left the stage. On their return they played “First Day” and then took requests! How often does that happen? Never! Younger fans clambered over themselves to shout out their desired Futureheads songs while the money-waving fan from earlier came forward to reward the band members with a bottle of beer each. That gesture was symbolic of the overall night where a band and audience came together in concert harmony.
Gigs with this much feel-good factor are rare. Come back to Toronto soon lads, and good luck in the Premiership this season – you’re gonna need it!
© Brian Banks, Editor, Music Vice
Pictures of the Futureheads in Toronto: