Future of the Left @ Badlands
w/ The Love Junkies, Rag n’ Bone
Wednesday, January 11, 2018
Rock and roll, at its most simplistic, is a cathartic release, and when teamed with an anger that may be born from being treated as yet another unthinking cog in a machine that deems smashed avocado worthy of being a fucking talking point on the national news, one may just be led to salvation by a lead singer who understands your meta-pain.
However, to ask to be entertained by someone who might not just get me, but is showing me and my fellow punters, the utmost respect by understanding that I would like him to not just play his guitar, but to, very uncooly, also entertain me, well, that’s just outrageous!
But for all intents and purposes, this may just be the modus operandi for hardcore post-punkers Future of the Left, who demonstrated their deft skill of turning the ordinary folk at a venue, Badlands Bar as it happened to be on this hump-day night, into a frenzied, sweaty mess.
Led by front-man, Andrew ‘Falco’ Falkous, the band stormed through an hour and a bit long set that was one of the most raucous, yet intelligent, that Badlands Bar will ever see.
To be fair, it was not just the main act that made the mood. The night started on an impressive foot with locals Rag n’ Bone, who made their way through an impressive setlist. Lead-singer Kiera Owen was in fine form, sauntering through The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, before exorcising the demons of I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore as the band tucked in tight behind her, with all pistons pumping as a cohesive unit.
The Love Junkies were up next, and expectations were high from the, by now, swelling crowd. Picking through fan favourites such as Maybelene and Oxymoron, The Love Junkies showed off their recently minted new, muscular four-piece band and offered hints of a new grungy-garagy direction, not too dissimilar to something Mudhoney may have crossed circa 1992.
But back to the headliners. From the moment Future of the Left walked on stage, the crowd was willing to be taken places and by The Limits of the Battleships, Falco and his co-horts; wife Julia Ruzicka on bass, Jack Eggleston on drums and Ian Catskillin (who you may have recognised from the band Art Brut) on guitars, they had the crowd in the palm of their hands.
For all participants knew their place and purpose as members of a ‘rock and roll band’, to entertain and scare in equal measure. And so they did, Falco offering fierce vocals whilst grinding out sweaty power-chords, Catskillin trading riffs and ringing out saw-like leads over the top of Ruzicka’s grimey bass riffs and Eggleston’s powerful snare and hi-hat combos.
The setlist took in tracks from the band’s most recent release, 2016’s The Peace and Truce of The Future of the Left, as well as dusting off a few fan favourites and re-visiting Falco’s previous incarnation, McClusky, with renditions of the killer To Hell With Good Intentions and Cocksucker Lightsaber Blues.
Among the highlights were an intense Arming Eritrea, the roaring Manchasm, How to Spot a Record Company‘s gripping build and a cracking medley of songs Falco described as Megadeth-like before ripping the life and times of Dave Mustaine a new one. Ouch. With classics such as French Lessons and Singing of the Bonesaws included, the medley was a clear standout.
It all culminated in Falco dismantling Eggleston’s drumkit, as one by one he pulled each separate drum apart from and away from the kit, Eggleston reaching ever further to keep the beat going until he had effectively taken over the entire stage. It was simple, rock and roll theatre at its finest.
MICHAEL D HOLLICK
Photos by Stu McKay photography