Prior to tonight’s performance my only encounter with East Los Angeles’ Funeral Party has been limited to a few (very impressed) sessions on MySpace. Tonight they storm one of my favourite haunts, The Stiff Kitten, and quickly become one of my new favourite bands, with support in the form of London based trio Flashguns.
Flashguns are an eclectic mix of Morrissey-esque vocals (courtesy of baby faced front man Sam Johnston), drums akin to a pneumatic drill combined with guitar and bass to make the ground shake. Passions of a Different Kind is the highlight of this admirable opening slot, epitomising the band’s collision of indie pop and rock, it’s a tune you find yourself humming days after the gig. Flashguns flaunt their irresistibly catchy lyrics and riffs to the max tonight, with the desired results. Expect their name to make an appearance on Spotify playlists all over Belfast after this performance.
Funeral Party kick start (literally) with the title track from their debut album Golden Age of Knowhere. We’re thrown in at the deep end of this crash course in dance infused punk and that’s far from being a bad thing. Like some sort of drug, you find yourself craving more and Funeral party are only too happy to oblige. Front man, Chad Elliott, resembles a demon possessed pixie leaping about the stage with an energy that makes you tired watching him and clinging to the mic as if his life depended on it.
Giant Song and Car Wars continue to bash us over the head with Funeral Party’s punk/dance wares. Chad’s relentless onslaught doesn’t let up for a second, the mic stand hits the deck countless times as he bounds across the stage like a rabid puppy. It’s music that will make you want to dance and rock out at the same time, with irresistibly catchy guitar, wailing vocals, keyboards galore and drums so fast paced it’s a wonder Tom Madrid’s arms stay attached to him.
Youth & Poverty proves Chad is not the only member of the band with the up and go of a Duracell bunny. Guitarist, James Torres, perches himself on top of a three foot high stack of amps while mercilessly playing his guitar for all it’s worth. Postcards of Persuasion is a hauntingly gorgeous keyboard infused track and the first of the more mellow numbers Funeral Party have to offer tonight. Make no mistake though, you’ll still be fighting off the craving to get up and dance. The band’s run through of their debut hammers on with Relics To Ruins, a beautiful gem in this evening’s treasure trove of a set. An unassumingly chilled out number with happily melodic keyboard and guitar and Chad’s razor sharp vocals, it’s all too easy for tonight’s gig goers to find themselves clapping along in time.
Finale finds Chad screaming into the mic once more, a track that wouldn’t look out of place sat among the charts, it’s a scream along number that finds this evening’s crowd with their hands clapping in salute once again. At this point we find Chad has taken new residence atop the bass drum. It’s a surprise tonight’s performance hasn’t seen us head in the direction of A&E. Where Did It Go Wrong breaks out with a distinctly retro feeling keyboard; it’s a wind down after the sheer energy of Finale, although this does nothing to lessen its irresistible catchiness.
Encore New York City Moves to the Sound of LA is an impressive and apt end to this evening’s whirlwind of a performance. A track just begging for you to jump around like a loon much like we’ve witnessed on stage tonight. It’s a massive crescendo to this evening’s madness. Completely at odds with the confident human cannon ball we’ve seen zoom across the stage, Chad modestly closes thanking the crowd for coming and confessing they weren’t sure anyone in Belfast had heard of them.
I showed up tonight curious to see what a band I’d heard a few times on MySpace had to offer and leave completely gob smacked and converted. Recorded material does not do this band of dancing punks any justice. Awesome tunes and utterly likeable, to appreciate the full talent and raw energy in their music Funeral Party have to be seen live!! It won’t be long before Funeral Party are fully out from under the radar. If you have the opportunity, go see them … now!!!