4th January | Old England
Photos: Luke Macpherson
When Football FC arrive on stage, they’re accompanied by a green, smoky haze. It’s enough to transform the cosily-sized Old England into something much more sinister-looking, as if tonight’s crowd is congregated in an underground lair to perform some kind of unholy ritual.
It’s not helped by the fact that the members of Football FC have sufficient charisma that you could imagine them being able to lead a crowd into such activities. Each of the members take turns on the microphone throughout the night – apart from the drummer, who is lost to the green haze – each with a similar sense of gusto. The heavy reverb ensures their vocals boom through the venue and out to the bar. Each line sung feels like an essential one and the fact that the room is packed out, complete with people pogoing at the back, only supports that.
Football FC’s show tonight is dominated by new songs. They build off the string of singles that were put out last year, boasting a similar heavy and dirty DIY aesthetic. The drumbeats are jaw-clenchingly heavy and guitar riffs muscular. Every element of the band’s sound has a raw feel to it; even the keyboard, an instrument that can sometimes feel too clean, sounds as though it’s been dragged through a pond just before the show. It’s this rawness that makes the band so compelling. More than any other up and coming band I’ve seen, they feel like they’ve been homegrown in Bristol.
The 30-minute set is packed as tightly as the venue tonight, with the band refusing to waste a minute. Songs are introduced briefly – “This is a song about Prince Andrew,” one intro goes – and its because they speak for themselves. ‘No Love Like A Luger’ is heavy and menacing, following a protagonist who uses violence as a stand-in for emotional support. As the lyrics boom through the venue, a guitar howls in the background and the drummer sounds as though he’s about to bust up his kit.
‘Big Time’, the latest single released by the group, stands out as their most immediate song, calling to mind several different classic post-punk acts. The song is built around a looping drumbeat and a slow, lurching bassline and its lyrics are all deliberately empty boasts. It’s another song where the band play a character, a power-hungry capitalist who talks about hitting the big time and wearing the big shoes.
Football FC precede ‘Apartment’ with a typically straightforward intro: “This is a song about moving house.” It’s a song that can only really be described as sounding huge; it carries the DNA of a 90s Britpop album closer with its overblown outro and melancholic tinge. During the song’s climax, the guitarist jumps down into the mosh pit and holds up his guitar in the centre almost like a lightning rod. It’s a powerful image and one that sums up where Football FC are at the moment. It can’t be long before they’re filling out much larger rooms with the same frenzied energy.
See the video for ‘Big Time’ here: