Having seen British rockers Fahran before, the chance to review them in my home town at Bannermans Rock Bar just had to be taken. Their album Chasing Hours is full of classic sounding rock songs, with a hint at times of power metal (just briefly, but they are there), so there would be no problems when it came to the enjoying the music itself!
The night was in fact a three band bill of younger or newer rock bands who have joined forces to present a strong, but reasonably varied, bill of rock and metal with a touch of punk on a tour going round the UK. The bill also included openers Fragile Things from Milton Keynes and Brighton and headliners Falling Red, whose members come from Carlisle, Newcastle and Edinburgh itself.
Each band were hard rock, with riffs, melodies, choruses etc, but they all had a different sound which made the night even more enjoyable.
So onto Fahran themselves. They came out of the blocks full of energy heads banging, hair flailing and running around the small stage like it was a massive venue. Opener “Take This City Alive” is a belter. Combining an 80’s melodic rock chorus with some fine guitar riffing and soloing, this probably explains how the band can play festivals so varied in the UK from melodic festivals to Bloodstock. The bonus being having a singer Matt Black, who has power and clarity (he is also in a band that plays the music of both Journey and Foreigner), but also has a really good feel to it. They can hit a groove when they want, “Long Gone” being a fine example, yet even then it still rocks hard.
During the evening, they treated us to some new songs as well, the first of those being “Pyre” which they debuted at Wildfire festival earlier this year in “the Scottish summer”, as Matt told us. There was a bit of laughter, suggesting that it was probably hammering down with rain (a traditional Scottish summer, the rain is warmer). The song itself had a touch of progressive rock or metal, with stops and starts and sounding a little off beat in parts. Really want to hear it again, which is a very good thing indeed. The other new song “State Of Mind” was very different to that as it was very easy on the ear and commercial sounding (inasmuch as non-rockers could hear it on a radio and not be scared away). Be interesting to see which way the next album on the whole goes.
There was some fun chat at times, including apologising to the front rows for breathing on them after the burritos they had ate before coming on, and Matt complaining “how dare they have written an album before I joined” as part of the introduction to “Ashes”.
Finishing off just as they started, full of running and energy, on the song “A Thousand Nights”, this was an enjoyable lively set from a band that can work an audience and have quality songs in their repertoire. The biggest problem is trying to take photos of them, as they never stand still long enough and drummer Josh is like a mad octopus but with hair! Every attempt seemed to result in arms or hair covering his face. When you could see him, like the rest of the band, he had a massive grin on his face, which is most pleasing.
As I stated earlier, there were two other bands who were also very enjoyable. Openers Fragile Things had a dirtier sound and more of a groove thing going on. Drummer Hugo had a Bonham type style. At times, the drums were almost moving across the stage as he knocked seven shades out of them. I hadn’t heard of them before and knew none of the songs, but I was impressed at the quality of what I heard. Singer Richie was engaging and chatty, as well as quite funny at times. His comments about being a band angry at each other “a bit like Fleetwood Mac but without the inter band shagging… or at least not yet” drew laughs as they went onto play what seemed the heaviest song of the night in “Big Reveal”. My personal favourite on the night was “Bastard”, which just had a riff that really got to me.
One of Richie’s comments about how all three bands had shared stages before at festivals and that having already known each other that there should be a lot of enjoyment in doing the tour. One of the things I noticed through the evening were various band members popping in and out to support the guys in each other’s bands during the night. This is a very good thing to witness.
Headliners for this tour are Falling Red who have a more punky vibe at times. Several times through the set, I thought of the Murderdolls, but without the horror shtick. “We Escaped A Cult” is a great song, with a touch of the Marilyn Manson’s about it, but with more humour. “Party Til We Die” with its “hey hey” shouts went down very well indeed and is the sort of thing Wednesday 13 comes up with regularly. They do write some catchy anthems and could get a party going with ease. The biggest question of the night was during a song that may have been called “Enemy” with the chorus of “who needs enemies with friends like you”, was there a cow bell? It sounded like one! Thought that only happened in prog rock.
Their best song though, in my opinion, is the more acoustically influenced “My Town, My City”. A song which was introduced as “for all those who have a love hate relationship with your home town”. The lyrics are very true, we all tend to slag off our home towns (certainly in the UK) but no one else is allowed to. Or so it seems.
Three bands, all rock, with different styles and lots of laughs. What more could a rock fan want for on a night out? With the debate going on about the price of concerts, especially big named artists, nights like these highlight that a good night of music can be had in a small venue for a fair and reasonable price, if one takes a chance with smaller or lesser known artists. There is talent out there, as this gig confirmed once again.