There’s something special happening in the upstairs of Sheffield’s Corporation tonight. FVK’s Bruises tour has arrived in the city, showcasing the best in underrated talent in the alternative music scene. It’s also the night, where FVK show off just how far they have come since embracing straight-up rock and taking a break from their conceptual world of Grandomina for a while.
Up first are Miss Vincent- unmistakably similar to FVK in their onstage vigour and sound, this is never a bad thing. Deadlock is rife with sharp, punky riffs and MV are carried away by the rhythms, seemingly un-phased by the primarily static crowd. This is not to bear any reflection on them- their live performance is tight, their energy unwavering and it’s easy to see why FVK are such fans of theirs. “Okay Sheffield, we’re friends now aren’t we!?” Yelled frontman Alex Marshall, attempting to entice the crowd into a little more movement before they begin Disperate Desperate, amid pensive guitars and a massive chorus featuring some irresistible choral singing. In the writing process of some more music, MV have a new song for everyone’s ears tonight. Entitled Lost and Forgotten, it is an extremely promising hard-rock track and sounds, live at least, not unlike early Young Guns. Ending their set with You Can’t Spell Blame Without ME, Miss Vincent should definitely rest assured that they’ve gained themselves a fair few new fans tonight.Scottish band Vukovi are next- who have a different kind of energy that seems to centre around and stem from frontwoman Janine Shilstone, spinning around and jumping all over the stage, she treats their show like her own party- and her voice never falters once despite all the moving around she’s doing. Gutless is a punchy affair that gets the crowd bouncing a little more- which is suitably fitting as they reach the more recently released Bouncy Castle, which has a very light, indie feel to it, keeping the atmosphere bright. Target has a little more grit about it, which seems to step their show up a notch as they find their groove. Following this, their heaviest song yet Boy George finally sees everyone getting down and in the mood for some slightly darker music.
Beginning their set with the ever-popular Say What You Want From Me, it almost feels like FVK have gotten off to a shaky start. Perhaps it’s the size of the slightly too small stage, or maybe it’s something else, however regardless, it definitely does not last very long. Braindead is a bass-y affair with a pop-fuelled chorus that can’t be ignored, followed seamlessly by Neon In The Dance Halls which is never anything less than a bona-fide anthem. Old songs, new songs, everything is generating the same reaction from tonight’s crowd who are loving every minute no matter what. After the band have gotten into the swing of things, there is a noticeable renewed passion in their performance- almost as if they’re rejuvenated in confidence for themselves.During Like Bruises, frontman Laurence’s mic fails, but this is barely even noticeable as the crowd bellow out the chorus- in fact it’s possible that most of the audience really didn’t notice at all. “It’s kind of like Queen, just not quite as good!” Jokes co-frontman Kier, before Feel Alive. It’s during this that something becomes clear- FVK’s new EP Bruises (which they’re playing in full on this tour) sounds nothing short of incredible live. Not only this, but its heavy, sharp and it may be the best this band have EVER sounded live, all while still sounding unarguably like the old FVK the fans know and love. The slightly slower, lower tones of Stepping Stones add some dynamics to the set, while Regret feels like a staple FVK tune already- the angry build to the chorus is a powerful moment and it’s a relief that they don’t underplay it in comparison to the recorded version. After asking who owns their first album, Kier adds “whoever just shouted ‘shit!’ isn’t going to like the next song!” A chide that segues into Bowties On Dead Guys, much to the utter delight of the first few rows especially. The reception for Could We Burn Darling is all much of a muchness, and rightly so as it’s enchantingly dark with a chorus that ensures there’s not a still pair of feet in the room. All Hallows Evil seems to go up a level each show, and tonight it’s bigger and more chirpily lugubrious than ever.After a brief break, FVK return to the stage, as drummer Luke grabs the mic. “I’m gonna sing this one! Kier you’re on the drums!” he exclaimed as Kier took to the drums and treated everyone to a little rattle around the kit. When everyone’s back in their usual role, Maeby slays its moment and the repeating riffs give the band their own fanfare before they leave the stage. While FVK have always been masters of their craft- concept albums are no mean feat and this band executed two of them, pulling them off with ease- it is still clear that a break from the world of Grandomina and their conceptual head-space has done them a world of good. Sharper, brighter, heavier and more passionate and sounding better than ever, things have never looked so good for FVK.
Photos by Erin Moore at Forte Photography UK