Failsafe – Manchester Roadhouse

By Andy

I saw the best bands of my generation destroyed by complacency and ignorance, and simply despaired. Tonight Failsafe played a hometown gig to a crowd that didn’t go crazy, didn’t sing along to every melodic vowel and didn’t beg for more. The crowd consisted of friends and family rather than young minds desperate for something more than the disgusting shit they are fed by virtually every ‘media outlet’ with an agenda, and the response to a selection of truly astonishing songs played with enough ferocity to scare Ted Kaczynski into buying a CD player was enthusiastic, but not as fevered as Failsafe deserved.

Opening with ‘Fire At Will’, Failsafe looked hungry. When they have a repertoire as strong as they do after only one album (oh you five-albums-before-you-get-good dinosaurs, weep for yourselves), they can already construct mature, measured sets. Balancing favourites like ‘Unity in Progress’ (which, horrifically, got a better response in Manchester than it did in their hometown) and the ever-astonishing closer ‘Cut To The Chase’ with new songs that, without a trace of hyperbole, bring hope that the world is not empty and dead. Both ‘Without Warning’ and an unnamed anthem, possessing a bassline that throbs so much it could give a eunuch the horn, suggest that all Failsafe need to do is realise their own potential, stop accepting such a shit deal from the UK punk scene and assume their position on top of the planet. These guys can write songs that are both intricate and head-smackingly simple and watching them belt it out live is one of life’s true pleasures.

Coruscating riffs bounce off each other, combining to create a gut-punch of emotion so strong that the air moves not because they’re playing loud but because everyone present breathes in at the exact same moment. The band jerk and crash around onstage, looking like they’re discovering music anew with each new song. By the first chorus of the second song sweat runs off them in buckets as they strip themselves of all context and simply rock the living fuck out.

Failsafe come from a shit part of a shit country. Even when dealing with a handicap like this, they irrefutably remain one of the most exciting bands around right now. Listening to their music live is like being told that life is not a waste, that as long as five young northerners can make music as inherently beautiful as this, and play it with such romance and passion, there is something to stand up for.

(Not at the Roadhouse, at 53 Degrees, Preston)