Published Jun 13, 2010Few bands run the musical spectrum as easily as Sunderland, England's Futureheads. With sublime craftsmanship and lush melodies, they seem like outright pop. Yet their riled distortion and hyperactive undertones are clearly culled from a punk rock sensibility.
Looking at them only confuses things further: a Buddy Holly-glasses-sporting music nerd, a guy running dangerously close to something out of the Crowded House-era '80s, a potential mod and an indie geek. The Futureheads are almost impossible to peg.
However, once the bold, energetic quartet jumped into their hour-and-a-half set for an ample Toronto crowd, nobody really gave a shit. The Futureheads were simply too powerful, tight and refined for anyone to care about where to slot them in a snooty record store. Everyone just wanted to keep hearing more of their sugary melodies propelled by adrenaline-pumping ardency.
Animated and enthused, the band were clearly living in the moment. Surprisingly raucous live while still rich with discernible melodies, the Futureheads touched on each of their four full-lengths, treating fans to spotless renditions of everything from "Decent Days and Nights" off their eponymous debut to the title-track from their latest album, The Chaos. In fact, kudos to the evening's audio person. Despite typically stellar acoustics, Mod Club has never provided such crystal-clear sound while a band tears pages out of their storied catalogue.
At that, clearly inspired by their voluminous audience cheering for more, the Futureheads seemed determined on keeping the night from ending. Extending the obligatory encore to the point of exhaustion, festivities devolved to the point where, out of ideas, front-man Barry Hide started taking suggestions from boisterous fans. Still, even that particular gesture seemed as personable, spirited and genuine as every other moment of the set.
Although you may not be able to peg them in terms of genre, it matters little. As this night proved, the Futureheads are in a class all of their own.