Fearless Vampire Killers – Live At Cockpit, Leeds

Having watched a couple of their videos online and read the odd review it seemed that Fearless Vampire Killers were both receiving a range of reviews and creating a range of music, this was going to be an interesting one. In the more intimate (sweaty) surroundings of Cockpit Room 2 the small crowd was slowly growing but it was clear that Fearless Vampire Killers were still going to have to produce something fairly special to get the crowd anything like excited before the headliners, Madina Lake, took to the stage for their farewell tour.
The band set to with a frontman I didn’t recognise from the videos (Laurence Beveridge) but who produced a great variety of songs, demonstrating the bands ability to vary their approach. I would say the first few songs were more melodic than what I might have expected from a band like this and the crowd certainly seemed to respond by getting into the music and singing along. As ever, smaller bands tend to attract a hardcore following but FVK genuinely had the room going at several points, me included. A totally unexpected cover of Phil Collins’ Easy Lover was well received as was the bands own material such as Hang Low.

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Not far into the set there was a frontman change to the more familiar face of Kier Kemp and the mood got a little darker, the music heavier and the crowd, after a small dip, a lot livelier. ‘Could We Burn Darling’ set the place alight and as the room filled up, the band really began to build an atmosphere and presence that had seemed at first almost nervy. This all came to a head with a fantastic rendition of their new single All Hallows Evil which has already been an online hit. Certainly FVK did not throw themselves around the stage as much as some bands I have seen but it was nice to note they focussed instead on the music they were playing and getting the technicalities of what was sometimes a complex and challenging set right.

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FVK have received great critical acclaim in many magazines including being nominated for two Kerrang awards in consecutive years and headlining the Red Bull stage at Download festival 2013. Having had the pleasure to meet frontman Kemp after the gig, it was the unashamed passion of the band which really shines through both on and off stage. Their unique approach which stretches to a 334-page book giving a background story to much of their music is a unique example of this and comparisons to MCR and Panic! at the Disco are more superficial than meaningful. FVK have created new sounds, new literature and dare I say it, a new genre which mixes everything from SteamPunk to metal in one, waistcoat-clad package. Long may it continue!

John Linkins

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