The sheer magnitude of loyalty in the Fearless Vampire Killers’ fan base has been staggering over the past eight years, this much has never been called into question. But back in late July, when a farewell show at The Underworld to commemorate the work and to say goodbye to FVK was announced, tickets sold out within days. A dream come true, in another life. So ever the professionals and truest gentlemen in such difficult circumstances, they did the unthinkable to ensure their fans would get the chance to see them live: FVK decided to play two shows in one day.
Joining as supporting acts were the band’s good friends Ashestoangels and Zoax, both completely zany and took the time to thank their brothers in FVK for all the support they’d given them in the past. They brought their own sparkling light to what could easily have been a sombre occasion.
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Admittedly, the entrance onstage saw FVK less than their usual energetic selves, but given the situation, this was more than acceptable. Vocalist Laurence Beveridge took the wheel with heavy track ‘At War with the Thirst’ with a twist outro, courtesy of a cheeky riff from ‘Batten Down the Hatches’. This saw guitarist Shane Sumner starting the night as he meant to go on, by shredding more riffs than one ribcage can bear. A more bouncy tone brought the room to life as ‘Neon in the Dancehalls’ lived wholeheartedly up to its name. Then it was the turn of co-vocalist Kier Kemp with ‘Braindead’ and ‘Bite Down on my Winchester’ before handing the baton back to Beveridge.
It seemed that the boys were determined to play a song from each record, which the audience did not mind, leading onto a stellar choice from EP Exposition: The Five Before the Flames: ‘P-Train’. ‘Like Bruises’ and ‘Palace in Flames’ swiftly followed before reverting back to Kemp for ‘Say What You Want From Me’.
Taking a moment to dedicate the next track to the late Steve Dillon, friend and unofficial sixth member of FVK, Kemp’s softer tones were beautiful in ‘Regret’. The collective collision of voices in ‘All Hallows Evil’ saw Beveridge and Kemp in complete harmony, the perfect complement of gravelly and smoky vocals, cementing this as one of their best-known tracks. Before departing for a brief moment, Beveridge effortlessly wowed with the heavily relevant song from final EP ‘Aging Love’ painting a haunting story with his lyrics.
An impromptu switch between instruments would strangely turn out to be a highlight of the evening, just prior to the encore. The multi-talented bassist Drew Woolnough on drums and drummer Luke Illingworth completely rocking the bass in a strange parallel universe, as they played the familiar opening to White Stripes’ ‘Seven Nation Army’. The sheer happiness on their faces was wonderful to see and this little segway was loved by all.
A last performance from Kemp consisted of a perfect mash-up, which saw us journey deep into the caverns of the FVK back catalogue and bringing ‘Don Tereiesto’ back to life with epic classic ‘Bow Ties on Dead Guys’. Beveridge took the wheel with the finale, inviting former bassist Matthew Jones to the stage to help with ‘City Falls to Dust’. A heart warming speech toasting the late Dillon once again was touching beyond belief, as he urged everyone to appreciate life while you can. In the most eloquent way, Beveridge also took a second to thank the fans, to whom FVK were indebted to: “No one fucking wanted us to be alive, but you guys kept us alive”. Glancing around the room, there was no person without at least one tear rolling down their face as reality dawned on everyone: This was it.
A lone voice echoing from the audience, paraphrasing a line from the last ever song FVK would ever play summed up everyone’s thoughts perfectly: “you’ll be here in our blood until the day we die”. For a band in the darkest hour of their existence, they have continued to do the impossible, the most noble of gestures by bringing a smile, albeit many tears, to the faces of hundreds for one last time. And for this, among countless other reasons, we thank FVK for the past eight years and wish them well with their future endeavours.