With a great reputation and a lot to live up to, Funeral for a Friend returned to Manchester on Friday night.
Supporting their latest record Welcome Home Armageddon, plus brand new E.P. See You All In Hell, the setlist leaned heavily towards this year's new material, but still left room for the fan-favourites.
Kicking off with 'Front Row Seats To The End of The World', Funeral for a Friend put on their typically energetic, powerful and raw rock show.
It became clear throughout the set that vocalist Matt Davies was struggling, particularly during 'Into Oblivion (Reunion)', during which the singer cut a lot of notes short and looked irritated.
He was honest with the crowd, noting that he wasn't going to lie to us - he wasn't at 100%, and his throat wasn't "behaving".
Despite leading the crowd into a motivational "F*** You Throat!", the problems did persist, and it seems the set was cut short after an hour and fifteen minutes.
Regardless of the vocal issues, Davies and the band still put on a spirited performance, particularly on older tracks like 'This Year's Most Open Heartbreak' and 'Bullet Theory'.
The roughness of Davies' voice almost added to the quality of the show, giving it an intimacy and passion it may have otherwise lacked in a relatively large venue.
Any doubts that Funeral For A Friend would keep their energy in such a large space were completely laid to rest early on, and the crowd more than played their part to make the evening special.
One stand-out moment saw Davies directing traffic. After spotting a fan being held up by a few friends, he ordered the crowd to open up a circle pit around the fan - insane, yes, but it provided an exciting visual.
The vocalist was uncharacteristically somber before 'Roses For The Dead', admitting that it's always hard to talk about death at a rock show, and that the song was the only way he'd been able to do it.
Despite the heaviness of the song, it made its lyrics and tone really stand out, creating a surprisingly beautiful moment.
As much as Davies will be the talking point of the show, the rest of the band more than played their part.
Ryan Richards was raw as ever with his aggressive vocals, whilst Rich Boucher has settled in well as the band's new bassist following the departure of Darran Smith.
This move has meant that Gavin Burrough has joined Kris Coombs-Roberts on guitar duties, a role he thrived on in this live environment.
Highlighted by performances of new single 'High Castles' and old favourite 'History', the show came to a close with 'Juneau' and 'Escape Artists Never Die'.
As Davies remarked that Manchester never disappoints, the same can certainly be send for Funeral For A Friend.
Over the last decade they've become one of the UK's best rock acts, and continue to put on a great live show, despite any challenges thrown their way.
Keep checking back this week for our interview with Kris and Ryan, plus our review of the band's new EP See You All In Hell.
Female First - Alistair McGeorge