FM Holmfirth 2021

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FM may not be the most dangerous Rock 'n' Roll band in the world, but in terms of reliability they are one of the best

FM
Holmfirth: Picturedrome – 26 November 2021

In these uncertain times, it's nice to get back to something that never changes, and that's the quality of an FM live show.

The inability of my Lancashire friends to read a Sat-Nav meant that we didn't make it into the venue to capture the support band Gorilla Riot; deciding instead to catch up after nearly two years without seeing one another in the pub next door. From a few friends I spoke to who did see the aforementioned Gorilla Riot, they reported that their brand of Blues Rock went down very well with the FM faithful (sorry guys, hopefully catch you next time).

When we finally did enter the superb Picturedrome, we were surprised to see it only three-quarters full. Pre-COVID, there's no doubting this gig would have sold out well in advance of the evening. On the plus side, it meant that the audience could stand approximately half a metre from one another (there's still obviously a nervousness of many to be in large crowds). Fortunately, there were more than enough of us to generate a great atmosphere, not lost on the band themselves, who always appear to be enjoying themselves playing live.

As has been the way in recent years, FM kick off the show with the opening track from the most recent album; in this case the title-track from 2020's 'Synchronized' release, which they never got the opportunity to promote. Their previous tour, pre-lockdown, was the thirtieth anniversary tour of 'Tough It Out'; now, whilst I love that opus and subsequent show, it was great to get back to a setlist that mixed the eighties classics with the new(er) material. It's the former that naturally get the greatest reaction and first up this evening was 'I Belong To The Night', making it evident that most in attendance were not seeing the mighty FM for the first time. 'Bad Luck' kept up the momentum, as did a welcome return of 'Face To Face' (brought back at the fans' request). 'Superstar', from the latest studio album, slotted in perfectly, although wasn't quite as slick due to the fact that it's only ever been played a handful of times live.

Steve "The Voice" Overland introduced the Eric Martin cover 'Everytime I Think Of You' as a song they hadn't played much over the years due to his difficulty in singing it; however, as usual, he made it seem effortless. I'm pleased that 'Dangerous' (my all-time favourite FM song) has been resurrected as a staple to the set and it was as awesome as always this evening.

The sound was superb with a brilliant mix, although "Stiv" did have a couple of issues with his mic cutting out, but these were quickly resolved and proved, without a shadow of a doubt, that his vocals were all live and no backing tapes (not that anyone ever suspected otherwise).

Unlike most live shows you go to there are no dull spots in an FM set (even Pete Jupp's drum solo is kept to less than twenty seconds), but it certainly does go into overdrive with the back-to-back classics of the quintessential AOR of 'That Girl' and the title-track of their 1989 sophomore release 'Tough It Out'.

Two songs from the twenty-first century 'Crosstown Train' and 'Killed By Love' brought the main set to a close just shy of the ninety-minute mark, the band briefly leaving the stage before returning for a two-song encore of the eighties AOR classics 'Frozen Heart' and 'Other Side Of Midnight'. The latter included Jem Davis on keytar (new Millennials please check YouTube) and the usual four-in-a-row Quo pose, which always brings a smile to my face.

Steve Overland (rhythm guitars & vocals), Merv Goldsworthy (bass), Pete Jupp (drums), Jem Davis (keyboards) and Jim Kirkpatrick (lead guitar) took their collective bows to a deserved rapturous ovation by the partisan crowd, none of whom had left early despite the deteriorating weather in the area (a few hours later we were under several inches of snow).

FM may not be the most dangerous Rock 'n' Roll band in the world, but in terms of reliability they are one of the best, and always guaranteed to leave you with a warm, fuzzy feeling; the reason I've seen them live more than any other band.
Mark Donnelly

Setlist:- Synchronized / I Belong To The Night / Bad Luck / Face To Face / Superstar / Let Love Be The Leader / Wildside / Everytime I Think Of You / Dangerous / Life Is. A Highway / Metropolis / Over You / That Girl / Tough It Out / Crosstown Train / Killed By Love

Encore: Frozen Heart / Other Side Of Midnight

Mark Donnelly

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