It’s not often a gig ticket can make you rich rather than cost you money.
But tonight we are here in Chester, brandishing a scratch-card to gain entry to the Live Rooms.
It’s part of the Revive Live initiative from the National Lottery, set up in order to promote the return of live music at the smaller venues of the UK, so anyone buying a full price ticket can bring a plus-one for free, as long as they have some proof of lottery participation.
Which is a great scheme, as long as you’ve got the bigger bands on board.
And it’s a corker of a big band they’ve got involved this evening.
The Futureheads are a band that we first saw live just after the release of their self-titled debut album all the way back in 2004, and the last time we saw them was at Manchester Ritz just before Xmas 2019, playing the aforementioned fantastic first record in full, so this is our first chance to hear some tracks from their comeback album, Powers.
At 9.45 (well past my usual pandemic bedtime) the lights go down and the Sunderland four-piece emerge to an enthusiastic welcome.
The opening drumbeats of 2006’s Yes/No kick in and we are off on a guitar laden-nostalgia trip, alongside a handful of the new tracks, of which Jekyll, Good Night Out and a shouty, vibrant Across The Border are the highlights.
There’s a running joke throughout the night about bassist Jaff being obscured by an errant speaker due to the unusual shape of the stage layout, but this doesn’t dull the mood either on or offstage.
The horrific nuclear war film of the 1980s, Threads (one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen) gets a mention as the inspiration for Fallout, one of the more “mellow” songs of the evening.
As the night goes on, and the great songs keep coming one by one, it makes us realise how much we’d missed a band of such stature in their natural live habitat.
It would be quite easy to compile an alternative setlist of the songs that didn’t get an airing this evening, all of which would have been as high quality as what was played over the hour and fifteen minutes they were on.
It looks like the few years when they weren’t an active band has done them the world of good, as they attack the songs with a new found vigour.
Judging by the reaction to their biggest single and main set closer, their cover of Kate Bush‘s Hounds Of Love, this may be a controversial opinion that I am in the minority of one in holding, but it’s a shame that this is the song that has become their calling card of recognition, as there is so much more to them than this, so many finer tracks.
The encore is two of them, The Beginning Of The Twist and the song that ends both their debut album and this evening, the blistering Man Ray.
A glorious evening, not even spoilt by winning not a penny on that scratch-card.