Fightstar have been going for five years. FIVE! That’s probably longer than the career length of everyone in the current charts put together. Five years is a lifetime in today’s music industry. It makes them grandparents. It makes them veterans. It makes me feel old, because Charlie Simpson was only born a few months before I was, but that’s beside the point.

The point is, I’m now watching Fightstar in the Academy, and they are amazing. Feeder’s name are above the door and they are probably the reason most people paid the £22.50 ticket price to get here, but those people are now seeing a band who by rights shouldn’t be supporting anyone any more. Fightstar walk on stage and let first track ‘Floods’ do the talking for them. It’s a brilliant way to open the show – a classic song for the Fightstar fans, a melodic ease into the music for the Feeder contingent. Guitarist Alex Westaway provides a vocal which complements both the song and Charlie’s voice – all together, it works perfectly.

Speaking to the band before the gig, they were convinced that about 30 people there would be there to see them, but this is either a massive false modesty ploy on their part, or they genuinely underestimate the amount of people who would turn out for them. From where I was standing, everyone was really into Fightstar, albeit from behind the constraints of their newly purchased Feeder T-shirts.

New single 'The English Way' is a departure from the more usual Fightstar fare. The inclusion of a choir gives the song an amazing atmospheric feeling, without removing anything from the harder chorus. It’s a more mature, considered sound, and has managed to score them their first inclusion on the Radio 1 playlist.

As Charlie predicted beforehand, 'Palahniuk’s Laughter' gets the best response, but I’m betting it’s not just because this is their best known offering. It’s brilliant live, sounding grand yet understated, and, if the band are bored after playing it for all these years, it doesn’t show one bit. Charlie grows as the song does, and the band seem completely together within the rise and fall of the music.

As I heard one girl say on her way out for a cigarette, “What am I going to do now Fightstar have been on ? Might as well go home, I only came for them”. There can’t be many more occasions when this band will play second fiddle to the likes of Feeder, who, although they were heading the field half a dozen plus years ago, are now less cutting edge than the Killers and Razorlight. Fightstar are a much better band than any of these – they have a better sound. They are growing with time and they’re grossly under rated as a credible act.

In the end, I took that girl’s advice. Feeder, to put it bluntly, were dull. The lack of energy surrounding them was exhausting, so I upped and left in favour of a chip shop. Say what you will about Fightstar – I would never choose a cod over them. Fact.


The photographs that accompany this article were taken exclusively for Pennyblackmusic by Katie Anderson.

















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