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Added by James Gaden     May 31, 2010    
 
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FM – The Roadhouse, London – 7th February 2010

This was a bit of a weird one, not least because it was an album launch party for an album that wasn’t ready on the day, but also because it was at an American-themed Covent Garden club that hasn’t been associated with rock gigs for a long, long time. The evening started with an acoustic set from James Ralphs, son of Mott The Hoople/Bad Company guitarist Mick Ralphs, and from what I could hear through the chattering of FM fans he sounded OK but nothing more. I actually felt a bit sorry for him because I don’t recall ever seeing an artist given less attention.
After what seemed like an age FM ambled on and kicked into the familiar strains of the best known song from the forthcoming ‘Metropolis’ opus, the gritty rocker ‘Wildside’. Guitarist Jim Kirkpatrick seems to have settled into the band nicely and his solos on the opening song are fast becoming a highlight of the set, and whilst ‘Wildside’ does the job of getting the crowd in the mood, it’s ‘Face To Face’ and ‘That Girl’, delivered in tandem, that really get the party started. Having seen all the FM shows since the comeback at Firefest IV it’s amazing how relaxed they are after so long away, the jovial Steve Overland thanking everyone for coming whilst Pete Jupp, Merv Goldsworthy and Jem Davis all grin from their respective places on the cramped stage.
The band continue with another crowd pleaser, ‘Tough It Out’s ‘Don’t Stop’, before hitting us with a succession of tracks from the new album. Unfortunately something goes wrong during the ‘Metropolis’ opening and they start it again, but if ‘Over You’ and ‘Flamingo Road’ are anything to go by then the album will be a cracker. From that point it’s back to the classics with big crowd singalongs for the likes of ‘Blood And Gasoline’, ‘Only The Strong Survive’ and ‘Burning My Heart Down’. The recently recorded long-time stage favourite ‘Dangerous’ is suitably brilliant but personally I think ‘Hard Day In Hell’, with its sax solo, brings the set down a bit and I could do without ‘Heard It On The Grapevine’ as a set closer too, despite the fact that the rest of the room obviously love it.
With the job done they return for a three-pronged encore that not only includes ‘Frozen Heart’ (new trousers for Mr. Ling please!) and ‘Bad Luck’, but also the appearance of Mr. Ralphs Snr. for a great version of ‘Feels Like Makin’ Love’. Steve Overland put in probably his best vocal performance since the reformation and the crowd (which included Leigh Matty, Doogie White and Fastway sans Toby Jepson) greeted the bands first London show for many eons with thunderous applause.
Phil Ashcroft
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