Tonight, the old-fashioned theatre sign outside Camden’s favourite basement venue The Underworld is lit up by the words ‘Fearless Vampire Killers’. With a queue that spirals around the block for a 500-capacity venue, it just goes to show how dedicated the FVK fanbase really is.
With most of the crowd fanning themselves before the band even enter stage, it’s going to be a sweaty night – as Fearless Vampire Killers walk out in their trademark smudged eyeliner and launch into opening track ‘Neon in the Dancehalls’ the temperature reaches boiling point. It’s hard to tell whose energy is higher tonight, the band or the crowd, as the guys smash through high-speed songs such as ‘Batten Down the Hatches’ and ‘Bow Ties on Dead Guys’ one after another.
Taking a quick break only to let the crowd decide the next tune, they push on into one of the punchiest songs from their latest album Unbreakable Hearts, ‘Exploding Heart Disorder’, which encourages so many fists in their air it’s a surprise no-one gets a black eye. A moment of calm washes over the room, however, when Kier Kemp steps out from the darkness to perform heart-wrenching ballad ‘Brave the Night’ alongside Luke Illingworth, who comes out from behind his usual place behind the drums to play keyboard, and Drew Woolnough, who puts down his bass guitar in favour of performing delicate vocal harmonies. It’s a beautiful performance that has the crowd almost stunned into silence.
That doesn’t last long – theatrical frontman Laurence Beveridge returns for the band to perform a surprising new track ‘In Wondrous Rage’ which gets absolutely everyone moving with its irresistible upbeat riff. The feel-good vibe keeps on coming with the pop melody of latest single ‘Maeby’ and serious fan favourite ‘Could We Burn, Darling?’ – new and old both get just as emphatic a reaction, showing how the fans have truly taken a shine to the new material.
‘Unbreakable Hearts’ has almost become an FVK anthem symbolic of the bond between them and their fans, which is something seriously special. Not many bands connect with their fanbase on such a personal level and, as the crowd sing along at the top of their lungs and grasp at the band’s outstretched hands, this band-fan connection truly is ‘unbreakable’. There’s one last chance for everyone to pour out their passion with final song ‘City Falls to Dust’, an exquisite ballad that translates the emotive finale of their latest album into the live arena perfectly.
They return for an encore of ‘At War With the Thirst’ – an oldie, but a goodie. By the time the band have finished singing their hearts out, every single person in the room is dripping with sweat and dying for just one more song. Unfortunately their wishes don’t come true as the band bid us farewell, but not without giving absolutely everything they’ve got.
Always leave them wanting more, right? Well, Fearless Vampire Killers have certainly done that tonight!