Hammerfest 2015: Farhan & October File
After the symphonic, demonised bludgeoning courtesy of Hecate Enthroned over on the Hammerfest stage, Nottingham hard rock quartet Fahran treated me to a performance on a different end of the spectrum. But it was a set that, bristling with energy, frontman Matt Black a confident and attention drawing figure, went down a treat.
In full command of their instruments, stage and audience, they produce a set of punchy sleaze rock. Black’s vocals come off a little a bit Vince Neal at times, with that sort of typically whiny glam rock approach, but the crowd lap it up. With booze now starting to flow reverently through my system by this point, I too am pulled along for the ride. You see, this is a fun band, you can’t help but tap your foot, enjoy the performance and move your arse and that’s exactly what this type of music is about.
Jake Graham’s lead guitar work pulls out the stops, his wah pedal getting a battering, and their set flies by. Where Hecate Enthroned had appeared to lack guile in their musicianship and execution, by contrast Fahran are in cruise control, their talent oozing out with smiles slapped across their faces. Those of the audience are reflections of just that.
For me, the Oxfordshire wrecking crew are champions of the Thursday night. They just have that something about them, from their singer's aggressive yet crystal clear vocals to Mark Lerwill’s killer riffs which are anchored in heaviness but catchier than crabs in a cheap Dutch brothel.
The songs may be light on solos but by the time they do indeed start to chime in you realise they don't even need them. Their songs are so strong and so excellently written that they don't particularly need to rely on lead guitar masturbation - of which I am a shamelessly massive fan - to pull a set like this out of the bag. The fact they have that other dimension to their compelling sound only strengthens their grip on tonight’s throne. They walk off stage triumphantly and I go off for another pint.
Words: Phil Weller | Photos: Phil Goddard