Photos by Veronika Moore

Today marks the release of The Futureheads fifth studio album Rant, which sees the band take a slight change of direction as they take on the a cappella genre. Today also brings the opening night of the tour and it's going to be a new experience for their strong fan base, I'm sure many wondering how they're going to pull this off - especially when the band are known for their lively sets filled with jostling kids bouncing off each other.


I however had already experienced the bands delve into this genre at a festival the previous year, where the band downed their instruments and explained that they'd been making an a cappella album. I'm not sure that half the drunken crowd could quite believe their ears when the 'Heads burst into barbershop quartet versions of their own songs, but it was bizarrely fantastic and I'd been hanging on since for the announcement of the album.


It's a very civilised affair tonight at Brightons Komedia as the gig takes place in the downstairs room normally held for the venues comedy nights, a room full of long wooden benches on multi-level platforms. Such the type of venue where the band have to walk through the crowd in order to reach the stage, and the applause had already begun before they'd set up and opened their set with 'Beeswing' and 'The Keeper'. Though it would have been understandable for the band to band to be a tad nervous, The Futureheads very quickly eased into this new setup, as they "risk everything for this a cappella madness" (or so they tell us).


Futureheads also play a number of acoustic songs including reworkings of 'Decent Days and Nights' and 'News and Tributes', bringing on a cello and banjo it felt like a very northern Mumford and Sons, or Mackem and Sons in this case.. "I know what you're thinking" Ross tells us, "where did it all go right for us?". The band are their usual banter- full self and the crowd literally laugh at anything they have to say, especially when the band try and teach the audience the chorus to 'Old Dun Cow' with shouts of "Macintyre!" and banging on tables i'm sure there were more laughs tonight than at some of the actual comedy shows held here.


Support band The Cornshed Sisters returned to stage to join in on 'Summer Is Ichumen In' and Sparks cover 'The No.1 Song in Heaven', the layers of complexity in harmonisation and repeating melodies increase greatly but The Futureheads don't falter. This a cappella business seems more than just an idea done on a whim; this is something they are very, very good at and have taken to what appears to be very naturally. And it's not just myself that is impressed, as the band leave for their encore the audience go mental for a return, cheering and stamping so loudly it's impossible to hear the venue music begin playing in the background.


Of course 'Hounds of Love' brings the evening to a close, with the audience showing they are not so hot at keeping in time with the syncopated rhythm of claps and clicks, but I think it's safe to say the entire crowd absolutely loved what they are seeing and hearing tonight. I really hope The Futureheads get the same fantastic response on the rest of their tour as they have done in Brighton, and if you get the chance to see them performing a cappella live then I implore you to do so. Yes, it's very different from their usual sweaty bouncy gigs, but it's no less enjoyable, you'll probably find yourself loving it.