Where: Underworld, London
Goth-punk quintet FVK, or Fearless Vampire Killers, are over. Their untimely death came as a juggernaut to not only the fans but the band as well, and it’s been a rocky road for everyone since the shock split. But still, this band owe everything to their loyal fanbase and they simply had to say goodbye, so came this, their final farewell show in Camden’s Underworld.
We could bang on about tonight’s show for hours, but let’s wrap it up fairly quickly because, to be frank, tonight is only a minuscule dot on this band’s whirlwind lifespan, and they amount to much more than the technicalities of just this final show. Cherry picking the best of the best from past albums and EPs, FVK try their utmost to nod to every aspect of themselves with tonight’s setlist. The band never waver, from extreme emotional outpourings to larger-than-life performance, and they allow knowing this will be their last performance to spur them on rather than bring them down. It’s been difficult for members over the past few months but, despite the odd hesitant comment or uncertain look, they make it clear that their relationships as bandmates and friends has bonded them in a way that can never truly be broken.
So that’s that.
But there’s much more about the loss of FVK that needs to be said outside of just tonight.
FVK might not have sold out arenas or topped charts, but what they achieved in their underground bubble was always ahead of the game. Not only did they create imaginative, conceptual albums, tour the world and design their own beautiful, wacky merchandise, but they went above and beyond; they created their own social network, wrote novels based around their albums, and even hosted their own music festival. The fans were their life force, supporting and defending them fiercely with their adoring, tight-knit community and, without them, this band could never have survived. In return FVK gave back endlessly, and the bond between them and those who loved them was genuine, remarkable and unbreakable.
Tonight, thanks to the spectacular timing of it being Halloween weekend, we see costumes from vampires to skeletons to zombie brides; it’s a right mixed bag, and that is a perfect reflection of the band themselves. FVK’s music was a real experiment, throwing almost everything from rebellious punk to melodic ballads and anthemic alt-rock into their records and producing deliciously creative treats at the end. They had imagination, being unafraid to play around with not only musicality but also concepts, narratives and theatricality, and through that they created their own weird and wonderful world in which one could truly indulge. You could never say that FVK, with their unique flare and bold, outside-the-box originality, were “just like any other band”; they were a law unto themselves, and a refreshing one at that.
Maybe they weren’t everyone’s cup of tea. Maybe they never quite cracked the mainstream. But being loved by everyone is boring; being controversial is what gives the outsiders their place in this world. And there’s nothing wrong with being an outsider.