Camp HRH, March 10 2017

FM have made the main stage their own at Camp HRH and expectations are sky high every time these bastions of British melodic rock step up to the plate. That Steve Overland and co. always meet – and generally exceed – those expectations is just one of the reasons why there’ll always be a home for the power ballad kings in Pwllheli.

Celebrating the 10th anniversary of their second coming, this rapid-fire run through of FM’s greatest hits had the feel of a headline set. No filler and all killer, it oozed class with choice cuts spanning four decades.

Like a fine whisky, FM simply get better with age. Perhaps technology has finally caught up with a band that always placed a huge emphasis on pin sharp studio production – the quintet’s live shows never sounded better. Maybe Overland has subtly manipulated his pipes to better complement ‘new boy’ Jim Kirkpatrick’s signature guitar tone. Or it could be a simple case of ‘practice makes perfect’ for a band that just loves being out on the road.

Life Is A Highway for FM and it’s little wonder. Demand for their gigs is at an all-time high and for very good reason: nobody does the melodic rock show better. Young pretenders Vega might have been snapping at FM’s heels for some time – and regular touring buddies Romeo’s Daughter are in equally feisty form – but the Londoners always find a way of upping their game and staying ahead of the chasing pack.

Bad Luck and That Girl are gold standard anthems for fans of truly affecting AOR but gritty opener Digging Up The Dirt – from 2015’s Heroes And Villains – offered a timely reminder that it’s well worth revisiting a powerful post-2007 back catalogue. FM might have celebrated three decades of Indiscreet last year but trading on their past has never been an option: as comeback album Metropolis proved, the future is where Overland co. belong.

That’s when they’re not among familiar faces and long-time friends at their favourite indoor festival.

Setlist

Digging Up the Dirt

I Belong to the Night

Life Is a Highway

Let Love Be the Leader

Someday (You’ll Come Running)

Love Lies Dying

Bad Luck

That Girl

Burning My Heart Down

Other Side of Midnight