Like so much else on this site, you can essentially thank Thin Lizzy. It was when we turned up to see them a few years back – if memory serves it was the last tour before they became Black Star Riders – that FM were the opening act. It was precisely that moment, at Rock City, Nottingham on a Sunday night where it became clear that FM were very, very special.
One of the hardest working bands around, since their reformation getting on for a decade ago, they’ve barely been off the road and rarely out of the studio. Both of those things are neatly brought together by the fact that tonight they are in Stourbridge to celebrate the release of their new “Atomic Generation” record. A classy triumph, it is everything you’d expect from the band on so many levels, not least, they totally understand that to remain viable you can’t just trot out the same old stuff, you have to freshen up the act.
It is probably for this reason that their set tonight starts with a new track. “Black Magic” like on the record, performs opening duties, it is only joined by one other – the next single “Killed By Love”, which kicks in with the seemingly effortless radio hit formula that they always seem to find – and it will be interesting to see how that evolves once the record has been out a while.
The rest, broadly sticks to the script – but also they’ve rifled through their vaults for the odd surprise like “Someday (You’ll Come Running)”, which singer Steve Overland admits he’d rather not play – which means that although “I Belong To The Night” thumps out and “Let Love Be The Leader” has that natty line in Thin Lizzy twin guitars it does, there’s a triple shot of the “Aphrodisiac” record one after the other, with “Blood And Gasoline” and the even better “All Or Nothing” standing out.
But the thing about FM is quite simple. Like that bit in Only Fools And Horses when Del Boy falls through the bar, just because you know what’s coming doesn’t stop it being great. And if no FM show would be complete without the Bon Jovi-isms of “Bad Luck” (it was co-written with Desmond Child who co-wrote “Livin’ On A Prayer”) and “That Girl” then you still have to wonder how a band with those songs in their top pocket are headlining a club in the Black Country and not the NEC up the road in Birmingham.
Not that FM are bitter, not a bit of it, in fact they look like they are having the time of their lives each time you see them and their enjoyment is infectious.
“Burning My Heart Down” ends the set, before Overland gets to prove he has a voice no one can touch on “Story Of My Life” (and to be fair the rest of the band – in particular guitarist Jim Kirkpatrick – are in fine form) before “Does It Feel Like Love” and a soaring “Other Side Of Midnight” end things.
It is worth reflecting, perhaps that the latter is over 30 years old and the former will celebrate that milestone next year, which goes to show two things, perhaps. First FM are veterans (three of the band have been in since the start too) but genuinely sound as good as ever, and second the very best songs never sound dated.
Put it like this. Stick them on a stage with anyone and it becomes obvious: there is no band better than FM at doing what they do.