Asking Alexandria + Black Veiled Brides @ o2 Academy, 23rd January 2018

Asking Alexandria have gained a large following in the UK since their formation in 2006.  In 2009 releasing their debut album ‘Stand Up And Scream’, in which the single ‘Final Episode’ to this day has 51 million views on Youtube. A fresh and exciting blend of intensely shrieked lyrics, heavy riffs and clean hooks excited fans worldwide. Their focus on lyrics which centred around relationships and love developed their teen fanbase greatly.

‘Reckless and Relentless’ (2011) and ‘From Death to Destiny’ (2013) saw the style change from classic metalcore to a heavy rock influenced album, with less screamed lyrics and a focus on their rock’n’roll lifestyles after success in the US being signed to Sumerian Records.

Tonight, on The Resurrection Tour, co-headlining with Black Veil Brides, they play a packed out 02 Academy Birmingham. It took me 20 minutes to park and that’s how you know it’s a busy one. Upon entering the venue I noticed very deep bass droning from the stage and inside the main room itself the room was awash with red lighting. The anticipation was already growing. They played 6 from their self titled album ‘Asking Alexandria’ (2017), 4 from ‘Death to Destiny’ (2013), 3 from ‘Stand Up and Scream’ (2009) and 2 from ‘Reckless and Relentless’ (2011), playing no songs from ‘The Black’ (2016) after departing ways with Denis Stoff.

Jumping straight into their set with ‘Into the Fire’ (2017) the band got the crowd going early on with an energetic one and giving the young fans who’d been waiting all day at the front a powerful taste of Danny’s newer vocal style. It is evidently more accessible than older Asking songs, the screamed lyrics are more shouted and it is a very catchy song, Danny’s cleans are saddening and infectious. ‘Killing You’ (2013), followed suit but featured a more agressive style of singing which gave the fans something to mosh to early on.

‘Motherfuckers, we’re back!’, Danny Worsnop (2018). Danny took a moment to thank the crowd for their support and told them that to avoid being roasted on Twitter they were going to play mostly older songs. ‘Final Episode’ (2009) and ‘Not The American Average’ (2009) saw the young fans go wild and sing every word along with the band. All members of the band showed brilliant showmanship, all of them pointing at the crowd and beckoning them.

The quiter moments of the set included the acoustic ‘Someone, Somwhere’ (2011) which gave the set diversity and allowed the fans to catch a break (by recording it on their phones). It was quite a performance for the band and up their with the best bands I’ve seen live and I wouldn’t call myself a superfan. The video screen in the background added another dimension to their set and whether it be song lyrics to give the chorus more punch or just an assortment of video clips it really worked.

Black Veil Brides are an American rock band formed in 2006 and have released 5 studio albums, in which tonight they play 5 from ‘Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones’ (2013), 3 from ‘Set the World On Fire’ (2011), 2 from their latest release ‘Vale’ (2018) and ‘We Stitch These Wounds’ (2010) and 1 from ‘Black Veil Brides’ (2014).

In typical BVB style they arrived on stage to massive cheers from the crowd, dyed black hair and skinny leather outfits instantly threw me back to when I saw KISS at Download Festival. ‘Faithless’ (2014) set the tone for the rest of the set, fast guitar work and bells chiming, the appearance of Andy from the darkness saw a large cheer from the crowd. ‘Coffin’ (2011) saw an even older track hit the ears of the crowd, the gothic nature coming into play and Andy’s deep voice working well with the fast sharp piercing guitar notes and sweeps, delivering another big chorus.

‘Rebel Love Song’ (2011) took me straight back to being an angsty teen again, the melodic nature of the song intertwined with the classy guitar riffs and speedy guitar notes fired off into the air like bullets gives the song a classic feel to it. ‘When they Call my Name’ (2018), newer material saw the band at a slower tempo with a big chorus as always, the crowd had their hands in the air everytime. Jinxx appeared onstage with a violin during this song which added to the wacky nature of their set, even the older generation of dads that came along looked like they were struggling to look away.

‘The Legacy’ (2011) again was a massive rush of nostagia for me. Riffs, riffs and more riffs, clunky bass and supringly self referential lyrics about leaving behind your past and chasing your dreams is timeless stuff. The fans go crazy everytime they unleash a classic and this is definitely one of them. ‘Knives and Pens’ (2010), we are entering the screamo territory here and everyone is loving it. This is more Bullet for My Valentine than KISS and the music is much more rough around the edges, showing how far they’ve come as a band.

Ending with ‘Fallen Angels’ (2011) they assure all the fans go home with smiles on their faces. Say what you like about their image, Black Veil Brides are one hell of a live experience and combined with Asking Alexandria it was fantastic.

Review and Photographs: Neale Hayes

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