Hollywood Undead @ o2 Academy 26 January 2018

Hollywood Undead @ o2 Academy 26 January 2018Hollywood Undead @ o2 Academy 26 January 2018Hollywood Undead @ o2 Academy 26 January 2018Hollywood Undead @ o2 Academy 26 January 2018Hollywood Undead @ o2 Academy 26 January 2018Hollywood Undead @ o2 Academy 26 January 2018Hollywood Undead @ o2 Academy 26 January 2018Hollywood Undead @ o2 Academy 26 January 2018Hollywood Undead @ o2 Academy 26 January 2018Hollywood Undead @ o2 Academy 26 January 2018Hollywood Undead @ o2 Academy 26 January 2018

Tonight we are at the 02 Academy Birmingham for something rather different, Hollywood Undead. The group from California formed in 2005. Their unique blend of rapping and aggressively shouted lyrics, as well as themes of betrayal and disregarding the views of others have gained them a sizeable following, in addition their ‘party metal’ vibe has given their music increased accessibility in younger audiences. They have to date released five studio albums, ‘Swan Songs’ (2008), ‘American Tragedy’ (2011), ‘Notes from the Underground’ (2013), ‘Day of the Dead’ (2015) and ‘Five’ (2017).

Supporting them tonight are British rap-metal outfit, The One Hundred. I caught these guys at 2000 Trees Fest 2017 and was impressed with frontman Jacob’s confidence onstage and his ability to get a crowd going. Instant comparisons can be made with Attila; heavy and crunchy riffs with verses of screamed rapping and even some clean vocals. Older Enter Shikari work also comes into mind, the style is constantly in a state of moving from poppy to grime then metal. ‘Disengage’ from their debut ‘Chaos + Bliss’ (2017) album could very easily have been a pure grime song based from the start, but one minute in and the guitars kick in and Jacob Field unleashes some unholy screams. I’m a fan.

‘Kingsmen’ (2014) followed suit, Jacob’s delivery vocal-wise is incredible. Comparisons can be made with Hacktivist; even the grime aspect is much darker lyrically and less contrived than some populating the genre today. His lyrics give substance in bundles and then when the guitars do kick in Jacob has the ability to command the crowd to mosh and go crazy with his high demonic screams; wouldn’t be out of place in deathcore.

Hollywood Undead’s Charlie Scene arrived on stage through large curtains, which opened to reveal a metal ‘Hollywood Undead’ sign. The sign was complete with large ‘sparkler’ type pyro and a few dozen search lights which spiralled all over the room. 10/10 for effort guys. They kicked things off with ‘Whatever It Takes’ (2017), instantly promoting their newer material. All members of the band silhoutted against the bright lights, waving their arms above their heads was pretty edgy.

‘Undead’ (2008) played second saw the entire room erupt into nostalgia and chant the words louder than the band throughout. The older material is evidently heavier and more aggressive and was used to good effect here, moshpits broke out left right and centre. ‘California Dreaming’ (2017) back to newer stuff but I really enjoyed this song and Charlie Scene’s cleans remind me of Attila’s Fronz more than ever.

The band toyed with their last two albums with, ‘Been to Hell’ (2015) and ‘Renegade’ (2017) and the crowd enjoyed their showmanship and skill as performers. All band members seemed to remain at the back of the stage and only came forward towards the crowd while singing. ‘Comin’ In Hot’ (2011) saw the crowd go wild once again, the party atmosphere was well and truely underway and everyone was having a great time, even the people exchanging fists and elbows in the pit.

‘Bullet’ (2011) offered a slower pace to the show but made up for it in emotional lyrics, a song about suicide. It really gave substance to the show and cut through the tongue-in-cheek atmosphere like a knife.

Of course they ended with ‘Everywhere I Go’ (2008) and the entire band have proven themselves tonight. They’ve been around a while now and aren’t showing any signs of slowing down, the Academy was packed out tonight, with a mixed demographic too. They’re still relevant and a hell of a live show. Natural born entertainers.

Reviewer/Photographer: Neale Hayes

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