It’s a cold and rainy Saturday evening, but that means absolutely nothing to the sold out, hyped up crowd at Brixton’s O2 Academy where Asking Alexandria and Black Veil Brides are about to blow the roof off the venue.
Before the co-headliners take to the stage, we’re given 6 piece German Electro-Metalcore outfit, To The Rats And Wolves. Electro and Metalcore are not two genres that you immediately think of going together, and this group are an example of how this can work, but sometimes doesn’t. Listening to the recorded material the band have, the guitars, bass, drums and electro all work together wonderfully. In a live sense however, the guitars and the bass are completely unnecessary as the electro and drums take over. Whether it was just a sound issue on the night is hard to tell, but live the combination wasn’t that great. Despite how they sounded however, To The Rats And Wolves put on a highly energetic performance and had the crowd up off their feet for the majority of their set, and had us singing along with them during the slower parts of the songs.
Next to take the stage is the first of our headliners, English rock band Asking Alexandria. To say their arrival on stage was explosive is an understatement! With a huge screen as their backdrop showing the music video, the band opened their set to the tremendous roar of the crowd, with their leading single Into The Fire from their self-titled album. The five piece are back to their original line-up with Danny Worsnop at the helm, Ben Bruce & Cameron Liddell on lead and rhythm guitar, Sam Bettley on bass and James Cassells on drums. Whilst it appeared that both Bruce and Liddell were having technically difficulties, they managed to keep it together and open with an electrifying performance. Asking Alexandria’s set was a nice combination of new and old material, and they played six songs off their new album, and nine from older albums.
The highlight of Asking Alexandria’s set, in this reviewer’s eyes at least, was the two acoustic songs performed with Worsnop on vocals, and Bruce on guitar. They performed Vultures from their 2017 release, ‘Asking Alexandria’, and Someone, Somewhere from 2011’s ‘Reckless & Relentless’. It was incredibly beautiful and moving hearing a sold-out crowd at a rock and metal show singing along to acoustic songs. You also know it’s a beautiful moment when both Worsnop and Bruce looked as if even they were close to tears from the performance.
Asking Alexandria’s set was everything that you’d expect from the band with fireworks, smoke machines and fire cannons and the usual high energy and interaction between all five of the members. It was also sweet to see Bruce’s partner and daughter side of stage supporting and enjoying the show with all the members taking their time to go and play for the little one.
For the final act of the evening, we have our other co-headliner, Cincinnati founded Black Veil Brides. The line-up is Andy Biersack on vocals, leader guitarist Jake Pitts, rhythm guitarist Jinxx, bassist and backing vocalist Ashley Purdy, and drummer Christian ‘CC’ Coma. Whilst it’s a co-headlining tour, it could be argued that Black Veil Brides were the ones who received the louder and more hyper response from the crowd. Potentially because it’s the first time since 2016 that fans have seen BVB, but also because they were the ones the fans came to see. They opened with Faithless from their 2014 self-titled release and the entire room was singing along and bouncing – from the guard rail all the way to the back of the sold-out 5000 cap venue. Black Veil Brides are not only talented musicians, but they also know how to work a crowd.
The band is also multitalented with Jinxx showing off his impressive and incredible violin skills during several tracks, as well as playing piano on a few as well. There was not a dull moment during the entire set with crowd favourites like Rebel Love Song and Wretched And Devine getting the best reactions. It was also Ashley Purdy’s birthday on the night, which Andy pointed out as he introduced each member of his band. Andy is an incredible performer and does a fantastic job of commanding the stage, and it must be pointed out that his vocal range and control is incredible.
Black Veil Brides released their fifth album, ‘Vale’ on January 12th so there was only 1 song from it in the set. Despite being a new track, there was a great crowd response to Wake Me Up, and it’s exciting to look forward to more of the tracks being played live. The whole performance was electrifying with Black Veil Brides also taking advantage of the smoke machines and fire cannons, and during the entire set music videos and pictures flooded the back drop.
A truly wonderful performance from both Asking Alexandria and Black Veil Brides that was non-stop action and energy from start to finish. The entire sold out crowd were buzzing with energy and giving back as much as they got and were rewarded.
If you get the chance to see these bands together for the American leg of the tour, do it! You will not be disappointed.