The only thing better than getting to see one of the most influential and remarkable metal bands in the world is getting to see two of them. As co-headliner tours go, you’d be hard pushed to find a better match up than Asking Alexandria and Black Veil Brides at London’s Brixton Academy.
Both Asking Alexandria and Black Veil Brides have had long and eventful careers.
Black Veil Brides emerged on to the scene covered in make-up and funding the entire hairspray industry themselves. Whilst they’ve in no way abandoned their theatrical and gothic nature, it seems that they no longer rely on costume gimmicks to excite their fans.
For their part, Asking Alexandria have had very public and seemingly dramatic line-up changes with the highly covered departure and return of Danny Worsnop (who was replaced by Denis Stoff in 2015 before returning in a public frenzy the following year).
Over the past decade UK rock music has proved itself and then some. Expanding on an already impressive roster of British acts, bands from every corner of the country have all but taken ownership of the industry, producing sterling records every week and live shows that are second to none.
For anybody unacquainted with the first of tonight’s co-headliners it probably comes as quite a surprise that Asking Alexandria are a part of that.
The band performed 15 tracks over an hour and a half and not for one second could it be presumed that they were from North Yorkshire. Based on not only Worsnop’s vocals but his crowd interaction in between songs, I would have been willing to stake money on him being American.
That was of no detriment to Asking Alexandria’s performance which was refined, impressive and undoubtedly heavy as fuck. It just strikes as a shame that it was delivered whilst appearing to somewhat shy away from their roots.
However, guitarist Ben Bruce has been quoted as saying that, following the bands almost surprise drop of their self-titled album at the end of last year, they plan to focus heavily on developing their repertoire within the UK.
It’s a move that may well humble individual egos within the band whilst strengthening them as a group and developing a sense of confidence rooted in pride as opposed to arrogance.
If they can pull that off than Asking Alexandria will be unstoppable. After all, tonight’s performance was intense and at times quite raw with severity but Vultures and Someone, Somewhere were spine-tingling examples of acoustic tracks that are bang on the money.
Their staging would have been right at home at an Ally-Pally sized show with a giant screen backdrop, fireworks, fire and steam jets. As the last notes of The Death of Me cascaded over the adoring crowd, you had to wonder why Asking Alexandria weren’t closing (especially since it’s their home country shows…apparently) and how Black Veil Brides could possibly compete.
Well, the reason Asking Alexandria weren’t closing was because they suspected (correctly) that whichever headliner went first would get the bigger crowd.
With the audience slightly thinned round the edges, Black Veil Brides took their place on one of the most famous stages in the country.
They absolutely smashed it.
Black Veil Brides’ live performance is almost overwhelmingly powerful. They shared the staging that helped make Asking Alexandria’s set so spectacular but actually managed to use it even more effectively.
They used the screen to show footage of their journey over the past ten years (and then some) whilst they played When They Call My Name, recognising that they owe their career to their fans potentially more than any other band does.
That screen also came into play when delivering some guest vocals from William Control and a hell of a lot of the band’s instantly recognisable logo and iconography.
As ever, Andy Biersack delivered a flawless performance vocally. As a frontman he truly is one of the greats with a charisma, voice and energy that his fans thrive off of.
But the real glory of Black Veil Brides lies within their dedication to their classically gothic style. Ideally Black Veil Brides should be playing in creepy castles and haunted mansions across the globe but failing that their staging helps keep the vibe alive.
By the time Jinxx started shredding on a violin for a couple of tracks, the whole of Brixton Academy was enamoured. Presenting a classically trained ability is a sure-fire way of setting yourself apart in today’s industry and few have done it as naturally as Black Veil Brides did tonight.
This tour was marketed as ‘The Resurrection Tour’ – a name that turned out to be incredibly apt. For both Asking Alexandria and Black Veil Brides 2018 is primed to be a redirection in many ways and the time to secure their place at the top of their field. This show was the perfect new beginning.