Date: February 11th, 2013
Venue: Academy, Manchester
Support: Betraying The Martyrs / Motionless In White / While She Sleeps
British metalcore giants Asking Alexandria with their monolithic breakdowns, punishing screaming, electronic injections and huge hooking choruses seem to have the youth of land under their spell. They embarked on their headline UK tour to provide their massive audience with the shows they’ve been waiting for. I went to see what all the fuss was about at a sold out show.
As people were still filing through the door, Parisians Betraying The Martyrs (****) give them quite the greeting. Barrage after barrage of super heavy riffs and blast beats lay into the audience while frontman Aaron Matts provides absolutely destroying vocals. The energy amongst the band is second to none and they really do set the bar high immediately. Keyboardist and second vocalist, Victor Guillet, would leave his spot behind the keys to accompany Aaron at the front to tag-team the audience switching between screams and clean vocals, making for a dynamic show to say the least.
Next up are Motionless In White (*) in a unspoken competition amongst the bands as to who can provide the heaviest of breakdowns. They lost. Donning their customary black and white face paint they take to the stage with a hearty reception from the audience. What followed was very ‘paint-by-numbers’ metalcore. Breakdown, synth, scream, shout the word “fuck” a few times; every cliché was covered. They did, however, have a decent amount of crowd participation, slightly making up for their completely mundane set. Singer Chris Motionless seemed to be more concentrated on keeping his hair do in place rather than putting on a lively performance. He lost me at “Side to side, front to back”.
UK favourites While She Sleeps (*****) take to the stage to provide their own hardcore take on the genre, adding a little energy to the proceedings. Not so polished, not so perfect, not so electronic, they completely blow the other bands out of the water. Their set is an ideal balance of super tight musicianship without compromising the spontaneity of a live performance. They give the audience everything, from their new material ‘This Is The Six’ to old classic ‘Crows’, with energy, passion and, most importantly, enjoying themselves whilst doing so.
The tension whilst setting up their impressive stage and lighting rigs is growing as the young audience wait for the headliners Asking Alexandria (***) to take to the stage. As the moment finally happened, the screams were deafening. Immediately, they blast into their set and everyone is moving. As predicted, the breakdowns were abundant, the hooks echoed by the crowd and electronic interludes had everyone jumping. “Okay, I can handle this, it’s catchy”, I said to myself. “I hope they change it up soon though”. Unfortunately, my prayers weren’t answered. Song after song was so similar, it cheapened the whole experience. Of course, everyone around me was lapping it up, but I needed more.
Written by Jack Bastard