Date: October 31st, 2014
Venue: Academy, Manchester
Support: Secrets / Crown The Empire / The Ghost Inside
Still reigning as the number #1 poster boys in modern metalcore/post-hardcore, Asking Alexandria are a band who are still subject to a lot of hate, both from fans in the scene and their peers, even despite their clear success and loyal fanbase since dropping their debut ‘Stand Up And Scream’ in 2009. Now three albums into their career and a fourth undoubtedly expected for 2015, the band have taken great strides on the UK circuit, on this occassion bringing along with them a bunch of American friends to support.
Tour openers Secrets (**) are without question playing their biggest shows in the UK to date on this tour run, and the room starts to fill out pretty quickly for their early set. Frontman Aaron Melzer‘s screams, though powerful, are somewhat muffled in the mix. Richard Rogers‘ cleans are certainly impressive too, and a highlight of the band’s entire performance. Their downfall is that everything seems forced and a routine, spefically their almost syncronised spins and stomps.
Following up are Texan up-and-comers Crown The Empire (***), who have happily dominated the US touring circuit and now have their eyes set on Europe and the UK. Their bordering theatrical dramatics with songs like ‘Bloodline’ and ‘Rise Of The Runaways’ get the crowd bouncing like crazy, and bring forth the first few pits of the night. Frontmen Andy Leo and David Escamilla trade-off each other with ease, with Escamilla‘s screams in particular being on top form. It’s sad that Andy Leo‘s cleans lack a bit in power, sometimes getting missed in the mix beside the chugging guitars, but the singalongs the band coax from the crowd from older numbers ‘Makeshift Chemistry’ and set closer ‘The Fallout’ make up for it.
Easily the heaviest export on the bill, The Ghost Inside (*****) waste no time in getting stuck into the thick of things and open with new offering, ‘Avalanche’. Vocalist Jonathan Vigil has never sounded stronger and older tracks like ‘Between The Lies’ and ‘Unspoken’ sound as punishing as they ever have. Clearly happy with their newer material, their set consists mainly of cuts from ‘Get What You Give’, and another peak into their new album ‘Dear Youth’ with their title-track sees them continuing on with this direction. This is seemingly a much younger audience than TGI normally pull in, with Vigil waving to fans in the crowd every few moments. This new album could really shoot these metalcore favourites into new heights.
Tonight is not just another standard set for Asking Alexandria (****), nor is it just Halloween, but it’s also lead guitarist and founder Ben Bruce‘s birthday, who happens to have a dildo taped to his microphone stand. The band stick mainly to material lifted from their latest effort, ‘From Death To Destiny’, and frontman Danny Warsnop really manages to display how much his voice has improved over the years, particularly with the slower ‘Moving On’ and ‘Run Free’. It’s probably down to him being a little drunk, with it being his birthday, but Ben’s rare clean sections often fall completely flat, which loses a bit of the built momentum in songs.
A bit of humour comes into play too, with an impromptu short cover of ‘Walk’ by Pantera, singing happy birthday to Ben with an accompanying trumpet section (from Joe Lancaster of With One Last Breath), and a quick jam about Ben DP’ing his girlfriend with the aforementioned dildo later.
It’s the heavier songs that really bring forth Asking Alexandria at their best, with ‘The Final Episode (Let’s Change The Channel)’ still standing as one of their best live offerings, and closer ‘Poison’ really giving one last smash to proceedings. Come album number four, expect these guys to flourish into even bigger venues.
Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)