Back in their ‘homeland’ the UK for the third time, Asking Alexandria will want to make sure that this short stint of shows are their best to date, and with many critics hot on their tail waiting for the band’s inevitable implosion, they can hardly afford to put in a bad showing on this, the first date of this run of headline shows.
One band that doesn’t need to worry about putting in a bad performance is the always fantastic While She Sleeps (*****). From the moment they make their hotly anticipated arrival on stage, they are bursting with energy and power. Ferocious run-throughs of ‘Hearts Aside Our Horses’ and ‘Crows’ not only win the neutrals over, but also go a long way to showing why they are the buzz band of the moment.
Compared to this, the newly rejuvenated Of Mice & Men (***) seem somewhat underwhelming. Sure, their abrasive metalcore packed with vicious breakdowns and visceral screams from frontman Austin Carlile has the crowd eating out the palm of their hands, but songs like ‘Those In Glass Houses’ fail to pack the power that they promise on record. With Carlile‘s vocals seeming muffled throughout, it’s no surprise that the songs seem to lack that cutting edge, but as the band launch themselves into the crowd on a crushing ‘Second And Sebring’, there’s no questioning the band’s work ethic.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Asking Alexandria (**). Following their intro piece ‘Welcome’, the crowd are made to wait around for 15 minutes listening to drunken banter from frontman Danny Worsnop whilst they attempt to fix some technical issues, although their unprofessionalism is hardly surprising given their recent onstage antics in the States. When they finally get going again, there are some in attendance who wish they hadn’t shown up at all. Mixing Wornsop‘s off key vocals with sloppy guitar lines and technical difficulties is just a recipe for disaster. On ‘A Prophecy’ and ‘Not The American Average’, Worsnop‘s vocals are carried away by the hearty crowd, and ‘Someone Somewhere’ leaves you wishing that they were.
There are a few highlights; a decent run through of fan favourite ‘A Single Moment Of Sincerity’ gives the crowd a glimpse of the power the band does pack. A crowd pleasing encore of ‘Alerion’ and ‘The Final Episode’ are decent, but it is too little way too late. There is far too much room for improvement on the band’s live show, not only with their sound quality but their inability to play without a backing track. One cannot help but wonder that if the band spent a little less time ripping their jeans and little more time working on their live show, then they may become a band that people can take seriously.
Written by Oliver Thompson