LIVE: Black Veil Brides @ Academy, Manchester (04/02/2013)

Date: February 4th, 2013
Venue: Academy, Manchester
Support: Fearless Vampire Killers / Tonight Alive / Chiodos


As with every year, Kerrang! treat us all with a tour to kick off what will undoubtedly be another great 12 months of music to follow, composing of some up-and-comers along with already highly established headliners. For 2013, we’re offered Black Veil Brides, Chiodos, Tonight Alive and Fearless Vampire Killers. Let the music commence.

Being the only British band on the bill and easily the newbies of the pack, there’s some pressure riding on the shoulders of Fearless Vampire Killers (**). Sadly, to begin with, the lack of confidence shines through onstage and this, coupled with the poor sound from the PA makes for a crippling start. However, a few songs in, FVK manage to find their bearings and adapt to the stage and crowd which are both more than 3 times the size they’re used to. Those looking for a new age My Chemical Romance of yore will find their answer in these guys, who manage to pull off a rather enjoyable cover of Elton John‘s ‘I’m Still Standing’.

Aussies Tonight Alive (***) pick up the mood a bit with their sugary sweet pop-punk. Jenna McDougall‘s vocals soar across the room and, combined with the pop-punk backdrop provided by her fellow bandmates, brings to light the cliché similarity that is branded upon almost all female fronted bands in the genre, of Paramore, but in their early pre-‘RIOT!’ years. Packed with an arsenal that includes ‘Thank You & Goodnight’, ‘Listening’ and ‘Starlight’, they sure have the momentum behind them to tail up to their peers.

Now back with original frontman Craig Owens and the longest serving band on the line-up, post-hardcore favourites Chiodos (****) are definitely the band most cartered the slightly older members in the audience. With the original vocalist back in the formation, it’s like the Michigan outfit have been rejuvenated with a new lease of life. The likes of ‘There’s No Penguins In Alaska’ and ‘One Day All Women Will Become Monsters’ don’t seem to have aged at all, Craig Owens‘ vocals are stronger and more insatiable than ever before and the inclusion of Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows track ‘The Only Thing You Talk About’ into the mix makes a nice unexpected addition.

However, it is clear by all the make-up smeared fans dressed almost head to toe in black, of which takes up most of the audience, that headliners Black Veil Brides (****) are without a doubt the main attraction of the evening. Frontman Andy Biersack‘s slick looks along with his gravelled husky voice sends the screams and shrieks of the band’s adoring teenage audience into overdrive, reaching decibles that are near painful. Throughout, the band’s sing along and often chant filled choruses are regularly overpowered by the crowd, namely ‘Rebel Love Song’, ‘Fallen Angels’ and ‘I Am Bulletproof’.

William Control (or, if you’d prefer, Wil Francis of Aiden fame) even makes an appearance twice throughout the band’s set, during ‘Shadows Die’ and set closer ‘In The End’, though unfortunately his vocals don’t quite break through.

As everyone who is somewhat familiar with the band and their recent surge into popularity would atest to, Black Veil Brides are a band who polarise opinions, being either loved or adored. The sad thing is that a lot of the abuse towards the band falls simply into the way they dress, much like what happened with their peers My Chemical Romance a few years back.

However, those who aren’t hard headed enough to at least capture them in a live setting will find that the band can pull off a great show. They’re bringing back a style of glam rock with a modern twist to a new audience, delivered during the evening’s set most dominiantly with a cover of ‘Rebel Yell’ by Billy Idol, and potentially opening the gates for them to be subjected to other artists within the genre. If anything, Black Veil Brides should at least deserve credit for that.

Written by Zach Redrup