Much like Bring Me The Horizon before them, Asking Alexandria are the kind of band that divide opinion in the rock industry. Those who like them love them, in that kind of rabid fanboy way that causes people to get tattoos they will regret, dedicate pages of their ‘Afuckin’A’ themed blog to them and behave all inappropriately at gigs. Those who dislike them… well, there’s a reason festivals have high security and a ban on glass.
Asking Alexandria make mindless party metalcore, dedicated to sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll – and in this writer’s opinion, do it very well. Their albums are high-energy and well put-together, and their songs are far too catchy for their own good. However, the band have also struggled in the past with their live shows, vocalist Danny Worsnop ‘suffering’ with the kind of alcohol and drug addiction that stops shows and makes you very famous simultaneously – a factor which made me somewhat nervous as to how high quality the performance was likely to be.
I missed the first two support acts, but the crowd seemed to be at a stupidly high energy level when I got there so can only assume that, at the very least, Chelsea Grin rocked it. Main support Blessthefall (whose video for ‘Promised Ones’ was previously the subject of a Screen Test feature right here on OneMetal) came on stage to a rapturous welcome from an already-at-capacity room and put on an incredible show from start to finish. Having listened to some of their stuff before and been, frankly, bored by it, I was left breathless and totally humbled by just how good they were. They played with an intensity and professionalism that belied their standing on the bill, and gave just the right amount of appreciation for the other bands on the bill. Frontman Beau Bokan (great name by the way) whirled around the stage non-stop, delivering his vocals flawlessly despite having to briefly pause mid-song to vomit (nice) and the band were energetic and tight from start to finish causing the entire crowd to dance and jump sweatily for the duration of their 40 minute set.
During the break before Asking Alexandria came onstage barely anyone in the crowd moved, unwilling to lose their standing position, which is practically unheard of at rock gigs. Rockers like their booze. This is known to be true. Excitement rose steadily while the techs did those things techs do and pretty much peaked when the lights came down and the introductory music started.
Asking Alexandria began the show, aptly, with ‘Welcome’, a slow building (backing) track that breaks after a while into thrashing guitars and lots of screaming. This was immediately followed, less aptly, with ‘Closure’, a balls-out anthem proclaiming the band back to rock your world and be more rock and roll than you’ll ever ever be (and so on). Needless to say the audience proceeded to go absolutely mental for the duration, singing the lyrics back at the band, whilst those in the pit proceeded to try to rip the limbs from those around them before they got to them first.
Two more tracks (‘Breathless’ and ‘A Lesson Never Learned’) from most recent album Reckless and Relentless followed with similar reception and then old track ‘Not the American Average’ proved that however crazy you think a show can get it can always get crazier. There was considerably more love evident from the crowd at large for first album Stand Up and Scream and every song played from the album received a more thrilled welcome than the last.
Vocalist Danny was on form this evening and managed to keep the audience on his side throughout, although it was quite obvious every time guitarist Ben Bruce took the microphone that the girly love in the crowd was definitely focused unwaveringly in his direction. At one point he said something to the crowd at large, however no one apart from him will ever know what that was as it was drowned out by guttural shrieking and a barrage of underwear (last part untrue).
The band themselves put on a great performance, hitting every note perfectly despite their in-sync headbanging throughout. Vocals were ropey in places but, to be fair, no one seemed to give a damn as the audience were singing along (loudly) anyway.
‘To The Stage’, another song about being all rock ‘n stuff, was fantastic – with the energy at a peak both on and off stage as the band incited a wall of death during which at least 9 people died (probably). ‘Dedication’ was a nice moment of quiet reflection as everyone caught their breaths and watched the band meander about with not a lot to do (it’s a backing track). The band ended their short encore with ‘The Final Episode (Let’s Change The Channel)’, which gave everyone in the audience a nice unifying moment to wave their arms in the air and sing their little hearts out before the lights went directly on and surprised everyone.