Wednesday 13/Courtesans – Manchester, Club Academy – 26 October 2017 Print E-mail
Written by DJ Astrocreep and Hannah Reid   
Tuesday, 31 October 2017 04:40

A doom-pop band supporting one of the better-known names in horror punk? It may be the build-up to Halloween, but a scarily different band for support is a strange choice. Seeing the doom-pop label on something is attention-grabbing in itself when you are unaware of quite it what entail. Going in blind, so to speak, is sometimes not the best of plans - forewarned is fore-armed and such - but means you can form an opinion of how an act present themselves live. Let's give it a go then, I thought.


Courtesans 2


Courtesans take to the stage, and they do grab your attention. Their sound is quite dissimilar from Wednesday 13's horror punk from the off, immediately leaving you trying to think of why they are supporting him. Initial sound issues are quickly fixed by the sound engineer, as vibrating bass and too soft vocals are not a good combination, yet Courtesans carry on regardless. Although very different from Wednesday, they do have their own downbeat feel to them that is quite appealing. Vocal harmonies keep coming in and out, adding an extra dimension to their sound, with main vocals having a spoken yet harsh feel to them - almost as if the words are being spat out at times - and I quickly find them to be quite likeable, despite the clear differences with the headline act.


There is not a lot of audience reaction to them - possibly due to the masses being ready for a quicker, slightly more obviously in your face show than Courtesans are delivering. Main vocalist Sinead tries to interact a bit with the crowd between songs, though there still doesn't seem much response, which is a shame really. The audience's attention is held right through the set, despite this lack of feedback, before the seventh song draws their set to a close and the band come over to the merch stand to meet and greet with everyone - each was very friendly, approachable and talkative. They didn't really suit the bill but were good value for their set in terms of quality.


Wednesday 13 4


Now on to Wednesday 13. It's hard to know quite what to say about him that hasn't been said before - he has been playing professionally now for 25 years after all! He comes on stage to the usual fanfare, with his ‘Last Rites’ introduction blaring out from the tannoy. He opens with a track from his new album, which goes down well with those by the barriers, but not so much the rest in attendance, before going back into his older stuff, with 'Scream Baby Scream' bringing out just that response from more of the audience.


He returns now to his newer releases, going to his last but one album, then his new record again for his next two tracks, with a better response now that the crowd have woken up a bit from the slumber they seemed to be in prior to ‘Scream Baby Scream. There's a bit more movement in the middle and back sections of the audience also now, as he heads into more familiar territory, with the first of two Frankenstein Drag Queens from Planet 13 songs he chooses to perform tonight. This rounds off what feels like the first half of his set, as a backing track of ‘Bloodline 666’ blares out from the speakers, giving Wednesday and the band a moment to catch a breath in the darkness.


Wednesday 13 3


It's at this point, in the two minutes, breather, that you realise that this set is not as furious as you would normally expect from him, being - whilst not thumping enough to be metal - a touch slower than his usual all guns blazing Horror Punk. A reason for booking Courtesans for support is now a bit more apparent, instead of a band that are somewhat more frenetic but are possibly not as tight nor pleasing as tonight's support.


Wednesday now chooses to work his way backwards for the next few songs, starting with 'Serpent Society' from his last-but-one release, and stepping back an album at a time with 'Hail Ming' and 'I Want You Dead', before coming straight back to now with title track 'Condolences' being delivered with the trademark level of venom and spite typical of his creations. The band all depart the stage without much fanfare and the crowd seems to wait patiently at first, without much noise, before realising he may be waiting for calls to come back on, which a few decide to now do.


Wednesday 13 1


A minute later, he takes back to the stage, the band in tow, to blast out another track from his latest album in 'Prey For Me', before heading on to the second of his Frankenstein Drag Queens from Planet 13 covers in 'I Love to Say Fuck' and finishing on 'Bad Things' from his third album.


Whilst it was overall a slightly slower set than he would usually produce, it's perhaps a set he needed to do to properly showcase his newer songs. He was, as always, a true performer, with a feeling of what is almost sleaze dipped in a horror pot pervading the room during his set. The slower pace is still one that seems comfortable for Wednesday, with him delivering every word with his usual aplomb and gravel-voiced malice, though it does seem to confuse some of the audience. Yet another enjoyable experience at one of his shows - here's hoping for a full Frankenstein Drag Queens set soon!


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