Murderdolls/Black Veil Brides/The Defiled - Bristol, O2 Academy - 4th February 2011 Print E-mail
Written by Gaz E   
Friday, 11 February 2011 05:00

 

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Good to see the kids celebrating Superbowl weekend, I thought to myself as I watched a yummy mummy drop off a car full of twelve year old girls with their faces painted in vintage Sixx/Lee striped fashion.

 

People around me in the rain outside Bristol's O2 Academy (where the 6pm doors became the 6:15 doors - forget illegal downloading, clubs and clubnights are the cunts killing music) may have scoffed at the sight but, c'mon, we all had to start somewhere. This could have been the first rock show that these kids went to and, who knows, one of them could turn out to be the next Joan Jett, the next Brody Dalle, the next Lee Aaron....

 

Open the (already) decidedly un-rock 'n' roll doors late and put the opening band on early - smart move. I miss the start of The Defiled's set but, happily, not too much. I loved the band's '1888' EP from 2009 and remain convinced that their new album, 'Grave Times', will see them move up a division. Live, they are everything that I hoped they would be. Showcasing 'Blood Sells' and 'Call To Arms' from that new album and revisiting the EP for its title track, 'Red Tape' and the incredible 'The Resurrectionists' (okay, this monster track is on both the EP and new1adefiled300 album but I'm old school), the band have possibly the coolest looking frontman in the country in Stitch D and, in programming/keyboard loon The AvD, a second major focal point and mouthpiece. Their all too short set is hung, drawn and quartered by 7pm but, thankfully, they played it to a quickly full venue. If there is any justice in this rock 'n' roll world The Defiled will not be opening three band bills at 6:30 pm for much longer.

 

When The AvD asked the (very youthful) crowd if they were looking forward to seeing Black Veil Brides the response had to be heard to be believed. Seriously, this was boy band hysteria level. Like, I guess, many a neutral in the venue, my knowledge of the band revolved around their (admittedly) great image and not a great deal about their music so I was more than curious to hear the band in a live environment. Hymens started to crack when glimpses of band members were spotted on the edges of the curtain (or black veil, ugh) that had been erected to protect the proles from seeing the changeover. I say erected, what I mean is two luckless roadies had to stand holding bits of scaffolding pole with a fat goth's skirt stretched between them. The look of extreme horror on the face of one of the poor blokes when one side of the curtain fell to the ground thereby breaking the fourth wall was both tragic and hilarious.

 

The tween EZO hit the stage and, honestly, the screams reminded me of an audience of stuck pigs watching the Beatles - I'd be sure to remember that. A legion of face-painted teens (Superbowl, as if) wearing the entire stock of every UK branch of Claire's Accessories go David Cassidy-crazy (but without the death) at every minute detail of the Black Veil Brides' set, including amazing screeches of delight when vocalist Andy Six throws water, and then the bottle from where it came, into the audience. I offer my own squeal when a drinking receptacle of a 1aveil3002different kind flies onstage and clonks him on the side of the head. To his credit he responds with a smile (I just melted) and, given his numerous bursts of between song banter, I'd guess that he gets stuff flung at him a lot. That it, like the plastic pint glass, bounces straight off him says a lot for the guy.

 

Six dived into the crowd a few feet in front of me early in their set and, honestly, a young hand reached up and touched his hair...just touched it. I cannot for the life of me remember such an average band get so well received, especially one peddling a muted brand of galloping cod metal complete with Maiden-esque twin guitars, a brand of music that we used to tease our hair up to distance ourselves from in the Eighties. But embrace it the youth has and bands have become huge when afforded this kind of adoration early in their careers which, when the music sounds so much weaker than The Defiled's a half hour earlier, is both an achievement and disappointment.

 

Songs like 'Knives And Pens' and 'Sweet Blasphemy', complete with its "We are young and we are strong" refrain which seems wholly appropriate tonight, threaten to drag themselves out of the abortion bucket, but any hope of style losing out to substance over the course of a six song set is lost, severely. But the kids loved it, which is good because a lot of Wizards Of Waverly Place went unwatched this evening. At the end of the set a guy behind me summed up Black Veil Brides with a nine word capsule review that would save many a writer at least twenty cups of coffee and a dozen chewed pen tops - "Their look is awesome but their music is bollocks."

 

My first experience of Murderdolls live came in Bristol almost nine years ago, in a decidedly smaller venue, so to come full circle when there was a time when I never thought I'd see them again is, well, nice. But how can I use the word 'nice' in a review such as this? Correction, seeing them again is terrorific. 'The World According To Revenge', the intro to last year's cool comeback 'Women And Children Last', oozes out of the PA before 'Chapel Of Blood' opens1amdolls240 its doors and we're into the set proper. 'Death Valley Superstars' and 'Homicide Drive' follow before we go 'Beyond The Valley Of The Murderdolls' for a tortured trio of 'Slit My Wrist', 'Twist My Sister' and 'She Was A Teenage Zombie'. Then we're back to the future with the great 'My Dark Place Alone', 'Drug Me To Hell' and 'Summertime Suicide'.

 

Joey Jordison and Wednesday 13, both plastered in blue make-up, might be the stars of the show - Jordison's whispered words to W13 who then relays them to the packed venue is both corny and kooky - but in guitarist Roman Surman they have found a welcome adversary to that onstage stranglehold. Surman, who has followed W13 from Gunfire 76, with his corpse paint and half head of long hair making him look like the undead Philip Oakey, almost steals the show. Almost. 'Blood Stained Valentine', 'Pieces Of You' and 'Nowhere' appear from the last album and are joined by classic killer cuts 'Die My Bride', 'People Hate Me', a storming '197666' and the set closing 'Motherfucker, I Don't Care' but before we get to that point Wednesday 13 wants 'Bad Things' to happen to us (from his 'Transylvania 90210' album) and for us to then pay tribute to Jordison's late Slipknot bandmate Paul Gray with 'Welcome To The Strange', the Murderdolls track that featured on the soundtrack of franchise fuck-up 'Freddy Vs. Jason' (and later appeared on the Special Edition of the debut album) and was Gray's favourite song by the band.

 

Another of the songs added to that re-released version of the album, 'I Take Drugs', makes an appearance in the encore, bookended by the awesome 'Dawn Of The Dead' and 'Dead In Hollywood' which, above all others, is the one song that makes me think back to the original Frankenstein Drag Queens version.

 

10pm and the show is over. Balking at the merch prices (again - I'll never get used to this shit) I walk out of the venue knowing that I've just seen a proper rock show and, rare as that may be these days, it still feels good. God save the scream, just let her stay out a little later, 'kay? 'Kay.