Band: Black Veil Brides
Support: Chiodos, Tonight Alive and Fearless Vampire Killers
Venue: Brixton Academy, London
When Hit The Floor arrives at the iconic Academy in south London’s Brixton at three in the afternoon the queue is already bustling with a range of individuals all sharing one fashion statement – black is high on the list of priorities today, as is a significant amount of make-up and face paint. Although some may find it easy to sneer at what could be dubbed an overused publicity campaign or an obvious gimmick to distract from the music, it is clear that a large proportion of diehard fans have formed valuable connections with tonight’s headliners – and excitement is in the air.
The rapturous applause and deafening screams that accompany the arrival of all the support bands on stage in turn suggest that Fearless Vampire Killers, Tonight Alive, and Chiodos have been enjoying immeasurable exposure on this tour. Perhaps most similar to the headline act, Fearless Vampire Killers look entirely comfortable on the large Brixton stage as Kier Kemp and Laurence Beveridge share frontman duties for their equally flamboyant and melodic compositions. Although the former provides a more adept vocal performance, it is refreshing to witness a band divide eminence on the stage – a status shared by the remaining three members.
Chiodos garner the most unexpected reception of the night, partly in response to the return of Craig Owens as frontman following his return in April last year. More surprisingly the band have been accepted by an audience arguably unexposed to the likes of Chiodos prior to the tour announcement. Fortunately Owens sounds better than he has in years, seemingly putting a turbulent past on hold (at least) for his reappearance. The performance is completed by the expert musicianship portrayed by the fellow band members, truly cementing Chiodos’ return to form.
Black Veil Brides are clearly experts of their craft; raging through twelve tracks from the comparably short back catalogue in addition to a cover of Billy Idol’s ‘Rebel Yell’. Frontman Andy Biersack has the engrossed audience in the palm of his hands as he dominates the stage alongside the dual guitars, bass and drums
Yet following the expectation of a spectacular live show, it is disappointing to see Black Veil Brides refuse the opportunity for a grandiose performance. Despite conscious efforts to avoid comparisons to contemporaries such as Avenged Sevenfold, the lack of melodrama in the performance conflicts with the image the band have been nurturing over time. Ultimately Black Veil Brides do not deliver the show many would expect. To build up a persona that advocates showmanship implies certain exhibitionism on stage – it is impossible to shake the feeling that the band may have just missed a trick.
Reviewer: Ben Tipple
Photos: Skye Portman