Asking Alexandria

support Of Mice & Men + While She Sleeps
author BL date 22/04/11 venue Electric Ballroom, London, UK

Its pretty good you know, Friday evening with all the housemates gone, go see a show all the way in London. Sure this metalcore bill isn't going to appeal to some of you out there, but I saw it as a good excuse to go out the house for some entertainment (they are at least on record, for the most part). Save for the headliners (whom I saw with Miss May I and The Amity Affliction earlier in the year) I also hadn't seen the other bands before and so there was an air of uncertainty as I made my over in the afternoon. When I got to the venue the queue stretched way back around the side of the street and scenesters of all shapes and sizes (though mostly just kids and a few older teens by the looks of it) occupied the roadside in a mass that drew a lot of awkward (but amusing) stares from nonchalant passerbys - wondering what all the fuss and comotion is about.

While She Sleeps

Definitely the most British band on the tour tonight (since Asking spend most of their time in America), While She Sleeps wasted no time getting straight into the action with a custom introduction song of theirs and then jumping right into "Proud Of The Demon In Me". Their brand of metalcore influenced melodic hardcore certainly got the crowd moving a little and the band looked lively and pumped to be performing in front of such a large crowd here in the Ballroom. Frontman Lawrence Taylor seemed bursting with energy as he jumped around the stage, throwing his arms around to the heavy yet melodic breaks while managing to competently bring out those strained raspy high pitched screams so typically associated with British melodic hardcore. Certainly not everybody was here to see them judging from those at the back with their arm crossed, but with the band trying hard to impress, their hard work was rubbing off with more and more people getting involved as the set went along, and the noise level was noticably increasing. When "Crows" finally came on, you could see the fists pumping and people approving of what was a pretty good way to get the night rolling.
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Of Mice & Men

Having missed Of Mice & Men last time they were over in the UK, I was definitely taken back somewhat by the strong contingent here tonight cheering very excitedly as these Californian boys got on stage. It was interesting in a good way to see the band now reunited with their original front man Austin Carlile, since I had doubts over whether the band would have been any good with Jerry Roush (ex-vocalist for Sky Eats Airplane) taking the vocal duties for a good long stint while the band had temporarily kicked Austin out, just wasn't overly keen on his vocals from all the Youtube videos I had seen. Austin looked in good shape, stoked to be here, and seemed genuinely happy at the more than warm reception they were getting - getting giddy enough to start climbing the ceiling speaker supports and interacting with the crowd repeatedly. I was also impressed with his vocals live, he always sounded sharp and distinguishable on record, but live hes able to recreate those same shrieking high screams as well as throwing in some powerful lows that I felt had always been missing from his studio repetoire for one reason or another. Speaking of vocalists, Shayley Bourget their clean singer now also bassist sang his parts with a lot of panache as well as going crazy a bit now and then on his own accord, his strong singing technique certainly putting him in good stead in the more strained parts for songs like "This One's For You" and the excellent "Second & Sebring". A new song was played and it sounded okay for the most part, couldn't hear it well enough over the crowd to really take anything away - though it was obvious everybody was having a good time here. Not to mention there wasn't a lot of obnoxious crabcoreing and the band were pretty good at pulling off live what they do on record, keep it coming guys.
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Setlist:

  • 01. Intro
  • 02. Those In Glass Houses
  • 03. Farewell To Shady Glade
  • 04. They Don't Call It The South For Nothing
  • 05. This One's For You
  • 06. New Song
  • 07. The Ballad Of Tommy Clayton & The Rawdawg Millionaire
  • 08. Second & Sebring

Asking Alexandria

It was interesting that Danny Worsnop, lead vocalist, came on stage looking the way he did with sunglasses and a waistcoat, sporting his new short hair cut. When asked by a random person in the crowd why he looked different (since scene girls seem obsessed with his old emo/scene image) he replied simply "I don't want to look like every other retard out there" - which seems ironic when you considered what they looked like back when "Stand Up And Scream" was released. I had seen techno/metalcore sensation Asking Alexandria before already and to be honest I knew what to expect, no doubt the biggest surprise if any were the technical troubles that ruined the building flow after the band opened with the heated "Welcome", the new 'brootal intro breakdown' song from their Sophomore album "Reckless & Relentless". James the drummer had the wrong signals going through his ear piece and couldn't hear anything except vocals. It took a good ten minutes or so before the band decided to carry on regardless and fortunately for them the problem was sorted mid song it seemed. Danny if anything especially during the downtime seemed a bit lacking in enthusiasm, and the usual interaction lines he had for the crowd (as forgiving and appreciative as they were), seemed almost like a formality, something just felt missing from him. This spilled into his stage presence as well, in that there was none. He spent the entire time walking around or standing still, or placing a foot on the speaker and just doing his thing. It wouldn't have been such a big problem if his vocals weren't feeling substandard as well, his screams were passable live this time but you are really wondering what happened to the voice that previously screamed so viciously and growled like a monster. Oh and his singing ranged from acceptable to actually kind of bad which was a shame, maybe he's had some rough days or something (that Seattle incident still comes to mind).

What about the rest of the band? Well they certainly at least looked like they were trying to do the best they could, playing their parts with pretty good execution (this was important given the great sound in this venue) and doing their signature stage moves (I guess you would say its their signature moves anyway) in the crab stances, the headbanging and whatnot. Sure enough it may be silly the amount of times they appear whenever there's a breakdown (and there's a lot of them), but they were moving at the least and I swear that amount of headbanging is bad for your neck. Songs played were the usual numbers from "Stand Up And Scream" which included the likes of "Not The American Average", "A Single Moment Of Sincerity", "If You Can't Ride Two Horses At Once... You Should Get Out The Circus", "Hey There Mr Brooks" and probably the best one in my opinion in "A Prophecy". New songs from "Reckless & Relentless" included "Closure" which admittedly has a really nice techno part that isn't actually a breakdown and is a fun number overall, the 80s rock wannabe "Someone, Somewhere", heavy as fuck (heavy as in breakdowns) "Breathless", and theatrical "Morte Et Dabo" that brought the main set to a close. The short encore had "Alerion" and "The Final Episode" which shouldn't have come as a shock to anyone, though I have to admit as great and hilarious "Alerion" is, I am mighty damn tired of "The Final Episode" - that song is just so annoying in so many ways, 'Oh My God' indeed (with the exception of the techno, which is one of the band's few saving graces). At the end of the night I felt a little underwhelmed leaving for home, the feeling that Danny didn't seem to want to be one hundred percent there and his lacklustre showing really took away from what was truthfully told, a fairly okayish performance from the band (absurd amounts of crabcore and breakdowns aside) that people enjoyed to a moderate degree nonetheless.

Setlist:

  • 01. Welcome
  • 02. Closure
  • 03. Not The American Average
  • 04. A Prophecy
  • 05. Someone, Somewhere
  • 06. Breathless
  • 07. A Single Moment Of Sincerity
  • 08. Hey There Mr Brooks
  • 09. If You Can't Ride Two Horses At Once... You Should Get Out The Circus
  • 10. I Was Once, Possibly, Maybe, Perhaps A Cowboy King
  • 11. Morte Et Dabo
  • --Encore--
  • 12. Alerion
  • 13. The Final Episode

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