Well, after a really hot three days over the Easter break here in the UK, the dull weather has returned. This did not stop eager fans of LA rap-rockers Hollywood Undead and Liverpool-based UK band Loathe, who queued up early to get as close as possible to the barricade in front of the stage to witness these two quality acts perform.
When you see that red glow of the lights it can only mean one thing, that one of the UK’s finest bands Loathe are about to hit the stage. They have a new album en route very soon via Sharptone Records.
Loathe are just one of those acts I’ve taken photos of and witnessed many times before. To see them grow from small venues and now playing to roughly 3,000 people at London’s O2 Academy Brixton the other night, and tonight at the O2 Academy Bristol, has been overdue. Finally, they are on a stage playing to crowds of this size on a tour such as this. It is where Loathe belong and that’s a fact! With the lights red and that downtuned lush guitar tone, Bristol was in for a treat. Lead vocalist Kadeem France has the charisma and style to entertain the crowd whilst, during the performance, jumping down into the press pit and going over the barrier and into the audience on a couple of occasions. He got right in the middle of the pit and stuck in with the fans mobbing him.
Tracks from the band that are truly on point for me are “White Hot,” “Sheol/In Death,” and “P.U.R.P.L.E.” You can’t tell me you don’t bang your head along to these! Their unique sound is so fresh to hear right now which sets them apart from so many bands, in my opinion. In true Loathe fashion, they delivered a blistering set with some old favorites and some new tunes where it was nice to hear Erik Bickerstaffe supplying vocals for some choruses, with a slight Deftones sound to his vocal delivery – just superb. Halfway through, vocalist Kadeem asked for all the lights to be dimmed and for the fans to get their phones out and light up the venue with a mix of lighters. The crowd accepted the invite and lit the venue up. The sight was amazing. Also, with guitarist Connor Sweeney’s roundhouse kicks and awesome stage presence makes this band one to watch for the future with all members giving it their all in this performance. With Sean Radcliffe handling the hard-hitting rhythm section with his catchy beats can only make you nod your head and/or mosh to the infectious grooves this band has. If you are not aware of Loathe, then may I suggest checking out a few videos on YouTube or listening on Spotify.
Straight out mayhem from the start, Hollywood Undead‘s first three songs had everyone singing along while all coming out one by one onto the stage when their vocal part started. Before you knew it, all the members where onstage giving it their all, starting with “Whatever it Takes” from the album ‘V.’ Fans’ fists were in the air and singing so loud it sounded like the crowd were part of the act. Every song thereafter had the crowd singing loud and proud. It was hard to know where to look for me to take photos (let alone the audience) trying to keep up with all the antics. The band were picking up guitars for a song, then handing it back to a guitar tech. Pyro was going off left, right, and center from the second song “California Dreaming” with the air raid siren and the new sounding intro before that catchy guitar riff. Then fast paced drums and off we go onwards and upwards. Total hectic and chaos but in a controlled way. I’m not gonna lie, they totally blew me away for sure.
By the fourth song, a woman’s bra made it to the stage and ended up wrapped around a mic stand. Some proper 80’s shit going on here. The last time I saw that would have been with Bon Jovi, which actually will be mentioned later again.
Before attending, I didn’t know much about them but was aware of them. I thought it was just gonna be rap-rock with a backing track, but how wrong was I? With members picking up lead and bass guitars and switching back and forth with the crew for their next weapon of choice tuned and ready for battle – Bam! Back in with another catchy tune. I prefer the slightly heavier side to Hollywood Undead, but when you see this band live, it did not matter as they won me over with a flawless performance. Also, by not skimping on the use of pyro, especially when I was in the press pit taking photos, was awesome!
They are also very humble and called a fan up on stage to play guitar with the band. The gentleman started playing and the guy didn’t really know the track, so he whispered into Charlie Scene’s ear and asked if he could play “Comin in Hot,” to which the band agreed. And I must say the fan did a pretty decent job, but I don’t think Hollywood Undead will be calling him anytime soon.
The drummer did an amazing solo, really short thankfully, and I don’t mean because it was crap. I’m a drummer, but I hate long drum solos. It was nice, short, and executed spot-on. Then vocalist and guitarist Johnny 3 Tears asked him to do an air drum solo, which was a funny moment, but they didn’t give up there. They then asked the drummer to do a vocal solo, so he did “Living on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi with the crowd singing along, and it actually sounded good.
This was an outstanding night for sure. From time to time, especially on the mellower songs, I was not into it but they ended with an encore with the loudest cheer I’ve heard in the O2. To get a band back out and finishing with “Everywhere I Go” and “Day of the Dead” was perfection.
After some messing around for the drummer, the band got stuck in to finish the night with a true class performance. The confetti were going off o’ plenty in the audience, and the amount of songs these die-hard fans knew was amazing. I don’t think I heard one song where you could not hear fans singing along – wow! If you haven’t made your mind up to go, I suggest going along even if to only check out the boys from Loathe.
Until next time, enjoy looking through the photos and checking out what else is on Metal Nexus. And do check back as I have some great shows coming up. Go get your mosh on…