LostAlone and Fearless Vampire Killers at the Sound Circus, Bournemouth (14/08/2013)

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There are some tour line-ups which simply seem so perfect that it’s a wonder no-one has ever thought of them before and this particular co-headline tour is definitely one of them. LostAlone and Fearless Vampire Killers are an unusual pair of bands who both serve up their hard rock with a large dose of theatricality, albeit in very different ways. Fearless Vampire Killers back their music with a concept of a fictional world called Grandominia and dramatic stage makeup and costumes, whereas LostAlone favour a simpler stage presence, and save the theatrically for their dramatic guitar riffs and unusual stage antics. Both bands have built up excellent reputations with their energetic and joyous live shows. Together, they’ve performed a whistle-stop tour of the seaside towns of the UK which comes to a close tonight in the Bournemouth Sound Circus, in what promises to be a great show and certainly one to remember.

However, there’s little sign of any greatness from support act DEAD earlier on in the evening. Their raw, punk aesthetic doesn’t sit terribly well with the polished theatricality of the bands they’re supporting and occasionally it degenerates into simply being noisy and messy for no good reason. This is not helped by the fact that very few of the punters in attendance bother to stir themselves from the Sound Circus’s extremely comfy sofas to actually watch DEAD, resulting in a set almost completely devoid of atmosphere. This band take this in good part though, and they do reveal a couple of catchy songs in their arsenal near the end of their set, which gives the feeling that, with some of their raw edges smoothed off and a more co-operative crowd DEAD could well be a decent live band. Unfortunately, they’re not quite there yet.

First headliners on tonight’s bill are the Fearless Vampire Killers and they come out all guns blazing, obviously determined to whip up the overheated and lethargic crowd. Sadly, the practically tropical conditions inside the Sound Circus are not exactly conducive to the wild dancing the band seem to expect from the crowd and they initially seem to struggle. However, frontmen Kier Kemp and Laurence Beveridge are not willing to accept anything less than euphoria from the crowd tonight and their persistence soon pays off, with the combination of Laurence’s breezy camp charm and Kier’s frankly ridiculous amounts of charisma and stage presence teasing smiles and fist pumps from even the grumpiest members of the crowd. Kier especially is astonishingly good tonight, his performance of fan favourite’ Bow Ties On Dead Guys’ is easily the highlight of the set and gets the reaction of the night from the crowd, who lose their minds en masse as the first chord rings out. Not to be outdone, Laurence wraps things up with ‘Could We Burn Darling?’ and in doing so, rounds out a set that most bands would be foolish to even attempt to follow.

Luckily though, LostAlone are not most bands, and they’re more than equal to the challenge that the Fearless Vampire Killers have set them. Their performance is absolutely phenomenal from the first song, as vocalist and lead guitarist Steven Battelle leaps out into the crowd and performs an incredibly long and complicated guitar solo in the midst of the audience, nearly knocking out a couple of audience members with the neck of his guitar. It’s a suitably unique start to LostAlone’s set and the energy levels remain high throughout as they whiz through a selection of their spacey, high concept anthems, including the fantastic ‘ Creatures’. There are clear influences from Muse, My Chemical Romance and a whole host of other rock greats in LostAlone’s music, but live, it’s hard to compare them to anyone else. There are several points during the show where you can’t help but worry for Steven’s safety as he flings himself around the stage, but his vocals never falter for even a second. As the evening draws to a close and LostAlone finish things with the rousing and anthemic ‘Love Will Eat You Alive’ they’re joined on stage by the Fearless Vampire Killers for a perfect finish to their set.

Expectations for this gig were high and fortunately neither of the headliners disappointed in the slightest, with both of them delivering top of their game performances that made for an evening that was memorable for all the right reasons.

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