Black Veil Brides are a band who are loved and hated in equal measure. Derided as make-up-wearing rip-off merchants in some corners, but heralded as nothing less than the second coming by their devoted army of fans, they’re a ‘marmite’ band. You can love them or hate them, but almost every rock fan has a strong opinion about them. However, their performance at the o2 Guildhall, Southampton last night showed that those who hate them might have to come up with some more compelling arguments, because those guys can put on one hell of a show.
Support act Fearless Vampire Killers certainly got the crowd nicely revved up for the evening’s proceedings. Their spectacular theatrical gothic rock was a hit right out of the gate with the crowd, who seemed almost as pleased to see them as they were to see the main act. They shot through a short, energetic set, which showcased several tracks from their yet to be released new album ‘Unbreakable Hearts’. New singles ‘Maeby’ and ‘Neon in the Dancehalls’ were particularly popular with the audience and made it clear that ‘Unbreakable Hearts’ will be an absolutely unmissable album when it’s released in November.
Next up were Attila, a band from Georgia who blend death metal and hip hop to form a sub-genre of music they call party-death-metal. It sounds ridiculous, and in many ways it is. You could make the argument that Attila were a poor fit on a bill mostly catering to the more melodic side of metal. You could also argue that a band whose main lyrical refrain is ‘Suck my fuck!’ don’t really belong at a show where the average attendee is 14. But, with all that said, Attila performed absolutely brilliantly, converting the many naysayers in the crowd with ease. All their songs sound a bit similar, but as performers they provided sheer, giddy entertainment value. After all, any band that enters the stage to confused indifference from the audience and yet still has that entire audience dancing, moshing and shouting along to lines like ‘666! Party with the devil bitch!’ not two songs later has to be doing something right.
Despite strong performances from both Attila and FVK, there was only one band the crowd were truly excited for and that was Black Veil Brides. They received a rapturous reception from the crowd and immediately launched into new single ‘Heart of Fire’, a heavy track with one of the most distinctive opening riffs the band have ever written. That kicked off a tremendous performance from the band that encompassed a decent selection of hits and fan-favourite tracks from all three of their studio albums, with a few new songs from their upcoming fourth self-titled album thrown in for good measure.
New track ‘Last Rites’ in particular showcased the band’s new, more classic rock-influenced direction and really showed off frontman Andy Biersack’s deep distinctive vocals. There was a treat for some of the older fans in the audience as the band performed ‘Coffin’ a little-heard, but much-loved track from their ‘Rebels’ EP. There was some fabulous musicianship on show from all members of the band, with guitarist Jake and drummer CC even managing to make their respective solos interesting to watch, a rare feat indeed. And of course there was Andy, demonstrating that he not only has an amazing voice but is a truly charismatic showman as well.
By the time the band’s encore came to a close with ‘In The End’ the hysteria in the crowd had reached critical levels: there was screaming, fist pumping, fainting and sometimes singing loud enough to drown out the band. All in all, it was an incredible show by a rock band who are at the top of their game and just keep going from strength to strength. If you do happen to be one of those people who’re on the fence about Black Veil Brides, make sure you get down to your nearest show and get ready to have your mind blown; before you know it you’ll be a full-blown recruit to the Black Veil Brides Army too.