Live music is one of the most amazing things you can experience. I remember when I was first getting into music and the shows that changed my life, that gave me that excitement, and that energy was in the air. Seeing bands like Iron Maiden, AFI, 30 Seconds to Mars, Slipknot and more recently Black Sabbath all for the first time are things I’ll never forget, because it was a chance for me to see bands that mean the world to me, the way they were intended.
Tonight the O2 Brixton Academy feels like another of those shows, but for the next generation. This is the London, and arguably the biggest thus far, date on the current ‘Betraying Alexandria While She’s Motionless tour’, featuring headliners Asking Alexandria alongside While She Sleeps, Motionless In White and Betraying the Martyrs. In many ways this show feels like a game changer, and there is a definitely a big vibe in the air.
Up first are French metal band Betraying The Martyrs, who waste none of their criminally short set time, and they kick up an absolute storm. They benefit tonight from going out in front of a crowd that is so ridiculously up for tonight. Within 15 minutes, there were more onstage gymnastics than Louis Smith managed in the whole Olympic games, and down on the floor there was bouncing, flying clothes, circle pits and a gnarly wall of death that made 300 look like a playground scrap. Pretty impressive stuff for a band that is pretty unfamiliar to these shores.
Next up it’s time for the Creatures to come out and play, and judging by the amount of Motionless In White t-shirts there are in the audience, there seems to be a fair amount of them in the building tonight. Brixton had better be prepared for what is about to hit them, as Motionless In White step foot onstage all hell breaks loose. Opening their set with a thunderous ‘If it’s dead, we’ll kill it’ the band barely pauses for breath, knowing that their time is limited They play with a ferocity and tightness that suggests this may be the last show they ever play. Front man Chris Motionless is a star in the making and the way he controls an audience that isn’t his is a sight to behold. The newer material from the band’s current album “Infamous” hits the mark in the live arena, with the likes of ‘Black Damask’ and ‘Underdog’ hitting particularly hard. The biggest moments of the set come during the band’s two biggest anthems ‘Immaculate Misconception’ and ‘Devil’s Night’ which ignites the crowd into mass sing-alongs. Tonight Motionless In White came, they saw and they converted the mass. Absolutely incredible stuff from a band that will headline here sooner rather than later. Now is the time to join their cult.
Tonight’s main support slot goes to While She Sleeps, who also have a fair few supporters in the crowd tonight. From the minute the band hits the stage to the minute they leave, they give the crowd every single ounce of energy, sweat and passion they possess. Opening with a spine tingling ‘Until the Death’ the stage is set for something special and this is exactly what we get tonight, exciting, vicious and utterly spellbinding. While She Sleeps are the best band that Britain currently has to offer, and possibly the most exciting and chaotic live band its birthed since Gallows ripped itself from its womb. Front man Lawrence Taylor, shirtless and wild eyed throws himself across the stage like the love child of Iggy Pop and Charles Manson, proving himself to be one of the great young frontmen of his generation. Based on the evidence of tonight’s show, which ends with Lawrence stage diving into the audience below, coupled with the increasing level of quality from the bands recorded output, it’s only a matter of time that While She Sleeps conquer the world
Asking Alexandria are either naïve to the fact that the 3 bands before them are all utterly brilliant or they are stupidly confident in order to want to follow what has come before them tonight. Seeing the show they have prepared for tonight makes you feel that it is probably the latter. Bringing what is essentially a stadium rock show into an academy venue is no easy task but tonight Asking Alexandria step up to the challenge and put on an adrenaline fuelled rock show. On record Asking Alexandria may be a bit hit and miss, but live the band really comes into their own. It also helps that Asking Alexandria have a hardcore fanbase that are hanging on every little thing the band does and tonight the energy and the vibe in the building is electric.
It’s easy to see that Asking Alexandria are clearly a hard working band and they know what they are doing as when the tunes hit, they hit hard. Tracks like ‘Not the American Average’, ‘Breathless’ and ‘A Prophecy’ are all monstrous live, and the 3 track set dedicated to their mini movie ‘Sin and Self Destruction’ is a masterstroke in the middle of the set, all this amid pyro, explosions and plenty of shape throwing antics.
Tonight’s show is being filmed for an upcoming DVD as well, which means that both band and fans gives themselves a little extra push, and as such carnage does unfold with the finale of ‘Final Episode (Let’s Change the Channel)’ bringing things to an explosive ending. It ensures that everyone has had an amazing night, whilst also leaving them wanting more. Although there are moments where the set falls flat and some of it feels a bit mechanical, the majority of it is brilliant and feels like another triumph for British music.
Four great bands and a great firework show brings this Saturday night to a very loud and successful end. Showing that in 2013, we have a lot to look forward to if these four bands represent the future of our genre.
Photograph taken by Adam Elmakias