Winter bites hard in Wolverhampton as legions of W.A.S.P. fans patiently wait in the dark to get inside. The appetising band is Brazilian Shadowside, formed in 2001 and enjoying their first sojourn to England. Promotional material stresses the singer Dani Nolden but those expecting the typical female vocals associated with metal bands should be surprised. Nolden sings deeper, more masculine, almost like a teenage boy. It sounds particularly groggy live and the music itself is formulaic modern hard rock/heavy metal. The messy sound fails to improve matters. Despite Nolden’s enthusiasm and confident stage banter between songs, the audience is largely unimpressed and the bar is crowded, although there are some supporters at the front of the venue. The band performs material from both of their albums ‘Theatre of Shadows’ and ‘Dare to Dream’. They are fairly unimpressive to watch, with little of a stage presence or audience interaction. The music does not work on enough levels and feels starved of variation. Their slot length is a generous one that drags on too long. Supporting W.A.S.P. is a strong compliment but those who tout Shadowside as the ‘next big thing’ are being severely optimistic. They are not overtly offensive, just devoid of any interesting or new ideas.
Friday 26th November 2010
Wulfrun Hall in Wolverhampton, UK
Reviews by Elena Francis; Photography by Mark Holmes
The anticipation for the once-controversial Californians is asphyxiating and fans cannot be any more excited. An intro tape comprised of a medley of the band’s favourites actually forces people to spontaneously combust. As W.A.S.P. take the stage, exploding into ‘On Your Knees’ from their debut self-titled, the ovation rattles around the venue’s walls. Fortunately, the sound is noticeably better for the headliners than it was for Shadowside. The wildness of the opener is accompanied by frontman Blackie Lawless attired in black spandex, bounding around impressively for his age, snarling his vocals with the nastiness they deserve. He may not be hacking up meat and tossing it into the audience, accessorizing himself with blood, but Lawless still demands all the attention fixated on him. The rest of the band crawl the stage with similar tenacity as they unleash W.A.S.P.’s violent ‘80s metal to the ravenous crowd. The four-piece seamlessly glide into their cover of The Who’s ‘The Real Me’, retaining the same vigour as the opener. As the show unfolds, projector screens at the back display videos of the songs being performed, where possible, or clips relating to the song. The setlist boasts W.A.S.P.’s fan favourites pumped with meat from last year’s ‘Babylon’: ‘Crazy’ and ‘Live to Die Another Day’. Although these newer cuts are devoured entirely by the audience, the classics are what the beer-tinged horde is anticipating the most. The venomous ‘L.O.V.E. Machine’ raises the rafters as the congregation belt out the chorus; the guitar intro of ‘Wild Child’ forces everyone into rapture and the emotively-charged ‘The Idol’ gauges an equally powerful response. But the alcohol has truly penetrated the brain and destroyed all inhibitions as closer ‘I Wanna Be Somebody’ coerces the crowd into rapidly leaping up and down, crooning along to the heavy metal classic. Only after eight songs do the Californians vacate the stage, before returning after the sound of chainsaws being revved up, signalling for the relentless ‘Chainsaw Charlie’, crisp and ferocious in its execution. The mood then turns sombre as ‘Heavens Hung in Black’ from the more recent ‘Dominator’ album, complete with images of socio-political worldwide decay. However, the night does not end on a glum note; after all, this is a W.A.S.P. show. The inebriation concludes with a fantastic rendition of the indulgent ‘Blind in Texas’ of course, summing up the attitude of the show over all. The show is an exciting one and is testament that W.A.S.P. do not need to quit anytime soon. However, the truncated length of the set is bitterly disappointing and, given how long their career spans, W.A.S.P. need to play significantly longer shows. Eleven songs is not enough.
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