Bullet For My Valentine and Asking Alexandria pulled their British Invasion Tour into Minnesota to put on a rock show at the Myth Nightclub in Maplewood. Having never seen either band and having what I would consider limited exposure to both I was intrigued at what this show is all about.
The Myth is a great venue for live music but is oddly surrounded by suburban fixtures Best Buy, Toys R Us and a full blown shopping mall which conveniently offers overflow parking. Once inside, the urban retail sprawl and gentrification of this Saint Paul suburb ends as you are immediately surrounded by black. After openers and fellow Brit’s While She Sleeps, Asking Alexandria took the stage. I had the pleasure of speaking with drummer James Cassells before the show during which he assured me new singer Denis Stoff was a more than capable replacement for Danny Worsnop who left a little over a year prior to focus on his new band We Are Harlot (who comes up with these names?) and will leave few missing Danny.
Opening with “I Won’t Give In” Asking Alexandria tore through a blistering set with the pace and subtlety of a jackhammer. I’m too old to keep up with all the sub-categories used to describe what genre metal bands fall under, so whether this is screamo or metal-core it is definitely metal as fuck. A tight as hell 45 minute onslaught with little breathing room. Playing the title track from their forthcoming release “The Black” was a personal highlight but the audience, more familiar with their catalog, seemed to go extra ape shit for show closers “A Prophecy” and “Final Episode”. Suffice it to say whether a relative newbie like myself or one of the many longtime fans shouting along with every song, your only complaint tonight would’ve been the sets brevity. With that the Asking Alexandria portion of the show was over.
Bullet For My Valentine is a band I’ve heard blaring from my daughter’s bedroom for some time. I was happy to find that some of it registered as I was familiar with a bit of their set list. Less brutal and more straight up metal, Bullet For My Valentine delivered a methodical yet rigorous set of dick hardening metal. I thought the opener “No Way Out” was a bit of a plodder to start a show with but based on their reaction, the crowd disagreed. For the next 90 minutes they delivered their brand of British metal to an all to accepting crowd. Singer Matthew Tuck is not the most charismatic front man. Taking the stage wearing a backwards baseball cap. It’s one thing to not be image conscious in a quite another to look like you don’t care at all. (A.K.A. the line between backwards ball cap and Lady Gaga is not a thin one.) But musically the band was dense and concise. Good metal. But seriously. Lose the hat. Drummer Michael “Moose” Thomas is sitting out for a bit to be with his wife as she gives birth to their child. Admirably filling is Axe Wound drummer Jason Bowd. While quite the capable drummer I’m not sure a drum solo from a fill in drummer was warranted. I’m not sure drum solo’s in general are necessary but I digress.
By the end of the night all were rocked. As the last notes of the song “Demon” rang out and the four gents from England thanked us for coming and said goodnight, a cattle call of sweaty teenagers made their way to the parking lot sufficiently rocked yet sadly returning to the gentrified world of Pizza Ranch’s, DSW’s and Chipotle’s. How’s that for subtext.
Check back with Decibel Geek to see my interview with Asking Alexandria drummer coming soon. And The British Invasion Tour will continue into the first weeks of March. Catch a show if it comes your way.
British Invasion Tour, Myth Nightclub February 17th 2016 Set list.
I Won’t Give IN
The Death Of Me
(Build Up) TO The Stage
Not The American Average
Bullet For My Valentine
No Way Out
Hands Of Blood