Tuesday, 1 December 2009

W.A.S.P. Live (2009) - Concert Review

Manchester Academy, Sunday 29th November 2009.

The Mephisto Waltz
On Your Knees
The Real Me
I Don't Need No Doctor
Scream Until You Like It
L.O.V.E. Machine
Babylon's Burning
Wild Child
Arena Of Pleasure
Chainsaw Charlie
The Idol
Take Me Up
I Wanna Be Somebody
Heaven's Hung In Black
Blind In Texas

Well, what can a guy say when he goes to see his heroes bring together metalheads young and old to lay waste to his hometown? Quite a bit actually, as W.A.S.P. are my favourite band of all time and this particular concert would mark the third time in my life that I have been able to catch the band on this side of the pond. I had last gone to see W.A.S.P. at the Academy 2 years previous during the Crimson Idol world tour and was witness to a truly special night. This time round, the band was promoting the newly released “Babylon” record and even my father decided to come along and check it out (tickets were only £16)! Really though, it’s all about Blackie Lawless, the dude being the only original member and main driving force. Everybody goes for Blackie; everybody screams their asses off for Blackie and Blackie fucking delivers in spades.

I arrived with my ‘ol man at about 6:40pm, doors being opened finally at 7pm much to everyone’s relief, as it was colder than a witch’s tit outside! We went straight upstairs to the main room and luckily I was able to get right to the front of the stage once again. My father decided to hang out of the crowd to the sidewall, put in his makeshift cotton earplugs and prepared to survey the madness…
The support band came on to “warm up” the slowly gathering crowd and they sucked a big fat one. Ugh, I don’t even want to give them any mention, but as a warning to future concert goers, it was the Glitterati. They were horrid, too loud and distorted to overcompensate for their lack of talent. Their songs were tedious and repetitive and their punk postures came across as really fake and quite frankly, corny. Luckily we only had to endure 40mins of their shit until they fucked off and cleared their gear. The Glitterati were about to learn some huge lessons in performance, crowd control and most importantly….METAL!

Soon enough, the concert hall fell into darkness and up rose the strains of “The Mephisto Waltz”, which sent shivers right up my spine, oh the anticipation, the excitement! On came the lights and through the smoke came Blackie Lawless, backed by guitarist Doug Blair, long serving bassist Mike Duda and awesome new drummer Mike Dupke. They launched straight into “On Your Knees” and everyone lurched forward almost immediately, fists pumping the air everywhere – it was a pure heavy metal moment and it never let up until the final note. Blackie as always was pitch perfect, just sounding as he does on all the band’s records, his guitar playing (though sweating profusely) was first rate as usual also. He was completely and utterly mesmerising and had he crowd in the palm of his hand all night, I just could not pull my eyes away from the guy – he is my god – The only times my loving gaze was broken was when Doug Blair would fly into a super solo and drop my jaw. Speaking of Doug he was using an impressive array of guitars for this gig. There was one that featured a rotating buzz-saw scratch plate and one that lit up with a stain-glass window effect. They were gorgeous and my father didn’t stop raving about them during the journey home. Doug also seemed to remember me from last time, as I was in exactly the same place and I think he clearly noticed my total appreciation for his talents on the axe. He smiled a lot, really enjoying himself and proceeded to throw guitar pics at my head most of the night, until one finally happened to find its way into my mouth! I also got some of Blackie sweat on me again (yeah, I know that may sound kind of gross but I don’t care) and he threw a towel and water bottle into the crowd – Seriously, if the guy had pissed in a bottle and given it to me personally, I would have drank that genius juice right down!

So, after losing my voice, my hearing, getting a few whacks to the head and sweating my ass off, all was said and done. A great night again that never once failed to satisfy. I also ended up next to a really hot chick who at one point gave my butt a nice squeeze during the rip-roaring “Blind In Texas” encore! On the way out I unfortunately saw some people who I knew from the town where I work and thought it best to grab my pops and jet. One person being a dude I fought in a pub toilet, which got me barred.

If I could be critical in any way, I’d say that it would’ve been great to hear more cuts from “Inside The Electric Circus” and “The Headless Children” and that Blackie hadn’t decided to censor himself! Apparently he’s become a bit more religious and has cut out swearing from songs and refuses to play “Animal (Fuck Like A Beast)” anymore. I have no real problem with any of this, as swearing isn’t really necessary, especially with younger kids present and the rest of the material in streets ahead compared to “Animal” anyway. But it did seem to take an edge off the performance. The raw aggression and infamous attitude toned down…again, I must stress that this is no real gripe. I loved every second, every minute and I didn’t want it to end. W.A.S.P. are a superb, tight live act that everyone into metal should make sure that catch at some point. Who knows when Blackie will call it quits? Hopefully, not for a very long time yet…



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