It’s an average Friday evening on Camden High Street. Tourists make their way towards the tube station as the markets and shops begin to close, meandering their way through the crowds occasionally hounded by the small group of touts swarming around theElectric Ballroom, barking at everyone with a set of ears. Doors are late, the queue stretches right around the green market and fans who have been sat waiting since at least midday grow more and more impatient with every passing minute.
There is a slow trickle of fans making their way into and straight to the front of the venue. They certainly dress to impress at her shows. We see several in elaborate hand made costumes and most of the ladies have squeezed into corsets with frilly skirts and the all important stripey stockings.
The centre of the stage suddenly lights up to the sound of an alarm, the crowd scream and cheer at the top of their lungs followed closely by chants of “Emilie! Emilie! Emilie!” at the realisation that have just been warned. Emilie is coming for you. The air of pure, raw excitement and anticipation is on a level we’ve never experienced before. The minutes pass, and finally it’s show time, and by God, we really are in for a treat tonight. A silhouette appears centre stage, sword in hand. Emerging from the light is Bloody Crumpet #1Captain Maggots, Bloody Crumpets #2 and #3 theNaughty Veronica Varlow and the the Blessed Contessa follow suit, making their way onto the stage. Another silhouette appears; a pointy head, claws and a tail. This can only mean one thing. Emilie has arrived! With the Bloody Crumpetsstood as if possessed, arms stretched up high, hypnotically swinging tea bags in the air, Emilie creeps across the stage, the haunting melodies of 4 O’ Clock echoing through the Ballroom. I’m thankful to be wearing earplugs as the crowd erupts into applause and cheering as the song ends.
The Crumpets retreat to the safety of the asylum bars as we encounter our first poem of the night, Dr. Stockill, before Emilie returns to the stage, free of her ratty exterior, clad in an impressive bejeweled headdress for the title track of her new
album Fight Like a Girl.This isfollowed by the dramatic and ragefulTime for Tea. With the aid of her handy dandy asylum wheelchair,Emilie treats us to the somewhat morbid but beautiful and mellow oldie The Art of Suicide.
Immediately the show turns back towards the dramatic with Take the Pill, Liar and God Help Meand another poem, the chilling How to Break a Heart, thrown in too.
A costume change is in order for the next half of tonight’s performance. A stunning burlesque performance byBloody Crumpet #2, Veronica Varlow, to the orchestral and industrial sounds of Dominant provides the perfect warm up to the cabaret inspired Girls, Girls Girls.
Due to other commitments our time here at Emilie Autumn’s show tonight has come to an end but not before a lesson in corruption and kissing from Madam’s Autumn and Varlow, a hilarious and outrageously hot display from both ladies that has two lads in front of me fighting for the best view, leaning in so far they were practically falling off of the stools on which they were perched like meerkats. Phwoar.
Kicking off tonight’s show is Vanity Draws Blood, the bands somewhat typical blend of metal core seems to go down well with the assembled crowd. While the music acts as a great start to the night we feel that their set on the whole is not something to get too excited about. Despite his use of floor space and crowd interaction, the second main vocalist comes across as a ‘spare part’, contributing little to the bands sound with vocals that can easily be and are perhaps better off being handled by one front man. With a bit of power behind their music, general tightening up and some actual presence,Vanity Draws Blood have the potential to be real crowd pleasers, especially with their final song The Useless, throwing in some really catchy clean vocal work from their drummer.
Doomed From Day One are next, renowned for their seamless mix of hardcore, death metal and alternative/progressive elements, they have rapidly ascended in the UK underground scene and their performance was held with high anticipation tonight, as ever they do not disappoint. Though the crowd has thinned during the change over, they waste little time getting down to business. Unfazed by the current lack of an audience, front man Sean Scott takes advantage of the space to get in the faces of those who are stood idle, in an effort to entice some movement out of them during Pretending. He expresses his clear frustration for the lack of crowd interaction with the comment of “take a few steps forward, I’d understand if there was a circle
pit or a mosh but there isn’t” before powering into fourth song Depths of Imagination. It’s truly disappointing to see people turning up to shows to mostly just stand there blank-faced and seemingly disinterested in the bands they have paid money to see. Doomed From Day One offer consistently tight performances (although lacking in physical presence), a prime example as to why they are making an impact in the current scene.
We Die Tonight take their place on the small stage ready to take the night back in the direction of metal core, albeit more melodic than Vanity Draws Blood. The intro plays, immediately presenting the heavier side of their sound, with gutteral vocals and slow chuggy riffing, leading straight into opening song Salt in the Shark Bite followed closely by Put this to Rest. We Die Tonight are sound musically and clearly have passion for what they do, on record. However, this doesn’t appear to translate too well through their live performance, which seems to be lacking something. However, despite the
slight air of disappointment surrounding their set, there is a noticeable change for the final two songs Game On and Best Dressed in Blasphemywhere it feels like the band really started to show their true potential, coming off as we’d initially anticipated.
Main support are The Last Legion, from the word go there is a lift in the atmosphere for the first time tonight, though this could largely be due to the fact they have the biggest crowd presence of the night too. Rattling through their first few songs with ease and passion, bringing inSean Scott as guest vocals for fourth song A Heroes Trial, adding a lot of depth to their sound, followed closely by Idols & Anchorsfamed by Australian metal core heavyweights Parkway Drive which goes down a treat, finishing up with their newest song Niagara to which there is some real movement from the crowd for the first time tonight, including several girls getting stuck in with the pit. Sadly though, not even this mustered up any motivation for others to get stuck in.
Originally set to headline tonight were Silent Screams who unfortunately had to pull out for various reasons, but a fitting replacement was found in the form of Against the Flood, another band currently making waves in the UK underground scene. Tonight’s show is considerably more low key in comparison to their last visit, in support of Heart in Hand. Nevertheless, there is a decent crowd left and we feel it’s fairly safe to say that the night ended with several newly turned fans in hand for Against The Flood. They powered through their set consisting solely of songs from the debut albumHome Truths, opening songs Sleepless and Idle Handswould have you think Against the Flood are your standard teched up hardcore band, however by the third song Roads you can tell there’s definitely something more to this band than meets the eye. Following tracks A Promise in Gold and Turn Towards the Sky see the introduction of this ‘something’, a somewhat unexpected addition of melodic guitar parts on top of their usual mix of crushingly heavy but bouncy riffing.
There is no idol chitchat or time wasting between songs. Though the crowd is thinning, front man Matt Church repeatedly instructs the remaining audience to lose their minds to which it seems they’ve finally understood and both band and crowd release a final burst of energy for final songs Upon Red Shores and Left with Us, ending the set just as strongly as it had started. Against the Flood’s performance is a noticeable step up from the rest of the bands here tonight, being the only band in which all members push to do more than jump on the spot or head bang for a few seconds.
Against the Flood are one of those bands we’ve had to witness live to fully understand why there’s been so much hype surrounding them, we feel they have a lot more to offer with their live show and given a bit more room and a livelier crowd we think they would definitely take full advantage of the opportunity. With a refreshing lack of sub-drops and the provision of melodic twists and turns throughout their set as well as a consistently tight musical performance, we can firmly say that Against the Flood are far from disappointing and a band you should check out given the chance to.
Given the laclustre support of the majority of the audience tonight, it is a credit to all bands that they played as well as they did. Bands are born and made by their local scenes, which are rapidly dying and tonight displayed a huge reason as to why. As accurately described by Doomed From Day One front man earlier on in the night, the atmosphere here tonight was comparable to that of a funeral. It should go with out saying that all shows, big or small, thrive off the energy of the crowd as well as the bands. So next time you go to a home show, support your local bands and scene, don’t stand there like a fucking lemon and get involved!
For most, it would seem a tad unusual that there is only one support band for a show in a venue such as the Islington Academy, for us though, it makes perfect sense considering who tonight’s headliners are. One of the most iconic bands to ever grace this Earth, pioneers of the horror-punk subgenre, the one and only, The Misfits.
Taking to the stage dead on time are Chicago punk rock trio JuiceheaD, the crowd cheer loud as the band make their way on stage and immediately get stuck into their first song of the night quickly followed by their second. While the band seemingly go down well with the crowd, I personally feel that the music is far too monotonous and quite frankly uninteresting, even for a punk rock band. A usual blend of fast paced snare heavy drumming, husky vocals and one tone guitar, does little arouse my usual love of punk music. Regardless, they are received well by the crowd and serve as a good warm up for the icons who will take to the stage soon after.
A brief changeover full to the brim with cheering as the impressive stage set is unveiled, chants of “Misfits! Misfits! Misfits!”and the occasional squeal of excitement from fans on the far side as they catch glimpses of front manJerry Onlystomping his foot, psyching himself up for the show that is now only minutes away. Before we know it,Onlyhas wandered across the stage, closely followed by drummer Eric “Chupacabra” Arceand guitarist Dez CadenaofBlack Flagfame.
Boasting an impressive 37 song set, they waste no time kicking into opening songsThe Devil’s Rain, Vivid RedandLand of the Dead. They relentlessly pummel the crowd with another 14 songs before everyone really starts to get into it and enjoy themselves, after a quick change of instrumentsOnlysimply says the word‘psycho’and the crowd let out a roar of excitement, it seems, finally we will be hearing some of the classics.
WithOnlybeing the only remaining original member ofthe Misfitsand never having been a vocalist during this time, many fans would argue that the band before us are no longerThe Misfitsbut a tainted, watered down gimmick of the former horror punk kings. Many feel as thoughOnlyis not up to par and does not do theGraves/ Danzigera’s any justice. It is pretty clear to me that these fans are sadly mistaken as the band play through the remainder of their set consisting of classics; American Psycho, Scream, Halloween, Skulls, Where Eagles Dare, Hatebreeders, We Bite, Mommy! Can I go out and kill tonight?, All Hell Breaks Looseand We Are 138.The lights go dark and the band have disappeared, a quick two minute breather before they return for an encore of more classics;Descending Angel, Hybrid Moments, Cryin’ on a Saturday Night(at the which time, a big bearded tech insisted I slow dance with him!) and the last song of the night, the one song that everybody knows, the song that every member of the crowd was singing at the top of their lungs to,Die, Die, My Darling.
With that, the set ended andOnlyleft the stage to join the crowd at the barrier. He made his way up and down the barrier several times, signing autographs, posing for photos and thumbing his eye make up onto the foreheads of fans. It seems as though he stayed there, signing autographs until the venue had emptied a half hour later, after 30+ years, it is remarkable to see a band who still has so much respect for their fans.
Arriving at the Empire just as doors open, there is a tangible collective sigh of relief and a buzz of excitement from the long line of fans eagerly awaiting the warmth of the venue and of course, the highly anticipated Khaos over Europe tour. Some would say that tonight’s line up is a bit of an odd one, with Taiwanese metallers Chthonic, whose political stance both within music and their personal lives have had them banned from most areas of China, opening up the show, Warbringer, a band hailing from the birthplace of Thrash Metal displaying a big middle finger to all present day strains of the genre and of course, the female fronted Scandinavian heavy weights that everyone is here to see tonight, Arch Enemy. Regardless of how the lineup may appear, we are promised a night of good old fashioned heavy fucking metal.