Live: Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Strange Bones and Yonaka – London, 30.03.17

LIVE REVIEW: Asking Alexandria, KOKO London 16/08/16

English rock giant Asking Alexandria (joined by Shvpes) took to the stage last night at Camden’s KOKO London only to be greeted by the iconic atmosphere of the esteemed area.

Before the first act even began playing the crowd seemed more rowdy and hungry than ever, blaring choruses to rock classics and instigating and mosh-pit or two whilst the tech were still even setting up, making Shvpes‘ arrival all the more felt.

The metal quintet from Birmingham have recently been through the mill themselves, undergoing a whole reshaping and branding of the band, they’ve had to really put in a shift to create a new name for themselves and reinstate their cytota-status… So with their willingness and the crowd’s vehemence in mind they certainly packed a real punch.

Despite only having a half-hour(ish) set they still managed to electrify and energise an excitably ecstatic crowd with mosh pits, circle pits and an incalculable amount of crowd-surfers! Aptly whetting the appetites of the sold out KOKO London.

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It is to be noted that fan-favorite Ben Bruce (lead guitar/vocals) was sadly absent for this show (and for the entirety of the short Euro-tour in light of the immanent birth of his baby girl).

The loss of such a maverick did indeed leave a big Ben Bruce shaped gap on the stage but it was made up for “tenfold” by the rest of the band’s buoyancy and the hunger of the fans.

So half an hour after the closing of Shvpes‘ set, the ambiance of Asking Alexandria dawned upon the venue like an infectiously viral reticence, silently articulating the buzz and excitement for the rockstars’ arrival.

The band’s mere presence sparked an explosion of exhilaration as Denis stood the crowd up and got them going early; before the drop of I Won’t Give In caused the gates of hell itself to open.

Shortly after, the band threw it back to the pre-Danny exodus with big hitters Run Free and The Death of Me which went down exceptionally well as the jumping and the screaming ensued. This also made light of Denis’ increasingly more and more Worsnop-esque vocal range.

Albeit, still not quite as prolific as the ex-frontman but Denis is starting to look so much more comfortable as an Asking Alexandria singer – far from how he looked when he started, meaning no more mic cupping and actually singing songs now. He’s growing into Danny’s massive boots a little more each performance and foregrounding just how effectively and without hassle Asking Alexandria are moving on from the previous vocalist.

The next two songs, Let it Sleep and Closure showed the crowd that this setlist was going to be a nicely varied medley of AA generations. Veering through The Black and then right round to Reckless and Relentless Asking Alexandria stick to their guns and keep the golden oldies going, to no complaint of the fans of course as they continue to mosh and rock on without signs of mercy.

If you’re a regular at Asking Alexandria‘s concerts you’ll be used to the intermission where Ben Bruce gives it the Freddy Mercury styled crowd control with a few “wo-ohs” before his own Bruce-spin, where the crowd usually insults his Asking Alexandria counterparts in unison, however with no Ben, this wasn’t to be.

Luckily, bassist Sam Bettley emerged from the shadows to fill the gap to make an announcement in light of what he described as “the elephant in the room” (or more appropriately, the one that wasn’t in the room). Sam ran us through the absence then generously incited a big round of applause for the stand-in guitarist who he invited out on stage.

After an insanely energetic and internally eclectic evening of music, Asking Alexandria rounded the occasion off with an even further throwback than the last, in the form of signature songs, Not the American Average and A Prophecy before closing the night with their encore and most predictably well received song The Final Episode.

In conclusion, Asking Alexandria absolutely smashed the show last night. Small venue? No problem. No Ben? No problem. The band are so procedurally brilliant at what they do,  it’s become a habit to arrive and amaze wherever they go.

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