It’s always a bit of a double edged sword the first night of a big tour. Doesn’t matter how much practice time the bands put in, how good the sound guys are, how many live shows have gone before, the first night of a new line-up is always a bit of a ‘sink or swim’ moment. And that’s where we found ourselves last night at the O2 Academy 2 in Newcastle for the first show of the ‘Killing is Dead’ tour featuring The Dead Lay Waiting and headlined by Fearless Vampire Killers. Now, admittedly, I hadn’t heard of either of these bands before so after a bit of you tube research, they looked a bit emo and sounded a little more rock, so I felt I had an idea of what we were in store for. I’m not a huge fan of emo, I’ll be honest, I always saw it as a little too ‘the world hates me’and once you get past 24 that story’s a little naff. So truthfully I wasn’t looking to be impressed by the tour. I think I’ll entitle that misjudgement under ‘never judge a book by its cover’ and leave it at that.
We arrived a tad late into the arena and The Dead Lay Waiting were already in full swing. If these guys are emo then I’m a rubber duck, unless emo has managed to somehow shed its teenage angst image and emerged as a snarling hormone fuelled beast with blazing guitars, screemo edged vocals, and more attitude than you can shake a stick at! The crowd was young, but then so are the band members with their average age being only 19, and they loved them. These guys have spent a lot of time on stage, having cut their performing teeth by appearing at Bloodstock festival and twice at Download Festival, and it shows. The crowd interaction, which is so often stiff and hesitant, was full on with the lead singer often leaning into the screaming mass of youngsters, a far braver man than I. But he emerged unscathed and still wearing his clothes (having once been young and hormone driven I think he got away lucky) and hadn’t missed a beat of the song. I really enjoyed the ‘crawl of doom’ where the crowd was encouraged to crawl across the floor and mosh which they did with enthusiasm. The Dead Lay Waiting were raucous, lively, played some pretty heavy rock, and did exactly what any warm up act should do by whipping up the crowd ready for the headliners. Though I think I might be selling them short by classing them as a warm up act as they definitely have talent enough to be the stars of the show, and if the next band hadn’t been able to live up to and, at moments, exceed what had gone before they would have been.
As The Dead Lay Waiting took their leave, through the crowd, showering autographs like falling stars amidst their star struck fans we waited, in actual anticipation, for Fearless Vampire Killers to take to the stage. It was quite fun to watch some of the more over excited female fans let out a little shriek of excitement as soon as anyone went near the stage. Roadies and sound techs have never been so adored. When the band do come to the stage it is amidst a cloud of dust and darkness as the fans make more noise than 150 teenagers should be able to. If I was impressed by The Dead Lay Waiting I was more so by Fearless Vampire Killers. Harder music, stronger vocals, and the energy in the venue went through the roof. They too have are at ease with the crowd and enjoyed a little light flirtation and banter with the crowd. No teenage girl can resist being told she is beautiful by the handsome singer on stage, in fact what woman can? Flattery, as I say, will get you everywhere and they use it well as a little light relief while the guitars are restrung and the drummer catches his breath before blasting off again into another raise the roof anthem.
This was one hell of an opening gig and I could have watched these two bands play all night. The acts are well thought out with just enough gothic drama and theatrics without going overboard.
The tour continues throughout October and I can’t recommend highly enough that you get along to see them. 8.5/10
Words & photos – Helen Todner
The Killing The Dead Tour continues…
October 11th – O2 Academy 2, Newcastle
October 12th – Sugarmill, Stoke-on-Trent
October 13th – The Furnace, Swindon
October 14th – The Cellar, Southampton
October 15th – Cockpit 3, Leeds
October 16th – O2 Academy 2, Birmingham
October 17th – Civic Hall, Wolverhampton
October 18th – Revolution, Peterborough
October 20th – Corporation, Sheffield
October 21st – The George, Andover
October 22nd – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff
October 23rd – The Croft, Bristol
October 24th – Rock City, Nottingham
October 26th – The Crauford Arms, Milton Keynes (FVK only)
October 27th – Hallowe’en Zombie Ball @ The Phoenix – Exeter
October 29th – Chinnery’s, Southend
October 30th – Central Station, Wrexham
October 31st – Koko, London (with Wednesday 13)