Live Reviews

LIVE REVIEW: Asking Alexandria, SHVPES, KOKO, London, 16/08/2016

Before the controversy of that interview virally spreading through social media, we went to see Asking Alexandria at their pre-festival warm up show in London. (We already know they can smash up hotel rooms like the rock stars they are, but did they kill it on the night before that video had a chance to potentially kill their career?)

When we arrived at the venue, the queue of tweenie rock boppers appeared to stretch from Camden High Street to the venue itself, visually boasting it’s sold out status. For those not accustomed to KOKO it’s a deceptively small venue, despite its multi-storey balcony set up. Everyone in the standing area, seemed to be getting high on each others sweat molecules and needing to circle pit to their own renditions of ‘emo classics’ to cool themselves down.

After half an hour of this, SHVPES came to save the day, interrupting the end of an apt, My Chem’ Ro’s “teenagers scare the living shit out of me.” To give the room credit, the energy was overflowing into the fountain of youth, ready to hear the modern soundtracks to their angst. We felt like proud parents, looking at the new generation of little rock monsters. It’s a shame Ben Bruce couldn’t make it due to the imminent birth of his baby daughter, because this would have been great babysitting practice. (We’re just kidding!)

SHVPES waste no time in sucking up the vibrating energy and spitting it back twice as hard with False Teeth,  instantly creating a circle pit. Griffin Dickinson brings Limp Bizkit style vocals back, with a new-age sound to each song. His sassy stage presence, diving into an adoring crowd and jumping onto amps, was perfectly narcissistic enough for a lead and had everyone eating out of the palm of his hand. With 5 members, the stage looked a little crowded and clumsy and had some of the boys looking like spare parts; however what they lacked in space they didn’t lack in technical ability and hit their stride with new single Two Minutes of Hate (which may have been our favourite song of the entire night!) Ryan Hamilton’s melodic undertones married Griff’s harsh vocals. Matched with Youssef Ashraf’s guitar shreds and Harry Jenning’s aggressive beats on encore Shvpes; the band really came together and embraced their darker material and delivered a tight and unique show. With their new album out on the 14th October, it won’t be long before these guys will be headlining. Watch this space.

Asking Alexandria were left in the hands of frontman Dennis Stoff, with Ben Bruce’s temporary departure. Sceptical at first, we were pleasantly surprised as the Ukranian metalcore singer held his own. He delivered right from the get go with opener I Won’t Give In, also the band’s first single featuring the new line up (post-Danny departure.) Other showcasers from their new album, The Black, were aggressive belters Let It Sleep and self- titled The Black. Mixing their new material with their bread and butter hits, Not The American Average and The Prophecy caused a concoction of mayhem and the room consistently erupted. Although the technical performance was on point, the onstage  chemistry felt a little lacklustre against the electric pink light show. Songs from the band’s Reckless And Relentless days, Closure and To The Stage, fell a little flat and unless you were in the pit, they didn’t suck you in. The band closed hard and the crowd Stand Up And Scream(ed) for encore classic The Final Episode, their best song of the night and crowd favourite.

Their new material brings Asking Alexandria back to their roots, oddly down a new but promising path; but will technical and musical ability outshine the shadows of the band’s past behaviour? Their live shows are like a cult and we can’t deny these guys know how to work their crowd of worshippers –  we were certainly banging our head to a few tunes. The show was a good effort from the boys without Ben, but on the whole was a little average.

Love them or hate them we don’t think they will going anywhere, armed with their new album. Want to catch Asking Alexandria live? The boys will be playing Reading & Leeds Festival this weekend.

5/10 (SHVPES saved the day!) 

Written by: Charly Phillips