LIVE REVIEW: Bad Omens, GHØSTKID, Oxymorrons, The Dome, London, 03/03/2023
Photo Credit: Oswaldo Cepeda
There is a very hot topic of conversation circulating the music scene at the moment and it is venues outrageous cuts they are taking out of the sales of band’s merch. From Monuments frontman Andy Cizek venting his justified frustrations of how much cut European venues are taking out of the slice of their merch, the band going so far as to refuse selling any merchandise in Greece after a staggering 47% cut was taken out of the total gross of the merch sales from their support date in Italy opening up for Leprous to Architects drummer Dan Searle chiming in on the dire state of the situation in a Twitter statement saying “Hey bands when are we gonna go on strike and get rid of these insane venue merch cuts? Or maybe we don’t play until we get a cut of the bar? Can we just get this done ASAP please?” As if getting back to international touring after a two year long global pandemic wasn’t hard enough, venues are making it even harder for bands to make a viable living out of hitting the road, when at the best of times, they are just about breaking even or in worse cases, making a loss out of bringing the live show to their fans.
And for Virginia’s Bad Omens, the story is probably all too similar. Whilst fans step inside the venue on the band’s first of three packed out nights at London’s The Dome and immediately flock to the merch table to purchase Bad Omens’ ‘Omens’ hoodie that clothes the back of every person who has ever uploaded a Just Pretend TikTok, causing the song to go viral on the video sharing social platform. It was subsequently the catalyst causing the band to sell out every single date on their UK leg of their Tour Of The Concrete Jungle, with the band being forced to updated multiple shows due to phenomenal demand, even for a band like Bad Omens, who have witnessed unprecedented success with their recent record, 2022’s THE DEATH OF PEACE OF MIND.
An album that presents an uncompromising and undeniable individual vision for a band that have long been chained to the shackles of their heavier sound previous albums Bad Omens and Finding God Before God Finds Me hailed them as, THE DEATH OF PEACE OF MIND reinvented and revitalised their sound and style with commercial pop sensibilities, inflicted with modern rock and metalcore elements. Bringing their delicate and devastating sound of THE DEATH OF PEACE OF MIND to the UK, Bad Omens prove they are the lions roaring at the top of the animal kingdom hierarchy, the true kings of the concrete jungle.
Bringing the rap-rock fire that bridges into hardcore punk from the streets of New York City, Oxymorrons below their practical joker, pigtail curling individual and collective personalities are a band with a strong political stance. “135 shows in and this is our first time here in the UK” says the bands Ashmy “KI” Bellevue, add being a band hailing from the US and relatively newcomers to the scene post a global pandemic and it’s clear to see why it has taken them so long to get to UK shores.
Hellbent on making up for lost time, the band rip roar through a setlist of some of their most stellar works to date, featuring standout Green Vision to one of the hottest collabs the scene has to offer in Definition, featuring the main man himself Jason Aalon Butler, a figurehead in launching the career of Oxymorrons into a different dimension and all round generous good guy.
Proving they are never too rock for hip-hop or never too hip-hop for rock, if their selection of Nirvana and Outcast tees was anything to go by, Oxymorrons are shouting loud for the silenced outcast voices of society in charismatic style and as “Two r’s, not one” chants ring around The Dome, the band being forced to alter the spelling of their name after German punk rockers Oxymoron refused to let the band take the title unless they coughed up $25,000 according to Dave “D” Bellevue, this version of Oxymorrons is a name you won’t be forgetting anytime soon. 10/10
Smothered head to foot in black body paint, goths answer to sleeveless muscle hoodies and coloured contact lenses, the child of Blind Channel, Motionless In White and Sleep Token otherwise seen as GHØSTKID delivers some scarily good shock factor to London by way of gothic cyber punk Germany.
The band, made up of GHØSTKID mastermind and ex Eskimo Callboy’s Sebastian “Sushi” Biesler and his clan that resemble something out of your favourite worst nightmare waste no time getting down and dirty with the crowd, their number one mission? To wreak havoc and cause absolute abomination with every single song such as opener FØØL to closer SUPERNØVA, GHØSTKID demanding everyone to get low for FØØL to guitarist Jappo van Glory and bassist Stainslaw Czywil menacingly charging into the crowd like raging bulls in a China shop, getting their sea of obeyers to create a wall of death around them as they ironically launch into START A FIGHT.
Like leaders of a rap-punk cult draped in gothic mystic, GHØSTKID have the crowd in the palm of their hands throughout, purely because everyone was perhaps scared to death of the consequences if they didn’t comply with their politely asked commands. 10/10
Prowling onto stage one by one amidst a red haze, an automated voice recording and the long-awaited pent-up hype of Just Pretend newcomers and Bad Omens diehards, drummer Nick Folio followed closely by bassist Jolly Karlsson and guitarist Nicholas Ruffilo. Then the moment vocalist Noah Sebastian steps out of the shadows, adorned his signature look of a black longline coat, matching turtle neck and singular leather fingerless glove and opens his mouth to mutter the first lyric from opener CONCRETE JUNGLE, “Can you see yourself through the bruises when the make-up melts?” Sebastian’s voice hums around The Dome, causing many spine tingles and echoes voices back, making many realise one song in that seeing Bad Omens play a 600-cap venue would be a thing of the past after their three-night sold out residency comes to a close at the end of the week.
“We’re Bad Omens and welcome to your tour of the concrete jungle” Sebastian concludes after the explosion of caged up frustrations and preserved energy he causes after screaming “AND I’M THE FUCKING KING” never dies after CONCRETE JUNGLE, unlike the rest of the setlist as Bad Omens whittle through their setlist wholly centred around their latest LP THE DEATH OF PEACE OF MIN. From the racing pulsating electronics of Nowhere To Go, hot TikTok hit Just Pretend and the sexy allure of THE DEATH OF PEACE OF MIND, Sebastian simultaneously whittles his way through less layers of clothes, going from black snowy winter sleek to sexy summer military, yet he gains one for ARTIFICIAL SUICIDE. Putting on a black balaclava branded with the bands DEATH, PEACE, MIND symbols, Noah Sebastian personifying Twenty One Pilots Tyler Joseph Car Radio style for three minutes and fourteen seconds of atmospheric pauses, glitchy neon lighting and anger fuelled growls for one of THE DEATH OF PEACE OF MIND’s heaviest live offerings.
Where Just Pretend has popularised Bad Omens, if TikTok didn’t exist in a strange alternate reality Glass Houses, Never Know, Mercy and Dethrone acted as die-hard Bad Omens calling to destroy The Dome with monstrosity causing mosh pits. Where Mercy saw a surprising Sam Carter of Architects on stage collab, two masters of metalcore and two kings of the concrete jungle at the top of the food chain to Sebastian roaring the words “CONCRETE JUNGLE” like a lion on the warpath, begging his crowd sized prey to shout the words back “LOUDER”, there was a time where Bad Omens existed before Just Pretend.
Throwing night one out party style, the dancer side to THE DEATH OF PEACE OF MIND closed out Bad Omens’ night one at The Dome. Sebastian opens the door to the Bad Omens’ frat party, Oxymorrons bounding onto stage as Sebastian puts in a session at the gym, performing push-ups on stage with ease. Praying hands and mouthed thank yous to fans round off Bad Omens’ night one down at The Dome on their three-show run in London. Bad Omens brought the concrete jungle crashing down in colossal style to the city.
Written By: Katie Conway-Flood