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Gorilla Gigs | Wednesday 13

If Mariah is the quirky Queen of Christmas then Wednesday 13 is the malicious Master of Halloween.

Returning to the U.K to promote his latest album Condolences and just in time to turn up the spook before the 31st, Wednesday 13 and his band of brothers arrived in London, like the cast in a Bela Lugosi movie, for the last night of their U.K tour, performing at O2 Academy Islington.

Opening the night, the atmosphere is set with hard-hitting doom rock from Courtesans; an all-female group with the firepower to take on the world. Cranking up the energy with their song Genius, the audience knows they’re in for a good night. Matching black body paint ties the band together and adds to their already dominating stage presence. Singer Sinead La Bella moves around the stage, dreadlocks swinging, wearing a flannel shirt marked with activist slogans and messages. The stage is hers and we’re welcome for her to have it. After a great set, the band say their generosity filled goodbyes. Courtesans are the band I hope for in opening acts; a group who grab my attention and make me want more.

A very quick stage turnaround and the crowd are ready for their next band, the reason we’re all here, our headliners Wednesday 13. A chant of “Wednesday” fills the hall and then out go the lights and the band takes to the stage, kicking off their hour and a half long set with What The Night Brings, their first full song from their latest record. Moody lighting, gritty vocals, pounding bass and addictive guitar riffs bring the night alive - this is what I've been waiting for.

Heading into the past with Scream Baby Scream, tribal-like drums intro the song before intense lighting floods the stage, giving us the first real glimpse of the band in all their glory. Wednesday adorned in a red military jacket with accompanying cane and his band members in all black; a ringmaster owning the stage with a gang of disciples at his command. This song, a fast-paced classic from the band, definitely has the audience's attention.

From the photo pit, I glance away from Wednesday’s addictive and comically camp facial expressions to see the crowd going crazy. You could just about hear them screaming along over the sound of Roman Surman’s incredibly mastered lead guitar. It sounds just as fresh as the first time I heard it live. It’s a heavy, hard-hitting, horror-filled staple of any metal.

Next up we’re going intergalactic with Keep Watching The Skies, my personal favourite from the band's Monsters of the Universe: Come Out and Plague, followed by Cadaverous. Two intense songs that always get people moving. Cadaverous went down very well; one of the more heavier songs from the latest album but definitely one we’ll be seeing in future setlists, in my opinion.

Addressing the venue with the obligatory shout-outs to London, we move swiftly on to the next song. Harking back to the early days and Wednesday’s old band Frankenstein Drag Queens from Planet 13, we’re presented with RAMBO. Bringing his musical history into the modern stage performance is something I've always appreciated, especially when seeing them live. The band isn't afraid to reference their early campy punk-rock scag-drag days. RAMBO always makes the crowd move. A simple song, but definitely one for the vault.

Pounding through the set we’re greeted with an old friend in The Ghost of Vincent Price, a song from Transylvania 90210: Songs of Death, Dying, and the Dead, the first solo album from the band since the split of Murderdolls. A perfect song for this pre-Halloween event. After a haunting monologue from Price himself, combined with b-movie theremin notes, the song kicks in with strong rhythm guitar riffs, crashing symbols and dominating lead.

As a personal favourite, it’s hard for me not to sing along and really take in the moment. Wednesday 13 is now in the third of this evening’s costume changes. A dark, long cloak and a replica of his own face in mask form, worn on the back of his head. It takes you a minute to realise what it going on, but when you do, it’s hard to ignore the trip he takes you on.

Next, we're treated to Hail Ming, a fist pounding tribute to one of his favourite evil villains. I Want You Dead follows and then Put Your Death Mask On, the last minute addition to the set, especially for tonight’s finale show. These three songs work very well together and continue the narrative of evil.

Condolences transform the atmosphere; dropping the tempo, but cranking the heaviness in places. A new style for the band to venture into, but one appreciated by his fan base. While the song is certainly different to the fun, flirty songs of his past, the camp is still there - he’s on stage wearing a pair of Ozzy Osbourne/John Lennon style round glasses and a black top hat. The old Wednesday will always be in there somewhere.

A quick two-minute break and the band are back on stage for a generous four-song encore, three of which have always been in his set and another that will stand the test of time. Prey For Me, a newcomer to his live show guides us nicely into his first single and all-time classic I Walked With a Zombie, one that will forever be engrained into the live performance of this band. If you’ve not seen the music video for this song, I encourage you to do so. It will perfectly sum up the personality of the glam-goth frontman.

I Love To Say Fuck and Bad Things bring the impressive night to a close. The stage is now full of light, chanting band members and an umbrella tagged with an image of a middle finger. These last two performances bring the show full circle to the origins of where it all began.

Wednesday 13, his band and the superb stage show that is put on can be enjoyed like a classic horror movie that never tires. Their entire show radiates passion for music, the underground and the queerness of horror franchises. It’s hard not to compare this band to the masters of rock KISS. They are high energy, have a massive stage presence, and play killer music on any size stage. They live to perform. Wednesday is the perfect performer and is easily up there with the likes of the Starchild, Paul Stanley.

To me, after a decade of their music, this isn’t just a band, it’s a freakish family and I think we, the fans, are their beloved cousins

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WEDNESDAY 13 - What the Night Brings

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