BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE / ASKING ALEXANDRIA / WHILE SHE SLEEPS
Arvest Bank Theater at the Midland – Kansas City, Missouri – Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Words by Randy Shatkowski | Photos by Amber Miller
Bullet For My Valentine recently brought their British Invasion tour to the Midland Theater in downtown Kansas City on Tuesday, February 16, 2016 with fellow English bands Asking Alexandria and While She Sleeps. Opening act While She Sleeps did a great job revving up the crowd. They relied exclusively on mid-range screams and thrashy riffs, but each song still sounded distinct and their crowd interaction was truly impressive. Seeing a wall of death open up for a band that maybe 5% of the crowd was familiar with is a rare sight.
Asking Alexandria, however, failed to keep the momentum going. The crowd appeared to be excited about new vocalist Denis Stoff – whose style is much more like early AA than the change of style from previous vocalist Danny Worsnop‘s last offering, From Death To Destiny – but the live experience didn’t match the hype. The performance aspect and the banter were great, as were Denis’s clean vocals (which are without a doubt better than Danny’s), but the mix sounded hollow (granted, a common problem at the Midland) and Denis’s low screams were, in a word, wimpy. Additionally, every song off From Death To Destiny sounded a little off without Danny’s Avenged-Sevenfold inspired rasp. By no means awful, but a letdown after While She Sleeps.
Headliner Bullet For My Valentine were a mixed bag. On the one hand, they understand songcraft and showmanship. The setlist was near perfect, highlighting the best tracks from every album and keeping the energy high, especially during a drum solo by fill-in drummer Jason Bowld (normal drummer Moose is home with his wife, who is due to deliver any day, but the set did not suffer any: Bowld knows his way around a kit and proved it with enthusiasm). On the other hand, it almost felt less like a live performance and more like a TV special. Everything BFMV does is on a grand scale. They made a mid-size theater feel like an outdoor amphitheater. This is good in the way it makes every song sound anthemic (they are clearly disciples of the 80s New Wave of British Heavy Metal), but also made the show seem a little cold and impersonal. Additionally, the lead guitar was mixed far too low, making it hard to hear some of the excellent solos dished out by lead axeman Michael “Padge” Paget, and frontman Matt Tuck appeared to be suffering from some vocal strain, which led to a few songs being cut from the setlist. Despite all this, however, they still put on a hell of a show, and I very much encourage fans of both the band and of their influences (Judas Priest, Slayer, and especially Iron Maiden) to see them again, given the opportunity.[blog type=”grid-overlay-3″ heading=”BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE / ASKING ALEXANDRIA / WHILE SHE SLEEPS” heading_type=”block” tags=”bfmv021616″ /]
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