WEDNESDAY 13 (+ Rival State)
Rescue Rooms, Nottingham
Wednesday 13 has enjoyed a level of longevity that can only be mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Alice Cooper and The Misfits. But unlike Cooper and The Misfits, since his international breakthrough with the Murderdolls on their 2002 début 'Beyond The Valley Of The Murderdolls' Wednesday 13 has been consistent in the quality and frequency of his releases. Even before this, he laid the groundwork for his psychotic horror inspired blend of punk and metal with bands such as Maniac Spider Trash, as well as the now legendary Frankenstein Drag Queens From Planet 13, and this formula has carried through into his solo discography, finding a willing audience with every release.
Looking at the crowd tonight its easy to see that despite being a 20+ year music veteran, Wednesday 13 still finds favour with a young audience as well as keeping his long-time fans happy. His latest UK tour in support of his sixth full-length solo album, 'Monsters Of the Universe: Come Out And Plague', sees Wednesday on perhaps the strongest form of his career so far.
First off though, we have support act Rival State. This New Zealand formed, now UK-based quintet seem like a good fit on paper. Their punk-tinged grungy metal formula complete with mosh-friendly riffs and sing-a-long choruses arouse the interests of a few members of the audience. Their energetic performance, especially that of their frontman, is a by the books exercise straight from the pages of rock 'n' roll 101. But despite all of this they seem rather generic.
The songs are pretty standard, and even the band's “black jeans + black t-shirts + frontman in a leather biker jacket = RAWK!” presentation just comes off as totally derivative. It's one of those situations that, while there is nothing wrong with their set, it just doesn't stand out in any way from a myriad of other bands. As a result you can't help but list in your head all the other domestic bands who would have complimented the headliners more.
When it comes time for Wednesday 13 and his band to take the stage you know you're in for a real show. From the opening bars of the intro 'Death Arise' the band embark on a furious and theatrical set that compliments the conceptual charge of the new album. Complete with masks, makeup changes and mood lighting Wednesday 13 holds the audience's attention through every song and shows just what a performer he is as he creeps about the stage like a twisted monster from outer space.
The set is heavy on new cuts from the band's latest, and heaviest, album with the likes of 'Keep Watching The Skies', 'Astro Psycho – Galactic Blood Drive', 'Serpent Society', 'Bombs, Guns, Gods – This Is A War' and 'Monsters Of The Universe' getting a welcome airing. But he also makes plenty of room for fan favourites such as 'Look At What The Bat's Dragged In', 'Skeletons', 'Hail Ming', 'Get Your Grave On' and 'Scream Baby Scream'. The encore also gave a rare airing of the Frankenstein Drag Queens classic 'Scary Song' as well as the undeniably brilliant 'I Walked With A Zombie' and ' Bad Things'.
The band were tight throughout the set and Wednesday's vocals sound as good as ever with only the lead guitar sounding a little high in the mix in places, but not enough to swamp the rest of the band. It's a very strong outing befitting a performer of Wednesday 13's calibre and one that proves he is the king of schlock 'n' roll... and long may he reign too.