The British came and conquered this past Friday at the House of Blues. Hundreds braved the extreme wind to see the sold out British Invasion tour, a show that brings together While She Sleeps, Asking Alexandria, and Bullet For My Valentine. Though it was clear much of the crowd was there to see headliners BFMV from the seas of t-shirts, rubber bracelets, and hoodies sporting their logo, all of the bands successfully won over the crowd.
Openers While She Sleeps got the night started with their intense song “Brainwashed.” All it took was frontman Loz Taylor pumping his fist and chanting “Brainwashed! Brainwashed! Brainwashed!” to get the crowd on his side. With his screaming pushing his voice to the limit, you wouldn’t guess Taylor had throat surgery just last year. His voice never cracked as the band blazed through “This is Six,” “Death Toll,” and “Trophies of Violence.” The band engaged with the crowd joking about no one wanting to see them because they’re the openers, thanking them for coming early, and even crowd surfing. Before the end of their 45 minute set the band had the entire venue on their side following their demands for fist pumps, circle pits, and devil horns. They did what most opening bands fail to do: get the crowd interested.
The cheers and screams got louder when Asking Alexandria took the stage. Opening with the brutal track “I Won’t Give In” new frontman Dennis Stoff howled and the crowd put their devil horns in the air. This is actually Stoff’s first US tour with the band since taking over the role as singer last year. Fans seemed to embrace him as they cheered on his every kick, jump, and command. Even if you know nothing about the band, you can’t help but be impressed by Stoff’s vocal range. During songs “Run Free” and “Closure” Stoff went from melodic singing to screeching vocals and brought it back down for a guttural style. He never missed a beat. He easily swapped between ranges sometimes in the middle of a song.
Considering the band are still in the middle of touring, they never sounded worn out or tired. They still had as much energy and passion as they did when they first hit the road. Though guitarist Ben Bruce bantered with the crowd about how hungover he was, the band wasted no time blazing through fan favorites “The Death of Me,” “The Black,” “To the Stage,” and “A Prophecy.” Stoff and the others had the crowd under their command as they did every fist pump, stomp, and circle pit the band asked for. At one point Stoff demanded everyone “get the f**k down!” The crowd did what he said and jumped when he said so causing the entire floor to shake. The band ended their set with “The Final Episode” working the crowd up in a frenzy before bowing and running off stage.
Before Bullet took the stage, they blasted “Ace of Spades” from the speakers as a brief tribute to Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister. Afterwards they ripped into their set with the grueling “No Way Out” causing the crowd to to explode in screams and shoving. This was followed by “Skin” and the popular “Your Betrayal” which caused the entire arena to sing along drowning out the band. Unlike the previous bands, Bullet doesn’t jump around and cause madness with their bodies. They do it with their sheer musical power instead. Bullet seemed serene while shredding the brutal riffs of “You want a Battle? (Here’s a War),” “Raising Hell,” and “The Last Fight” letting the crowd cause destruction instead. They celebrated ten years together by performing tracks “Four Words to Choke Upon,” fan favorite “Tears Don’t Fall,” and the title track from their debut LP “The Poison.” As the crowd sang along, Matt Tuck stood back and took it all in trying to hide the huge smile spreading across his face. After playing “Alone,” their new single “Worthless,” and “Hand of Blood” the band left the stage to prep for their scheduled encore. The crowd demanded another song, which Bullet delivered. They closed the show with “Tears Don’t Fall” and “Waking the Demon” draining the crowd of what little energy they had left. If this is what we have to look forward to in modern metal, then the future seems promising.