If there’s one thing American rockers Black Veil Brides are known for, it’s for being an acquired taste. You either love them, or you hate them – though if you fit snuggly into the latter category you’d better be prepared to face the hordes of committed fans ready to defend them. Perhaps you’d wonder why, at face value they may seem like nothing more than a gimmick as they’ll be remembered for the days when they painted their faces in dark heavy makeup as if they were trying to be a modern version of KISS. And who can replace KISS, right?
All preconceived notions on Black Veil Brides, however, need to be thrown into a safe and locked away for good, because as they took to the stage of Manchester’s O2 Apollo on Sunday it was clear to see that they were so much more than what you’d assume. Their roots are held in classic rock and it’s displayed during breakdowns when guitarists (Jinxx and Jake Pitts) and bassist (Ashley Purdy) all jump into a similar position and begin to headbang in synchronicity like straight out of a classic rock video. That doesn’t mean it’s all they’re about, they each add their own unique flavor to the experience giving them their own identity.
As for singer Andy Biersack, from the get-go he lets the room know he’s not feeling his best, though it’s hard to tell. Perhaps due to how in some places throughout the set, the vocals get a little lost under the music. A sound issue or a clever ploy to hide any possibly cracks in the singers voice. He still manages to belt out “Heart Of Fire,” a song from their new album set to drop later this month, to near perfection. Biersack doesn’t let how he’s feeling stop him from engaging with their fans either, all of whom hang on his every word as he mentions how much he loves Manchester as an introduction to, as he mentioned, “a song we’ve never played here before,” “Coffin.”
Each band gets to showcase themselves, most through every song they play as they are front of stage and present throughout. However, around half way through, set way back, on a raised platform, drummer Christian ‘CC’ Coma entertains the enthralled crowd with his drumming skills in his own solo. But it all seems slightly out of place. It wasn’t a particularly necessary addition to the set, no matter how well received it was.
It wouldn’t be a Black Veil Brides set without them playing possibly their most famous track “Knives and Pens.” While some bands around four albums in would shed songs from the early days, before they had the chance to progress and grow, it seems Black Veil Brides value the importance of their older work. It’s appreciated of course and it gives the song new life to hear it refreshed in a live setting.
They’re certainly a band to watch, a dark horse of their genre really after being shrouded by misconceptions. They’re entertainers and talented ones at that, who seem determined to turn every last person in the room, including the chaperoning parents, into fans of what they do and it’s safe to say it seems to be working for them.
Review and photos by Kelly Hamilton