Hollywood Undead @ O2 Academy, Brixton - 23.04.19 / Louder Live
All photos by Charlotte Claber
Oasis push pits, massive production and a whole setlist full of electronics, rap-metal and bandana aesthetic. Having released their latest record 'Five' at the end of 2017 and short EP 'PSALMS' IN 2018, Hollywood Undead spark an interesting, if slightly out-dated, theatrical performance to an energised collective of fans packing out the notorious O2 Academy in Brixton. Huge anthems to match their bold attitude, a night of resurrection for a refined group of entertainers leaves Brixton needing more than just parental advisory warnings.
Seductively violent, Loathe open up their largest show to date with eerie soundscapes, mystifying colour and a vicious performance of It’s Yours for a mesmerising combination of cleans, metal core, hardcore and animalistic sonics. Including a band this heavy as a support definitely warrants a fair amount of risk however the Undead crowd’s reaction was generally of surprise. Devil horns and circle pits form around vocalist Kadeem France as he jumps sweating and shirtless into the barriers of the venue for booming renditions of tracks Stigmata, Dance On My Skin and Servant And Master. Pulling material from split EP This is As One and debut album The Cold Sun, a backdrop of blood red and refined concepts initiate what is to be the awakening to reality that is the future of UK rock music. Closing with cinematic anthem Babylon, Brixton was now fittingly warmed up and jaws were picked back up off the floor. It’s clear it’s an emotional night for the Merseyside quintet with much praise and recognition to the American giants of undead that had provided the opportunity and were soon to try reclaim the stage for a festival-esque set.
Ultimately the foundation for much of the almost nu-metal pop rock kaleidoscope of genre fusion, Hollywood Undead are the leaders of a cult-like legion of fans. A night of karaoke ensues as the group blast out sing-alongs 'California Dreaming' and 'Undead' with a guy fawkes style of production. Pyros and fireworks erupt from around the stage to dazzle the audience as the sunglasses, bodybuilding group parade on stage throwing as much physical emphasis on every curse word they can think of. Essentially a grasp onto the youth of their supporters, the show keeps up a hectic schedule of tracks such as 'Dead Bite' and 'Gravity' before an eager fan climbs on stage to play guitar for 'Comin’ In Hot'. Struggling to get the simple chord progressions, it was a moment of tension before the suspect amount of backing track takes over for a vibrant performance. The desire to entertain and be inclusive stands out from Hollywood Undead’s style, even at one point getting the security guard to awkwardly hype up the crowd with a loud scream into the microphone. A show of contrast leads from shuddering cringe to the floor of Brixton volcanically erupting throughout 'Another Way Out' and 'Bad Moon', even with a short cover of 'Wonderwall' by Oasis: embracing all bucket hats, bandanas and spiked leather jackets to link arms as the notorious band take on a song with a reputation just as iconic as their own. Even if parts of the set were not to every persons delight, as Johnny 3 Tears gets punished with an accurate throw of a missile to his head, the groups explosiveness and theatrics push on through to a climatic conclusion of fan favourites 'Everywhere I Go' and 'Day Of The Dead'. A headline setlist to remember, a few moments of regret and Hollywood Undead kick off their UK tour with blistering pace and cohesive musicianship. Taking a respectful jump forward, back to their original glory.
Hollywood Undead's latest release, PSALMS, is out now via Dove Grenade / BMG
Check out the video for the band's single 'Gotta Let Go' below:
The band still have several shows of their UK tour remaining- dates can be found below: