Live Review: Asking Alexandria + The Word Alive + Bohem – Train – 17.03.2017
Only a band who can completely trust the loyalty of their fandom can pull off a move as risky as announcing a world tour after releasing a new album and… not play a single song out of that album. This is what happens when you break up with your latest frontman and get back with your ex you spent a decade with. Things might not be as spicy as before, but you sure have a hell load of memories from the old days, some kinky inside jokes and loads of Jägermeister to kill the weirdness.
I would like to start out with The Word Alive, the second warm-up act of the evening, which stood out with their extremely well-executed performance and a powerful stage presence. Everything one would expect from a band of their status was there: the energy, the quality and the ability to connect to their crowd. The Word Alive have made a huge step towards a more complex sound with their new material, positioning themselves closer to the level of sophistication of The Architects or Letlive., which also translates into their live performances.
Now, let’s get back to the main stars of the evening. As many may know, in 2015, Asking Alexandria got a new frontman, Denis Stoff, which marked the end of decade-long Danny Worsnop‘s era in the band. Last year, Asking Alexandria released a new album, The Black, with Denis as the main vocalist. Everything seemed to be going as good as ever. The band even received some positive reviews, which, let‘s be honest, are not that typical for any more or less mainstream metalcore act. Not to mention their high-end videos and masterfully coordinated promo for the album. In The Black, their original metalcore background was more pronounced again in a fresh and more dynamic manner mastered to precision. But then some drama happened, Denis left the band, and Asking Alexandria announced both the comeback of Danny and the world tour.
Asking Alexandria‘s new tour is called 10 Years In Black, however, last Friday in Train there were a lot of 10 years and not that much of the Black. None of The Black, to be completely precise. After Asking Alexandria opened their performance with some old stuff, Danny reassured the audience that they are going to play some more old stuff. Which is understandable, since The Black was a production in which Denis was involved, so the current line up of Asking Alexandria is kind of no longer entitled to it, so their only way to survive right now is to really dig into that nostalgia.
Going on tour after such circumstances feels like a daring and also a bit desperate move. The quality of the performance itself was pretty decent, as could be expected from a band with such a massive experience and fandom. The sound was good, the musicians seemed to put a lot of energy into it (eg. jumping around in low-key breakdowns while having indifferent facial expressions). Ben – the guitarist and the main creative force in Asking Alexandria – was extremely natural in keeping a contact with the audience which, unfortunately, did not receive that much of honest attention from Danny who was more concerned with his monologs than actually bonding with the fans.
Danny’s need to talk (a lot!) resulted in long breaks in between the songs, filled with sheer awkwardness created by a cliché behavior of a prototypical mainstream rock star trying really hard to prove that he still got it. Danny seemed a bit disconnected from his environment while deeply involved in his own melodramatically satirical act, having a lot to say about masturbation, drugs, alcohol, Justin Bieber and the fact that all of this is just a job for them. As it comes to the singing, it’s always nice to observe the transformation of Danny’s voice throughout the years. Apparently, though, Danny cannot get enough of his own voice either, which he proved with prolonged falsettos, excessive vibratos as well as keeping the high-pitched notes as long as possible – as if he was auditioning for American Idol.
I‘m pretty sure the die-hard fans of Asking Alexandria would disagree, but after witnessing this performance I cannot help but think that Asking Alexandria and Danny should have never ever, ever gotten back together. What are they going to do next? Release a hard rock album? Danny already has his other band for this sort of style, this sort of old-school rock‘n‘roll/hard rock/country/your average burger place at the gas station style. Meanwhile, Denis made a full circle and went back where he started – making covers of pop songs on Youtube. Hopefully, Ben comes up with some new material ASAP, since Asking Alexandria are no longer entitled to The Black and are forced to operate on their old heritage. Just to be clear, I don‘t mind Danny being back in the band. It just, as one great man once put it, doesn‘t feel real anymore.
P.S. The opening act of the concert, Bohem, appeared to be trying very hard as well. Well, maybe except for the guy jumping around the laptop.
 *Since Danny himself acknowledged Jägermeister‘s potential to connect people in profound ways before diving into power ballad Someone, Somewhere.
All in all, not such a bad night at Train. You can't help but get a little disappointed with the headling act, Asking Alexandria, for not playing anything from their latest album.. (4/6)