GIG REVIEW: BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE & ASKING ALEXANDRIA Live At Silver Spring, MD
Dawn 'Mama Love' Brown
One of the major concert venues in the Baltimore-Washington Metro area is the Fillmore in Silver Spring. The Fillmore has attracted tons of attention with national acts like Slayer to local shows featuring DJ’s and drag queens. Their offerings run the gamut and work to include all major music genres. On this night, we were treated to the British Invasion Tour featuring While She Sleeps, Asking Alexandria and Bullet for My Valentine. With no local openers for this show, it was damn near a perfect show. The only drawback was more overzealous security. I understand they need to do their jobs and most of them are great at what they do.
First on the bill was While She Sleeps, an up and coming metalcore band out of Sheffield, England. Opening with the title track of their latest release, “Brainwashed”, While She Sleeps put on a great show. This is another band that obviously loves being on stage. Their entire vibe was really rocking and fun, the singer, Lawrence Taylor, fist bumping the crowd surfers and conducting lots of fan interactions during the show. Rounded out by Sean Long, Mat Welsh, Aaran McKenzie and Adam Savage on guitar, guitar/vocals, bass and drums respectively, While She Sleeps impressed with dual vocals, riveting double bass drums and a solid team effort resulting in an opening act of momentous proportions. They closed out their set with “Four Walls”, another track from the newest album which was met with a great fan response which really kicked up the energy in the room.
The crowd literally went wild when Asking Alexandria hit the stage. Opening their set with “I Won’t Give In”, Asking Alexandria proved, at least to me, the old adage of don’t judge a book by its cover. Anyone who thinks this band isn’t heavy has never seen them live. Denis Stoff on vocals doesn’t just mimic the vocal styling of their previous singer, he makes the songs his own and belts lyrics out of his tiny frame like nobody’s business. Ben Bruce, one of three remaining founding members, was absolutely adorable on lead guitar backed up masterfully by James Cassells on drums, Cameron Liddell on guitar and Sam Bettley on bass. Their setlist was culled from their entire catalog and included two more singles from the new album, “The Black” and “Undivided”. The former garnering a bigger fan reaction than the latter, their performance of “The Black” was pounding and heavy, yet retained the clean vocals and raucous spirit inherent in AA’s music. Closing out with The Final Episode (Let’s Change the Channel) proved yet again that this band is not to be taken lightly. They deserve every accolade they receive. They characterize themselves as a ROCK band and they’re a damn good one.
Finally, Bullet for My Valentine, a four-man troop hailing from Bridgend, Wales, UK, descended on the stage opening with two tracks from their latest release, ‘Venom’, “No Way Out” and “Skin”, followed in close succession by fan favorite, “Your Betrayal”. These guys perfectly blend high energy songs with a laid back stage presence, probably warranted by all members on the stage lending vocals and staying primarily close to their respective mic stands. Consisting of Matt Tuck (lead vocals/rhythm guitar), Michael Paget (lead guitar/backing vocals), Michael Thomas (drums) and Jamie Mathias (bass/backing vocals), BFMV definitely kept with the flow of the evening, delivering a powerful performance through songs including several more from the new album, “Venom”, “You Want a Battle” and “Worthless”, interspersed with crushing solos from Jamie and Matt. Closing out with “Waking the Demon”, BFMV really shook the Fillmore to its core. The fans were crazy, security were doing their jobs and the bands were phenomenal.
Bottom Line: Another great show! All three bands appearing were heavy and fun. Even if you’re not necessarily a fan of the studio recordings of a band, don’t judge them until you see them live. You may be pleasantly surprised.