Live Review: The Birthday Massacre – O2 Academy, Newcastle, July 13th 2009

The+Birthday+Massacre+TBMThere’s a certain degree of unfriendly demeanour here tonight; every little ‘clique’ seems somewhat hostile towards the outsiders around them. Nonetheless, they are all gathered here for one reason, in the form of Canadian goth-pop cluster, The Birthday Massacre. Taking to the UK on their inagural tour, it’s fair to say there’s a lot more present tonight than expected – news travels fast through the internet.

Before all of that though, the night’s proceedings are kicked off with North East goth metallers World Is Static. From the very first chord, the first thoughts in everyone’s heads is that these guys sound massive. Heavier than a concrete cow instrumentally, and some soft female vocals from a very Jeffree Star-esque singer really contrast and compliment. They churn out a fine selection of tunes, amid each member at least once seeming to experience technical trouble.

There’s unfortunately absolutely no movement, nor indication that the crowd are even acknowledging the band in front of them, save for the polite cheer and applause post-song. However, the quartet are very much sounding like a taste of tonight’s headliners, though certainly more raw and powerful, and they appear to go down an early treat.

The next half hour on stage is taken up in the form of Toronto’s Raggedy Angry. Very hard to describe, on record sounding very much like goth-lite synth-pop. (Think a more flamboyant My Passion in a head-on collision with a smattering of Mindless Self Indulgence, and you start to get the vague picture) This, however, is taken and completely thrown out of the window as soon as the five-piece make their way onstage; sounding a lot more like the likes of Deathstars and Marilyn Manson, they sound absolutely huge as a live act, the pattering of double bass sifted in and out of churning riffage, all glued together with synth, and the mass of growls, groans, screams and squeals from slightly camp frontman .

Nothing less than absolute praise can be had for the band tonight, definitely gartering a better reaction from the audience, it’s a shame they didn’t get the room jumping a little more, especially armed with a sure-fire crowd pleasing rendition of This Is Halloween from the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack, as well as a very unorthodox and sluggish-sounding cover of Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise. These guys have an awesome stage prescence, and it really reflects in their edgy, unpredictable live act. Absolutely fantastic.

The Birthday Massacre make the stage to some really dedicated fans; everyone’s definitely here tonight for the sole six piece in front of them. Lead vocalist Chibi sounds hauntingly epic, especially in the strikingly heavy and dark Red Stars. The band take to pleasing their audience very well, and although there isn’t much in the way of movement from neither band nor crowd, the latter looks on in nothing but complete adoration.

A downside however, is that as impressive at what they’re doing as they are, The Birthday Massacre really do get boring to the untrained ear. Tonight at least, it seems they may have been eclipsed by their own support; Raggedy Angry’s slick and shocking performance sounding somewhat better than tonight’s headliners.

That said, for what they’re doing, the band do well, and it’s definitely kept the audience in the palms of their hands, at least. Tracks like the dreamlike Falling Down really please, and given this kind of warm reception, it’s fair to say The Birthday Massacre may just be visiting the UK again in the near future.

George.

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