LIVE: Asking Alexandria – Ulster Hall, Belfast

Crown-The-Empire-(1) Crown-The-Empire-(5) Secrets-(7) The-Ghost-Inside-(1)Asking-Alexandria-(12)Asking-Alexandria-(6)Asking-Alexandria-(2)Following their sold out show in Mandela Hall last year, Asking Alexandria are back in Belfast to tear an even bigger venue apart.

The first band on tonight are a quartet from San Diego, California called Secrets. Being the opening band is never easy, you get the smallest crowd and you need to make the biggest impression. This is a chance to win over a lot of fans, and Secrets did just that. The band played 5 songs from their latest album “Fragile Figures” as well as opening with ‘The Oath’ from their debut, “The Ascent”. Whilst they may have played a fairly short set, they definitely got the crowd warmed up and ready for the night ahead of them. It’s not very often you’ll find the opening band on a package tour like this be greeted so well with a sea of people jumping and a wall of death within the first three songs.

Next up are Dallas, Texas six-piece, Crown The Empire, who seem to already have quite a few fans in the building already. This was their first ever Irish show, and it seemed like they were actually quite overwhelmed with the support they already have here. The generated a similar response to Secrets, only with a lot more sing-a-longs. The band opened with “Call To Arms (Act 1)” off their most recent release, ‘The Resistance: Rise of the Runaways’ and played a mixture of songs mainly from that album as well as ‘The Fallout’ before closing with the song of the same name. Crown The Empire have a big sound, which is only enhanced by the two vocalists that have to different styles, but manage to compliment each other because of it. It’s a sound that suits a tour with a band like Asking Alexandria down to the ground. Judging by the response, don’t be surprised if these guys are back sooner rather than later, same can be said for Secrets.

The final support of the night are the melodic hardcore hoard that are The Ghost Inside from Los Angeles, California. The band storm onto the stage with “Avalanche”, the first song released from their newest album. The band power through a set that covers their last three albums, including songs such as ‘Dark Horse’, ‘Between The Lines’ and closing with the title track of their newest album, “Dear Youth”. The band deliver what is easily the best set of the night, frontman Jonathan Vigil can be seen pacing the stage and waving back to near enough anyone that waved at him and it was good to see the rest of the band interacting with the crowd, even though it may have seemed like they didn’t have as much of a following as Crown The Empire. The crowd are amped for a while but soon begin to run out of steam, possibly because they were tired from the two previous that just played and they wanted to save what they had left for the headline set. It seemed like it was only the hardcore fans of The Ghost Inside that were screaming back every word to ‘Dear Youth (Day 52)’ by the end of the set. A solid performance nonetheless and it seems like The Ghost Inside could thrive a hell of a lot more at their own headline show.

Now time for the headline act. Asking Alexandria. A microphone stand is brought out, draped in scarves, which does nothing but scream that Danny Worsnop really wishes he was in Aerosmith. But who wouldn’t? This is echoed throughout the performance where you can hear parts of certain songs that are usually screamed on the record, but Danny decides to sing them instead. A lot of people dismiss this as him just being a lazy vocalist, but it genuinely seems like this isn’t the case when you consider his side project, We Are Harlot, which is essentially a more modern version of your 80’s rock ‘n’ roll. It’s also not lazy, because in songs such as ‘Not The American Average’ and ‘A Lesson Never Learned’, he performs them exactly as they were written, he only changes songs up if he feel’s it’s possible, and it works. The band blast through a set consisting of songs spanning their entire back catalogue. The first handful of songs are from ‘Reckless & Relentless’ and ‘From Death to Destiny’, opening with “Don’t Pray For Me”. The band are hyped just as much as the crowd and are playing a solid set so far.

They decide to slow things down by playing “Moving On” and “Someone, Somewhere”. This is fine, only it gets a bit too slow. After the songs are done, Danny and Ben call each other names on stage, talk about their genitals and all that sort of stuff. It’s kinda funny at first, but after about five minutes at starts to get a bit boring. They realise what they’re doing and continue the set with a handful of songs from their debut album ‘Stand Up and Scream’, which sends the crowd into a frenzy before closing with “The Final Episode (Change The Channel)”. The band then play an encore of “Killing You”, “The Death of Me” and “Poison”, which was actually quite surprising seeing as they are all new songs. A great performance overall and the entire night was brilliant, not one poor performance all night. Connor Morris, GiggingNI.com