Wednesday 13 / Sister Live at Manchester Club Academy

Wednesday 13 must like it in Manchester, as he said in the pre-gig interview “I’ve been playing Manchester consistently, except for last year, every year for 11 and a half years, pretty much, and I think I’ve been here probably more than I’ve been to where I grew up in North Carolina”. After his previous visit with his “other” band Wednesday’s return was eagerly awaited, and the news that it was to be in the up-close-and-personal confines of Club Academy just heightened the expectation.

Some bands were just born to play in sweaty little clubs like this, and you kinda get the feeling that, for all the stadium success with the Murderdolls, this is where Wednesday is at his best.

Support for the tour comes from Swedish sleaze-rockers Sister. This is the first time the band have played Manchester, but judging by the already packed crowd down at the barrier when they arrived on stage, and the massive cheer that greeted them, the denizens of the Mancunian musical underworld are already familiar with what Sister have to offer.

I guess to do what Sister do you have to posess a certain confidence (and song titles like Spit On Me and Motherfuckers (Like You) don’t exactly point to a shy disposition), but the Swedes just oozed confidence as they rocked Club Academy like they owned the place.

It can’t be easy opening up for someone with such a fanatical cult following as Wednesday 13, but on the strength of this performance Sister will soon be amassing a cult following of their own.

Sister are definitely ones to watch, and given how pleased they looked after the show with the reaction they’d got I don’t imagine it’ll be long before they are back. Go see ’em!

So on to the main event….

The anticipation that always precedes a Wednesday 13 show had been heightened this time around by a) the fact it was in Club Academy and b) the fact that the new album, The Dixie Dead, is something a bit special, in fact it’s disrupted reviewing operations at CackBlabbath HQ as it’s been on the stereo pretty much constantly for the past couple of weeks. I last time I saw Wednesday 13 was in Sheffield with The Murderdolls, and that was one of the gigs of the year…

Clouds of dry ice shrouded the band’s arrival on stage, but there was no mistaking the roar from the crowd when Wednesday 13 leapt onto his riser. The whole place went mental as the band launched into the opening track from the new album, Bloodsucker….. This is what a rock show should be about.. OK, so it’s mostly about the music, but I just love the sense of theater, with Wednesday in his on-stage persona being barely recognisable from the cool, laid back guy we’d interviewed shortly before the show.

The setlist was a sweary roller-coaster ride through the greatest hits of Wednesday’s solo back catalogue (with the odd Frankenstein Drag Queens From Planet 13 classic thrown in for good measure). No complaints from anyone on that count. We were treated to a good chunk of the new album, The Dixie Dead working perticularly well live with it’s sing-along chorus, and then there is the science fiction silliness of Hail Ming…

I mean who else could get an entire venue full of people chanting “Hail Ming” ?? Brilliant. Silly, but brilliant.

By the time we were half way through the sweat was dripping off the ceiling (yep, eww), but there was no letup in the explosive energy coming from the stage… It’s just so intense. Not bad considering Wednesday has been doing this for nigh-on 20 years.

The thing is, people may well dismiss Wednesday 13 without ever actually listening to the music but if you strip away the B-movie makeup and zombie-punk trimmings you’re left with the simple facts that Wednesday 13 is a fantastic frontman, he has surrounded himself with a band who can deliver and, above all, he has written some of the best punk rock anthems of recent years.

Shock rock, horror punk, call it what you will, but there’s no denying this was a fantastic rock’n’roll show, and hopefully it won’t be too long before Mr. 13 and his cohorts grace these shores again.

Come back soon, motherfucker..