Having interviewed Fearless Vampire Killers recently during their European Tour with In This Moment. I had to catch up with them again on their Headline UK tour. With a band obsessed fandom in tow, a headline show with these theatrical, goth, pop-rockers was not something to be missed.
Fearless Vampire Killers brought along German post-hardcore band Annisokay as well as respected local acts Don’t Look Down and Life on Standby to the sold out King Tuts Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow. A varied line up, but when it’s hard to put your finger on what genre Fearless Vampire Killers fit into, that is to be expected.
With a strong start to the night, Don’t Look Down played pop-punk which had a hardcore influence. At first they seemed like a standard generic So Cal Pop-punk quartet but quickly impressed me with a larger than standard sound. Like Thrice without the anthems and hints of that Rise Against song (what? Rise Against have more than one song?). Pop-punk is often looked upon as a dated genre but these guys were anything but. Don’t look down sounded fresh. With a mix of influences throughout the genre, they played pop-punk 2.0. And as someone easily bored by modern punk, these guys did not bore me, they did the opposite and were refreshing to watch. Although not sounding anything like Fearless Vampire Killers (a theme repeated for all the support acts), the crowd reacted incredibly. They clearly gained a good number of new fans this night. Myself included.
Passionate alt-rock act Life on Standby were up next. Like Don’t Look Down, this band were also from Glasgow which resulted in a good number of the audience already knowing who they were. Singer Erin Donnachie belted out songs which quickly gained the audiences full attention. An energetic band, it was hard to guess where guitarists Gavin Williams and Liam Walker would end up next. Swinging guitars about and making the stage their own, they were truly lost in the music. With a mix of captivating female rock vocals and electronic samples, it was had to tell if it was ‘lighters out’ or ‘get my boogy on’. An intriguing juxtaposition which, like the band members, I was completely immersed in.
Annisokay were the tour support, coming from Halle, Germany, I had high hopes of a band from Das Vaterland. In one word, they just seemed too ‘unprepared’. The heaviest band on the bill by a long shot, but also the sloppiest. Having not seen these guys at any other shows it’s hard to say if this was just an ‘off’ night for them or if touring had got too much. They just didn’t sound or look like a band ready for this show. Annisokay appeared onstage in full ego mode, which the crowd seemed to just ignore. This seemed to set the band in a mood that was awkward for the entire set. It was like they didn’t want to be there. During the first song, at a change of sections in the song, half the band played one thing, while half played another. They then fobbed this off afterwards by saying “Sorry, we had a few technical difficulties”. Technical difficulties? That’s the live show equivalent of a 13 year old on Skype telling their crush of their undying love then quickly back peddling with “Sorry… that was my friend”. This happened 3 times throughout the set. It was like they didn’t even know their own songs. Out of time and out of touch with the audience. I hope the rest of the tour isn’t as awkward for them.
Fearless Vampire Killers came to the stage to set up their own instruments, something rarely seen at shows of this size. They instantly gained brownie points.
With such a strong and committed fan base, the guys had the crowd in their hands already. Some of the audience had been queuing outside the venue since noon. They see themselves as more than fans, they see themselves as family. A social group with one shared interest. Fearless Vampire Killers have always respected this fandom very well throughout their career. No matter how non stop or tiring their schedule may be, they WILL meet the fans, get photos and hang out with every single one.
As I said before, it is very hard to define Fearless Vampire Killer’s varied sound. No too songs ever sound alike musically. With Laurence Beveridge and Kier Kemp sharing lead vocal duties throughout the set, you almost get a two for one deal. Drummer Luke Illingworth even steps up to a keyboard role to perform the ballad Brave the Night alongside Keir, giving the rest of the band a quick break. Which I’m sure is needed as they are all looking a bit sweaty now. Energy however, is never short.
At my age, it’s normal, even when watching my all time favourite acts to play, to get a little restless towards the end of the set. Although enjoying the show, I start to think “now would be a good time to wrap up, my legs are starting to hurt.” This did NOT happen tonight. Not once did my lazy ass self start to question my own energy. The band had plenty to show, and plenty to give.