Fearless Vampire Killers + The Dead Lay Waiting + Bad Pollyanna @ The Corporation, Sheffield, UK – 20th October 2012Posted by Bianca on Saturday Oct 20, 2012 Under Alternative, Pop-Punk, Rock
As soon as Bad Pollyanna took to the stage and started playing, they took immediate control of the crowd. Olivia Hyde’s vocals didn’t allow them to go anywhere for the whole set, soaring to take the crowd to a world of gothic inspired theatricality. Slick song changes showed a performance maturity which belied their recent line-up changes. The only down side was that bassist Nikki Kontinen’s backing vocals were a little lost in the sound mix, which was a shame as they could have added another dimension to the Bad Pollyanna sound. A relatively short set, but it certainly delivered.
The Dead Lay Waiting hit the stage with a powerhouse performance underpinned by a drummer who laid down a beat that was hard to fault. The opening section leading up to the first song, smacked of an amateur dramatic performance by a wannabe Alice Cooper, with a hooded figure (who turned out to be the lead singer) being led to the edge of the stage at the point of a miniature plastic scythe by DEATH, who also doubled up as a very busy roadie throughout the night! The band had a great stage presence, led by the wild eyed front-man Luke Lucas, who reminded this reviewer of a blend of Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and David Johansen of the New York Dolls, and ably supported by guitarists who enthralled the audience with constantly changing stage positions and power chords to turn your face to jelly!
The bizarre moment when the audience were asked to fall onto their knees (literally!) and look adoringly up at the stage could have been seen as slightly disturbing by some, but the audience certainly enjoyed it! This reviewer, however, would definitely not have knelt on the floor in The Corporation for love nor money! For this reviewer’s personal taste, the theatrics of the band were a little overdone. It looked a little like there had been a nasty Vimto accident backstage or an unfortunate ketchup explosion, but this could be down to the proximity of Halloween rather than a permanent band image, and it’s the music that really matters, and on that front they certainly delivered!
The Fearless Vampire Killers latest release, ‘Militia Of The Lost’, has had a good airing in the Deerfield Offices for the past week in preparation for this gig. Named for Roman Polanski’s cult classic movie, they certainly appear to be heading for a cult following of their own. The girls in the crowd were squealing for them before they appeared on stage, at one point even screaming when DEATH re-appeared on stage to help with setting up the stage!
Some of the stage effects, like the webs draped on the mic stands, were a bit naff but I suppose it added to the whole Halloween feel initiated by The Dead Lay Waiting, and certainly fit in with the zombie-like image the band portrayed on stage. There were certainly echoes of The Damned, Alice Cooper and other classic rock reference points. Other stage props were more impressive, such as the oversize skulls with glowing eyes picked up from the local supermarket earlier the same day (what, no horns a-la Spinal Tap?!)… ASDA, you did the boys proud with those!
When it came down to the performance, there was a tightness in the performance that comes only with a very well rehearsed band. It was slick and professional, but with a style and chaos that only a band who are confident in each other can achieve. The opening song had its issues, but not due to the band. Kier Kemp’s microphone had no cable attached and, after gesticulating wildly that he couldn’t hear himself and shooting baleful glances at the sound guy (not a lot he could do from the back to be honest!), it took DEATH himself to come and sort the problem by attaching the cable, as only The Grim Reaper can.
As a lead singer, Laurence Beveridge certainly had a charisma that held the audience, and his vocals were great, merging as they did with impressive harmonies from the rest of the band. In fact, the vocal harmonies were something that, like those on the album ‘Militia Of The Lost’, make FVK stand out from the crop of similar bands out there, and this reviewer was extremely impressed with this in the live arena. Similar can be said for Kier’s vocals, though they were a little on the darker side in comparison to Laurence’s. Having a dual lead vocals certainly gives the band options and will keep the performance level up for the whole set as each singer gets a bit of a rest.
Comedy moment of the night came when Laurence asked the audience to make their “sex noise” at the beginning of a song when, to be fair, probably 50% of the audience were unfamiliar with those auditory delights… Bring on the teenage squeals and screams…. Performance of the night goes to Drew Woolnough on bass. A totally energetic show from him, made even more impressive by playing one song blindfolded by a bra thrown from the crowd which he had placed on his head but which slipped down over his eyes during the song. Despite his bra-noculars, he didn’t miss a beat.
All too soon the show was over, and the stage was filled as The Dead Lay Waiting joined Fearless Vampire Killers on stage for the low point of the whole evening – a truly awful cover of Club Tropicana! Such a pity to end the evening on this low point but, as it took quite a while to realise what the song actually was, maybe others didn’t! All three bands certainly have much potential and gave their all in committed, and most of all, high energy, performances. Highly recommended!
Gig Review and Photography by David Hartley (Deerfield Photo)