Live Review: Hollywood Undead – 02 Academy, Glasgow

The Hollywood Undead party bus strolled into Glasgow and emptied it’s load of strippers, hoes, and beer at the door of the O2 Academy. The last night of the tour was to be celebrated in what is normally only reserved for Hogmanay… and the hangover definitely matched up to the end of year one, that is for sure.

So, who is going to get the party started? None other than Attila. Now, to be honest, I did raise an eyebrow when I saw these guys got the support slot. I thought it wasn’t really a well thought out match, they are far more extreme. The parental guidance backdrop kind of lets you know what is going to go down, and I am aware Hollywood Undead do have a large number of younger fans, however, (please make a note of this, as I don’t admit this very often) I was very wrong?

There were a fair few Attila t-shirts here tonight, so they brought a good amount of their own fans, but within the space of two songs they had the whole venue in their hands. At times, it was a sight to behold. I do like to move around at gigs to get the best sound, visuals, etc, so when they came on, I was far right of the venue about 15 feet from the stage, and as much as the music and performance was gripping, I spent a lot of time crowd watching. At some points, it was like the sweaty, sexy rave scene from the Matrix trilogy. A sea of bodies were moving in unison, let loose of all inhibitions, and enthralled by Fronz… it was beautiful to watch.

In fact, at one point, they got the whole of the stalls to sit down on the ground and await the instruction to go bat-shit crazy… and bat-shit crazy we went, right on cue. With every song, the cheers got louder, the mosh pits got bigger, and the crowd surfers became more abundant. We had some dodgy moments, with band members touching each other up (and they got told to keep that in the tour bus), but apart from that, this was a joyous show. Johnny 3 Tears came on and said how they had made new brothers on the tour. I don’t know if that was to gee the crowd up, but I can assure you these boys did not need anyones help. Now, just to ratchet the chaos up one more notch with the intro to “Break Shit”. The crowd are informed Manchester were crazy the night before, and holy crap that got some heckles up, and that was all she wrote. What a set, what a band, and what a way to warm up a crowd.

Once again, I was very surprised by tonight. First of all, this show was moved from the smaller O2 ABC some time ago, as it sold out. I always figured Hollywood Undead to be a bit of an underground movement, almost the cult movie of the metal world. Whenever I mention the name, I usually just get blank looks. I first discovered Hollywood Undead way back in 2008 (yip, right at the beginning). I was on holiday in Florida, and I was doing my ‘usual’ of finding a band from the country I was visiting that I had never heard before. This was a month after “Swan Songs” was released… and here am I standing in a record store across from Planet Hollywood with a set of cans on, listening to what was on offer. That stopped when I got to ‘Swan Songs’ and I played track after track, so much so I had kids pulling at my vest telling me to hurry up! There was no doubt what album I was going home with, and it and every other release to date has lived with me since.

For one reason or another, I never got to see the band live until last year at Hellfest, and boy was the wait worth it. Like Attila, tonight they were playing to a crowd that was not their own, so it wasn’t all plain sailing, but by the end of the set, I was watching a crowd of thousands dance, sing, and bounce… so you can imagine how I was feeling about seeing a full set in my own home town.

There was also no doubt what country we were in, as the band pounced onto the stage draped in Scottish Saltires and Lion Rampant flags. I was not prepared for that, and going by the crowd’s instant craziness, neither were they. A cardboard cut-out of Elvis, that was taped to the drum machine, was punched and thrown into the crowd and they burst into “Usual Suspects” and that was all she wrote for common sense and partiality. Next up was “Undead”, and what a fitting song… the crowd looked like a throng of zombies desperate for brains. The security were pulling bodies over the barrier and passing out water in equal measures.

The only problem with a Hollywood Undead gig is what and who to watch. Vocal duties get passed around like some sort of stoners game of tennis. I was also taking photos tonight, and I can assure you I worked for my money. You are in a zone focused on Charlie, and Johhny is almost standing on your head. As much as I love being as close to the action as possible, the best place to be is back a bit, where you can take it all in.

This is also the best place to take in the band as a whole. Jeez, these guys are tight and note perfect. There really were so many highlights tonight. From “Kill Everyone”, “Warchild”, “Bullet”, to an amazing rendition of “Day Of The Dead”, the songs kept coming and the highlights kept racking up. Now, as if there was not enough people on that stage, the band got a member of the crowd up to play guitar… enter Olly, who was overcome as soon as he hits the stage. He crumbled a bit in front of his heroes and couldn’t do it. Send him back? No chance. Let’s get someone else up… and with an amazing entrance, (or exit) Connor climbed onto the stage inadvertantly giving the whole of the venue a ‘full moon’ to be proud of! There was no stage fright for Connor though, and he blasted out the chords as the band bopped away and looked after poor Olly. That’s two kids with dreams made, right there.

As “Day Of The Dead” came to a close, I headed up to the balcony, as I knew what was coming next and wanted to capture some more shots. When the band came out for the encore, Johhny made a heartfelt thank you for coming out, for buying merch and CDs, and basically supporting the band and letting them do what they do. I can also confirm this was no Ozzy style “we love you all” passing comment. They also gave personal thanks to the Glasgow Choir, who were always on top form for them, as was obvious from the pre encore singing of the next song, and the age old favourite, here we, here we, here we fucking go, and from upstairs it was as loud as hell.

As those infamous keyboard pings to “Everywhere I Go” started, the crowd had a meltdown once more. Watching from above, it was just amazing to encounter and the volume it was sung back at the Hollywood Undead was louder than the PA up here. As the show was wrapped up with “Hear Me Now”, some more mask-clad members stroll out, and every member of Attila are on the stage as well. The perfect end to the tour. I have no idea what the bands got up to later, but they deserved every drink, every shot, and probably every overnight stay in the cells. They served up a two course meal of entertainment and enjoyment. This one is going to be hard to beat.

Images/review Ritchie Birnie

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