Review: Wednesday 13 – The Cathouse, Glasgow

There’s something surreal about catching a Wednesday 13 show in April. October through December, with the dark, spooky nights – perfect sense. But a sun-kissed Glasgow in April? That’s a bit like The Addams Family hitting the beach in July – unheard of. Swapping the sunshine and glorious clear skies for a packed-out darker-than-dark venue plays havoc with the senses. But after a few moments of squinting like a vampire in reverse, eyes become accustomed to the dark and there’s no more need to apologise to the barriers for standing on their toes. It’s dark. It’s hella dark. But what would you expect for a Wednesday 13 show? It’s also busy. Hella busy. And somewhat surprisingly, a vast amount of the audience doesn’t seem old enough to remember when The Duke of Spook first started out. Either that or they have been drinking from the same fountain of youth as the man himself.

At an average ticket price of £25, the ‘Halfway To The Grave!’ tour is incredible value for money. Alongside Wednesday 13 are main tour support (and rising UK stars) South Of Salem – a band who are firing on all cylinders having just completed a UK tour with W.A.S.P. – and they get better with each outing, and tonight they are preaching to a room full of people already converted to their cause. Also on the bill are Italian-based Sick N’ Beautiful. If you can imagine Katy Perry fucking shit up by taking on a Nine Inch Nails-meets-Kiss vibe then you are almost there (or, if you are old enough to remember Hazel O’Connor in the cult movie Breaking Glass, then go with that) With only 30 minutes or so to make an impression, they certainly do just that. Uber-theatrical – great fun. Opening the tour are noise merchants Tarah Who? Led by the impossible-to-take-your-eyes-from Tarah Carpenter, the trio does indeed make a glorious noise, and the forthcoming album  ‘The Collaboration Project’ is already on the must-investigate-further list. Each band has a well-stocked merch table, and will happily pose for pics and sign whatever you put in front of them. Make sure to stop by and say ‘sup.

Once the dust has settled from South Of Salem’s smash-and-grab set (they’ll be headlining this very venue in no time at all), it’s time for the main event and a performer who has been treading the boards for over thirty years now. Before he was a Murderdoll, he was a Frankenstein Drag Queen from Planet 13, and over time his musical legacy has grown with each album, and the end result is an incredibly well-attended UK tour that lands four decades on from the much-loved debut album from Frankenstein Drag Queens from Planet 13. And more importantly; he is still releasing new music that stands proudly alongside the bangers from throughout his illustrious career. Ghouls and ghoulettes; Wednesday 13 is in the house and he has brought his enviable jukebox of hits with him.

Within a few moments of opening number ‘Blood Sucker’ it becomes obvious how tight and cohesive this band is. With new drummer Mike Dupke impressing from the off, these guys are well-seasoned and do make it look easy. Which is difficult considering how dark the venue is. The trademark Wednesday 13 snarl is as impressive as ever, as are the gang-vocals from the guys backing him up. With the dreaded early curfew looming there is zero time for chit-chat and the band powers into one banger after another; ‘Scream Baby Scream’ has a really nasty groove powered by Dupke’s drums along with the thick bass lines from Mr. Reliable aka Troy Doebbler; ‘Look What the Bats Dragged In’ is still a massive thrill nearly twenty years on from its arrival into the world and the heartfelt lyrics take on more meaning with each passing year – “I’m dying from my own disease/I’m a villain/I’m a murderer and the victim is me”; at its bare bones ‘My Home Sweet Homicide’ is a killer slice of bar room rock n’ roll (thanks to the scorchio guitar work from lead guitarist Roman Surman aided and abetted by Jack Tankersley), and new track ‘Good Day to be A Bad Guy’ is chockful of earworm moments tailor-made for audience participation…as is the monster mash-up of Bowie’s ‘Suffragette City’ and Alice Cooper’s ‘Under My Wheels’ with a riotous version of ‘From Here to the Hearse’ which has a gorgeous Billy Duffy-like guitar tone from Roman Surman (just one highlight from a night packed with them).

Each track is met by roars of approval and once the roars die down, the penny drops and the appeal of Wednesday 13 becomes clear: it’s not so much about the horror-punk visuals and the look, it’s about the music and those hooks that snare you in and rattle around the psyche for days on end. Even a relatively new track such as ‘Decompose’ is as catchy as hell, and the melodies during the opening few moments will live rent-free in your head for all of eternity. After a nifty drum solo from Dupke that features clips from The Exorcist and Halloween, it’s onto a home straight that is preceded by Wednesday 13 talking about the much-missed Joey Jordison and when he announces “…the next part of the set is dedicated to Joey” the place erupts as the Murderdolls classic ‘Nowhere’ bursts to life. The queue at the bar all turn as one and raise their fists aloft in tribute. How do you follow that up? With some Frankenstein Drag Queens from Planet 13 and ‘Die My Bride’, that’s how. From here on in it is party time – will there ever be a day when ‘I Walked With a Zombie’ and ‘I Love to Say Fuck’ don’t bring the house down? Nope. Never.

Wednesday 13 and his cohorts are in unstoppable form, miss them at your peril. Four bands for £25; £6.25 a band. That’s less than a large meal at Mcdonald’s. Just saying.

Review – Dave

Remaining tour dates:

Wed 12th April – MANCHESTER Club Academy

Thu 13th April – BLACKPOOL Waterloo Music Hall

Fri 14th April – WOLVERHAMPTON KK’s Steel Mill

Sat 15th April – MILTON KEYNES Craufurd Arms

All remaining tickets can be found here.

[Photo Credit: Stephen Jensen at F3 Studios]

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