There is a whole lot of love out there for The Birthday Massacre and the snaking queue of black-clad bunny-eared fans on Holloway Road was testament to that fact.
Stage times would be precise tonight. Two support acts and an early curfew meant there was virtually no time for a refreshing lip-smacking Pepsi Cola, and, from the get-go, the venue and the bar were packed tighter than Dick’s hat band.
Without further ado, the night began promptly with a mysterious twosome, Witch of the Vale. Dressed in a flowing dark dress with a lacey blindfold style mask, Erin’s ethereal vocals floated over Ryan’s pounding electronic beats and melodies, something like Clannad meets Marilyn Manson. Hailing from the Outer Hebrides, their sound evokes the magic, beauty and bleakness of the landscape. Ryan’s keyboards allude to the droning of bagpipes and the ritualistic drumming of men robed in animal skins, much like his own outfit.
Erin’s lyrics swing between masochistic and murderous, hinting at a penchant for sacrificing lesser goths, Wickerman style.
In addition to their original materials, their set included a cover of Hurt by Nine Inch Nails, famously covered by the legendary Johnny Cash. For that Witch of the Vale, we applaud you.
The vibe changed significantly from self-harm to self-love as LA’s Vanilla Sugar, a.k.a. Jessica Perry bounded onto the stage. With long pink hair, heart shaped glasses and the general appearance of a life-size fetish Barbie doll, she relentlessly worked the crowd until almost everyone present was promising to keep her secret.
Secrets aside, Jessica did tell us about her experience in old blighty…
The kind of girl that may well leave you waking up in chains, covered in pink lipstick, boot imprints and whip marks, Jessica brought the good vibes to the stage and the drooling masses to the front.
With high energy electro-pop, frequently changing rhythms, appropriately sugary vocals and the occasional death metal guttural scream, she was unashamedly bad ass and irrepressible, like a gothic Ashnikko if you will.
While both support acts were received well, the excitement levels ratcheted up as The Birthday Massacre took the stage. Dressed in a sailor minidress with hair in bunches, Chibi instantly connected with the crowd with her trademark, pointing out the party faithful.
The sailor suit was apt as this was a full on assault. We expect nothing less from TBM and the band raided the armoury and broke out the big guns to deliver a total blitzkrieg of a show that would surely leave the audience shell-shocked for days to come.
Alongside the classic older material, the set included a selection of fresh tracks from their most recent album, Fascination and the invasion began with Stars and Satellites before heading back to the Superstition album for Destroyer. The same could be said about the audience, spanning teenagers dressed as Wednesday Addams with bunny ears to pensioners still squeezing into those stinky old leather trousers and boots. With half of the crowd making heart symbols and the other half making devil signs with their hands, the music similarly combined light and dark, with classic alt-rock, reverb-heavy eighties indie guitar and doom metal all thrown into the mix and cannoned out in a mighty sonic shockwave.
Although the newer tracks were clearly already known by the hardcore, the favourites such as Blue totally galvanised the audience.
Indeed, this dark galvanised horde had been swept up in the fire and frenzy of TBM’s blinding atomic eruption and in a muzzle flash, this epic set (twenty songs) was into the encore.
To ensure nothing was left standing, Falling Down and In The Dark confirmed total annihilation of The Garage.
The Birthday Massacre played The Garage, Islington on 12th November 2022.
Support from Vanilla Sugar and Witch of the Vale
Words and live photography Copyright of 1st 3 Magazine
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