It’s a little strange to see that tonight’s show is staged in The Bowery District. This is a part-time club and sometime live venue in Reading, which is very small compared to a lot of other stages that Wednesday 13 has graced in his long career. So this promises to be an interesting, and intimate show.
First to hit the stage are Snow White’s Poison Bite (6/10). They are a Finnish band that very much carry on the theme of their host. They appear with skull-style face paint and sing about graveyards and living dead girls. A very fitting support band in theory. However the crowd is still very thin at this point and the ones that are here, don’t seem to know the band very well. Apart from a few die-hard fans in the front row, it is a slightly lacklustre welcome for the band.
However this doesn’t stop them giving it their all. Frontman Allan shows a lot of energy and passion when he sings and the rest of the band seem to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. After the crowd starts to grow in size, Allan attempts to rally them with a good amount of crowd interaction. Their popular hit Will You Meet Me In The Graveyard? goes down a storm and they leave the stage having surely gained some new fans.
With only two bands on the bill tonight, Wednesday 13 (8/10) is up next and as soon as the lights dim and the intro music starts, the crowd start to roar and come alive. This is what they have come for and they show it. Fists start pumping the air as soon as new song Keep Watching The Skies starts and shows that the fans already know the words to their latest album. The size of the stage tonight does restrict the band’s movement somewhat. Despite giving 100% as they always do, I get the feeling that this is not the right venue choice for a band of their level – especially coupled with the fact that the place is, at best, three quarters full and the atmosphere at the back was slightly lacking.
Seemingly undeterred by this, the band plough through their set with gusto. Wednesday 13 makes a few costume changes along the way, including demonic headgear with a cane, a grim reaper style hood and a leatherface-esque mask along with an apron adorned with human teeth. Lead guitarist Roman Surman has crop circles etched on the shaved side of his head as a hat tip to their latest album Monsters Of The Universe. This is their first concept album and it strays from the path of zombies, death and the macabre and focuses on UFOs, aliens and intergalactic warfare. The theme might be an unusual change of pace, but the band’s original manifesto was in danger of becoming stale. This keeps the same fist pounding riffs and catchy solos of old, but is a welcome refresh of a very well established and respected band.
Of course Wednesday can’t satiate his fans with all new songs, so they blast through some old classics like Skeletons, I Walked With A Zombie and the ubiquitous Bad Things. The omission of a personal favourite RAMBO is disappointing but it’s something you have to expect when you have as vast a back catalogue as Wednesday 13.
When they finally bring the show to a close with the title track of their new album, Monsters Of The Universe, they prove that they are still the kings of shock rock and will always be welcome on these shores.
Wednesday 13The Bowery District, Reading - March 6th 2015
Photographer: Colm Browne