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Wednesday 13 - Rock City, Nottingham, 21/3/2009

  by Peter Allison

published: 4 / 4 / 2009

Wednesday 13 - Rock City, Nottingham, 21/3/2009


At Nottingham Rock City, Peter Allison watches former Murder Dolls frontman and glam/punk star Wednesday 13 play a fantastic and energetic set

Rock City is the focal point of Nottinghamshire’s alternative community, and thus a major stopping off point for alternative bands on tour. Wednesday 13’s 'Scream Baby Scream' tour, which had recently visited Japan, was a recent visitor. Despite Wednesday 13’s established career, he is not as well known as some of the other acts who have played there, but that did not diminish the number of enthusiastic fans already camped outside, four hours before the nightclub doors were scheduled to open. One thing I must add about Rock City is that it is a superbly designed venue, with a raised stage so everyone can see the band, and a balcony at the rear of the nightclub for people to have an unobstructed view without venturing into the heaving masses at the front. The security staff were also handing out bottles of chilled water to counter dehydration. This is a nightclub that specifically caters for live audiences. Opening the night were the Los Angeles glam rock band Chelsea Smiles. Despite being virtual unknowns over here, they played an impressive set. Their new front man, RJ Ronquillo, who joined the band in January had an impressive visual presence, as well being an accomplished vocalist. While I was initially ambivalent towards them, they gradually won me over with their excellent music. I was not as impressed ,however, with the second act, as they at times threatened to be a cliché, and at other moments pole-vaulted cliché into parody (most notably when they all stopped playing to scream at the crowd). Announcing themselves as Glamour of the Kill from York, although I somehow misheard them as King Prawns of New York, which probably highlights my dissatisfaction with them. While individually they were quite skilled, collectively they still needed to form a cohesive sound. The vocals of singer Davey Death were overwhelmed by the electric guitars, and likewise the two guitarists, Chris Carnage and Mikey Massacre, provided backing vocals, very bad backing vocals… By now, the crowd’s appetite was suitably whetted and Wednesday 13 did not disappoint. Striding on stage with his signature crossed spades ('Grave Diggers Union'),Wednesday 13 addressed the crowd in his faux kiddy voice, which set the mood for the rest of the night: it started well and simply got better. High points of Wednesday 13’s set included '197666', 'R.A.M.B.O.', and 'I Walked With A Zombie' (which included a zombie shuffling on stage with a guitar). The latter track highlights what Wednesday 13 offers: excellent music with a fun/visual element (similarly, a dictionary definition of the F-word was priceless). Needless to say, Wednesday is fantastic performer, combining an energetic stage presence, with incredible vocals, and excellent guitar work. But Wednesday 13 is more than one man, and his supporting musicians were equally deserving of praise. Most notably the bassist (who sadly was not announced) is not only an excellent musician in his own right, but was obviously enjoying himself and letting the crowd know it. If their has to be a criticism of the night, it would have to be that Wednesday 13 forewent some of his earlier work (such as a cover of Billy Idol’s 'White Wedding') in deference for tracks from his more recently released 'Skeletons'. Admittedly, this observation is down to personal choice, and if he chose to retain a focus on his earlier work, he could equally be accused of stagnating. Overall, this was a fantastic performance, proving that Wednesday 13 is still one of the best glam/punk artists to date.

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