The Metro, Sydney NSW
August 25th, 2016
Supports – Marcelo, Tyne-James Organ
The eyeliner was flowing, leather jackets everywhere, and the line extending up the alley was long as dedicated punters waited to be let into the venue.
Last night was not to be taken lightly, being not only the 25-year-old rocker’s first Aussie show of the tour as a solo artist, but the first one period. From a well-chosen selection of covers to heartfelt tributes and harking back to Black Veil Brides, Andy Black proved his dominance on the live stage, backed by a guitarist and drummer truly elevating the dynamic.
Sydney singer-songwriter Marcelo just released his first, self-titled EP in July, and was certainly all smiles as he kicked us off. While the performance wasn’t too engaging, with the artist seeming all too comfortable with his acoustic guitar at times, new song ‘Smoke’ was a set highlight. Grinning from behind the keyboard, he made an apology to his manager for playing a track that he wasn’t supposed to, receiving an appreciative raw from a growing crowd.
However, it was the 19-year-old from Wollongong taking to the stage next that surprised with his easy-going charm, a well-executed Death Cab For Cutie cover and stellar finger-picking. Tyne-James Organ playing his acoustic with that finesse while mixing up the rhythms made for a dynamic 20 minutes, arousing a wave of crowd clapping on more than one occasion. Despite the numerous Christmas references confusing several gig-goers, Organ showcased some real talent which needs to been seen more of live.
Then, it was time.
The lights went down, with guitarist Josh J. and drummer Beaux Evans walking on-stage to deafening screams. Even before playing a single note, it was as though the two fed off the crowd and vice versa, lifted further by the seamless banter with Black to follow. Evans soon lay into a huge drum beat, building up tensions which exploded as soon as the main attraction appeared in front of ballistic punters.
The first three tracks were a triple threat, Black pulling the trigger with pop-rock anthem ‘Stay Alive’ and a huge wave of energy with the dance-inducing ‘Ribcage’. Unexpectedly, the vocalist threw an early cover our way, the familiar rhythm of Billy Idol’s ‘Dancing With Myself’ combining with Black’s flawless stage movement to produce an absolute banger.
Banter between band members was rife, with Black taking the piss out of Josh’s inability to speak any Spanish but ‘taco’ (despite his Mexican roots), and Evans’ inability to frown. To much laughter, the rocker paused at one point to contemplate the headline of an online news story with the words “Andy Black storms off stage because drummer is more attractive than him”. Then there was a surprise moment as Josh tried vegemite for the first time, punters both booing and cheering the guitarist on as he spit out his forkful.
Yet the solo artist also reflected on his life in between songs as though he were writing an autobiography. Black painted a vivid picture of his past 10 years since forming Black Veil Brides, revealing how he let go of his previous angst by changing his diet, quitting drinking and getting married this year.
Black’s resonant tone shined consistently throughout the night, particularly on ‘Beautiful Pain’ (dedicated tenderly to good friend Chris Holley who died last year) and ‘Paint It Black’. However, the singer belting his highs too far away from the mic at times ultimately proved to be detracting on the former.
‘Drown Me Out’ brought things back up to mosh tempo, with Josh visibly getting into it as the crowd went nuts to a monster chorus. Then, Black Veil Brides fans were taken down memory lane with ‘Saviour’, an old favourite from second record Set the World on Fire (2011). Apart from ‘Drown Me Out’ and ‘Put the Gun Down’ though, it seemed as though there was a lull during the show’s second half, especially after a firing start.
As Black said his goodbyes and the rest of the band walked offstage, we all knew that there was one track yet to be played. It was new album-favourite ‘We Don’t Have to Dance’, with its infectious chorus and overall energy, which recaptured the show’s initial vibe, and it was sorely needed.
For your first ever Aussie show as a solo musician, Andy Black, you’re doing a damn good job.
Dancing With Myself (Billy Idol cover)
Louder Than Your Love
Reach for the Sky (Social Distortion cover)
Paint It Black
Drown Me Out
Saviour (Black Veil Brides song)
Time to Waste (Alkaline Trio cover)
Put the Gun Down
They Don’t Need to Understand
We Don’t Have to Dance
Review by Genevieve Gao