When you go to as many gigs as I do a lot of good shows kind of get buried under the mountains of not so good shows. It takes something special to elevate a gig so that it remains imbedded in my mind months afterwards…this was one of those gigs.
First off I have to give props to the venue…I had never been to the Shephards Bush Empire but I came away a huge fan. From the placement of the large bars, the easy access & the security waiting by the stairs stopping people from standing their & blocking peoples access, it was perfect.
We arrived in time to see Napalm Deaths equipment being removed from the stage & Bodom’s set-up beginning. The wait seemed to go on forever & it was exciting to see them setting up a stage show that looked to be more than just the canvas background.
When the lights went down & the band hit the stage the venue was heaving & it was clear the crowd were up for it. Opening with a new track from the album, Halo of Blood, Transference is a fast-paced & hugely energetic song that starts a circle-pit within seconds. Worryingly though, the vocals sound rough & un-clear, a problem that is quickly fixed.
Fan favourites Needled 24/7 & Living Dead Beat sound absolutely huge & the band are on fine form showcasing why they are considered one the best live acts around right now. During these songs it becomes clear that Bodom has brought a bit more of stage show than we are used to as 5 big screens on the back play different images depending upon what song is being played, there is even a point we see Alexi playing from a camera right at the base of his guitar.
It’s not ground-breaking stuff but it makes such a change from the basic stage shows we see nowadays.
A double header of new songs, Halo of Blood & Scream For Silence fit alongside classics Bodom After Midnight, Lake Bodom & Hate Crew Deathroll perfectly. Every song sounds as tight as the last & other then Alexi’s brief banter between songs there is very little interruption.
The final new song of the night is then aired & it slows things down wonderfully…Dead Man’s Hand On You is not your usual Bodom song & on record I wasn’t so sure about it, live though…it kills & it really reminds you of just how good a singer Alexi is.
The final 3rd of the gig is classic after classic with songs such as Are You Dead Yet?, Towards Dead End & a huge-sounding Angels Don’t Kill getting an outing tonight. Both the band & crowd seem up for carrying on for well into the early hours of the morning but all good things must come to an end & Downfall sees the band out with style.
The band does return for a 1-song encore, In Your Face before the lights come up & a very happy crowd troops out having had the time of their lives.
Children Of Bodom @ Shepherd's Bush Empire, London (15/03/13)