Released: Dec 15, 2014
Though a memorable performance in that it's the final time we'll see Danny performing with the band, "Live From Brixton and Beyond" just doesn't compare with most other live releases from other artists of the same genre.
Live From Brixton and Beyond [DVD]
jaybrink10101, on january 26, 2015 2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: For those of you unfamiliar with Asking Alexandria, they're one of those gateway drug bands that play a sort of metalcore-ish music with bits of electronica and lots of breakdowns. Over the course of three albums they've kind of segued from skinny-jeans-and-fringes scene music into normal-jeans-and-denim-vests endorsers of the heavy-drinking rock star life. This DVD was released a year and a bit after the release of their 3rd album "From Death to Destiny" and less than a month before vocalist Danny Worsnopleft the band to pursue his rock project We Are Harlot, so it's likely the last time we see this line-up. The members of AA are apparently drinking slightly less than usual and Danny has recently managed to sort his voice out, so I had high hopes for this DVD. Unfortunately, I've been let down. The band manages to put on a reasonable hour-long set of fan favourites at Brixton Academy in the UK. They're energetic, engaging, and particularly in the case of drummer James Cassells - adept instrumentals. The pull off both their old and new songs with confidence and frankly looked stoked to be up on stage in front of of the Brixton crowd. There is an overuse of backing tracks (more on that later) but again I must point out that instrumentally the band does a great job of performing their instruments. Guitarists Ben Bruce and Cameron Liddell do joke about being bad guitarists but both perform their (admittedly simple) parts as per the albums. The same goes for bassist Sam Bettley, who locks in with James Cassell's precise, almost robotic drumming brilliantly.
To get it out of the way right now: the vocals are all over the place. Since blowing his voice out on the second album, Danny Worsnop has been favouring clean vocals (which are much lower and gruffer than they were) and replacing his usual harsh vocals with a full-voice yell. As a result, the old songs really test the top end of his range and he simply can't pull off the harsh vocals. Every now and then he looses a vicious scream or growl but then he's right back into the half-yell which he favours for most of the show. He obviously gets tired as the show progresses and starts cupping the mic to get his harsh vocals out. His singing is much the same - he has his moments but he tends to be pitchy. The story is similar for Ben Bruce - he stands about a foot back from the microphone and sings quietly and out of key. Which is a shame, because it detracts from a very competent instrumental performance.
In terms of on-stage performance, they aren't the most engaging band to watch. Ben, James, Cameron, and Sam tend to put their heads down and play, singing along to the choruses, headbanging in the breakdowns, but generally keeping to themselves whilst Danny Worsnop interacts with the audience. The stage dialogue is funny in a juvenile way ("You're a grabby lot, I think I just got half a handjob. Whoever it was, I want the other half after we finish this" remarks Worsnop between songs) and generally revolves around sexual banter ("This song goes out to the girls. Particularly the 18 year old ones who I might be able to have sexual relations with after the show"), taking the p-ss out of Ben ("Ladies and gents, the man whose gender we've been questioning for five years! Ben Bruce!") and arbitrary stalling. Worsnop seems less than passionate on stage, content to walk between risers but never to engage the audience or even his other band members. Overall, it's not a bad show, but compared to just about every live metal release I've seen, it doesn't hold up in comparison. // 4
Overall Impression: Though a memorable performance in that it's the final time we'll see Danny performing with the band, "Live From Brixton and Beyond" just doesn't compare with most other live releases from other artists of the same genre.
Whilst the instrumentals are fine, the vocals and mix really let the show down to a point where it's not at all difficult to get bored with the show. Whilst it has a reasonable amount of content and is appropriately representative of the band's live show, it's ultimately an underwhelming show. Maybe a new vocalist will breathe some new life into them. // 4