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Monday 27 March 2023

A View From The Back Of The Room: W.A.S.P & South Of Salem (Live Review By Tony Gaskin)

W.A.S.P. & South Of Salem, KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton 18.03.23

It’s the long awaited return of Blackie Lawless to these shores this evening with their own inimitable brand of glam metal. A sold out show and a packed room full of 2000+ adoring W.A.S.P. fans buzzing with excitement.

First up though are South Of Salem (8), a five piece hard rocking outfit from the south coast of England. Straight from the get go, they explode onto stage like a bunch of demonic Duracell Bunnies. They barely pause for breath as they delight us with a fast paced set of gothic glam rock.

The kick off with Let Us Prey and The Hate In Me - the opening two tracks from their latest album The Sinner Takes It All taking us through their nightmare vision of the world. I first saw them last year on a small stage in Birmingham and you could feel the pent up energy in their performance then, but unrestricted by a smaller stage they let loose with all their energy and exuberance, they do need to work out their onstage choreography though, with all that adrenaline pumping there were times when it got a bit chaotic on stage.

That’s something that comes with experience and I’m sure by the end of this tour they’ll be dancing around on stage with more fluidity. Multi talented front man Joey Draper (author and horror movie aficionado ) looks at ease though, confident and connecting with the crowd. All in all, a great way to start the night. If you missed this tour, then South Of Salem have a very busy schedule ahead. No rest for them as they head out on the road again next month as support to Wednesday 13 and a whole load of festivals lined up. Go check them out

Onto tonight's headliners, W.A.S.P. (9) and the rescheduled 40th anniversary tour. There was talk about how Blackie’s religious beliefs would affect this tour, with many of those early songs having controversial lyrics and subject matter. Blackie laid those concerns to rest though when he stated that although his beliefs and philosophies these days are completely different, he is comfortable with playing these songs for his fans as they are a part of the history of the band.

So with that, we were treated to a short but sweet set of early W.A.S.P. classics. Kicking off in their traditional way with On Your Knees as part of an opening medley of songs which included The Flame, The Torture Never Stops and Inside The Electric Circus.

Blackie was on fine form, and they’d even bought out the iconic mic stand Elvis. It was definitely a night for the fans, Love Machine, Wild Child, The Idol - all greeted with cheers of rapturous joy. The band were loving it as much as the crowd, Doug Blair and Mike Duda would give those youngsters in South Of Salem a run for their money as they constantly swapped sides.

The anticipation of the crowd was palpable though as the set closed with Blind In Texas, and the screens lit up with dialogue and video footage from the 80’s hearings in the USA about their lyrics and its claimed negative effect on the kids of America. Everyone in the room knew what was coming.

The band returned to the stage and completed their set with the crowd pleasing Animal which ran into a cover of The Who’s The Real Me giving Blackie a chance to indulge in a bass solo before closing out the night with I Wanna Be Somebody, a suitable end to a night celebrating the career of a much loved band

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