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Monday 20 November 2023

A View From The Back Of The Room: Deathstars (Live Review By James Jackson)

Deathstars, Priest, Liv Sin - Rebellion, Manchester. 09.11.23

I’ve been to Rebellion a few times now and tonight it’s playing host to Deathstars on the Everything Destroys You tour, support on this leg of the tour comes from Priest and Liv Sin. 

With all good intentions I downloaded an album or two by Liv Sin (8) but as is often the way I just never really got around to listening to it in depth, banners featuring the artwork for this years album Kali Yuga adorn either side of the stage, vocalist Liv Jagrell using as much of the stage and the floor to entertain us; musically there’s a very classic Heavy Metal style to it mixed in with heavier, almost Metalcore moments, it’s a short set of songs, approximately half an hour, which in my mind wasn’t at all long enough and I’ve promised myself to give those albums another chance.

If you mention Priest (9) in the Metal community you’ll most likely get the response Judas or KK’s ?
Well the answer here is actually an Electronic outfit that consists of ex members of Ghost, donning masks (again) and playing sample laden cyberpunk, synth pop. I can’t remember exactly how or when I discovered this act but their albums and EP’s are on pretty heavy rotation, so the chance to see them live was too good an opportunity to miss. The three piece have hidden identities and alternate names, it’s a gimmick but all in the name of entertainment and it’s a fun show, full of terrible dancing, a few bad jokes and a keytar solo or two, something I’ve never seen but is reminiscent of the 70/80’s era that a lot of Priest’s material sounds like, they garnered a great reaction from the crowd as most of them danced away like they were at a high school dance. Great set.

If it hadn’t of been for reviewing Deathstars (9) new album back in May I wouldn’t have been here tonight, on the back of that review I bought tickets as soon as I saw that they were coming to the UK; but in all honesty, despite having their back catalogue on repeat at the time, I’ve barely listened to any of it since, so like a school boy on the night before a big exam I’ve been cramming the Deathstars album Everything Destroys You over the last few days, hoping that I’ll recognise something. It felt like both the band and the audience took awhile to warm up, despite the fact that I’m sure the majority of us were there to see Deathstars, perhaps it was the rather obvious difference between the dance like pop of Priest and the goth industrial metal of Deathstars that just took a bit of a readjustment, but after a few songs in the balance was restored and all was well in Manchester. 

The songs tonight were a mix of old and new, some I recognised and sang out of tune to and others I could only provide applause as enthusiastically as I could possibly get, whilst my recognition of the songs being performed was minimal the onstage performance was captivating enough to remedy that slight injustice; bassist Jonas “Skinny Disco” Kangur and guitarist Eric “Cat Casino” Backman both stood out for different reasons, all playing to the audience and their art, however it was vocalist Andreas “Whiplasher Bernadotte” Bergh who stood out and for the wrong reason, you often look at the frontman whilst watching a live band, that’s his job but here there it was different, here it was for what felt like an unhealthy obsession with his own genitals and a penchant for pointing them out, whilst this was new to me it may well be a staple of the Deathstars live show but it felt a bit too creepy for my liking. 

Despite that rather odd behaviour, this was indeed a great experience, even a few technical difficulties couldn’t dampen the band’s enthusiasm and it was all taken in good spirits, the songs were as expected, performed with vigour and the crowd were lapping it up, what more could you possibly want.
In an altogether unrelated matter, I swear that My Dying Bride vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe walked past and was stood near the bar, if it wasn’t him and just a doppelgänger then no great loss, if it was then I missed a great opportunity to meet one of my all time favourite vocalists.

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