Review : The British Invasion Tour

Photo by Matt Christine
Photo by Matt Christine

Earlier this week Bullet For My Valentine and Asking Alexandria took the Fillmore by storm as The British Invasion tour rolled through Philadelphia on Wednesday. The two European power houses of metal have been out on the road for a few weeks now filling mid-sized venue to near capacity with most dates being listed as completely sold out. The tour package is a match made in heaven (or hell) and it was no surprise when the band’s announced they would be extending the tour with a 2nd US Leg later this Spring. The union of these two bands for a tour symbolized more than just a similarity of European nationality, it was a re-birth of two bands who have both gone through trials and tribulation over the past few years only to emerge more successful than ever before.

The ongoing saga of Asking Alexandria’s lead singer problems are well behind them at this point as they have paved the future of the band with new frontman Denis Stoff who was quickly welcomed by fans during their run on the Vans Warped Tour last year. Stoff brought a new fire to the band and it was no surprise when the newly released songs “I Won’t Give In” and  “The Black” skyrocketed to the top of the band’s Youtube’s page for views. Asking Alexandria has always been one of the most technically complex bands in metal to emerge in the past 5 years and Stoff’s addition to the band ushers a new era of maturity in the band’s music.

Photo by Matt Christine
Photo by Matt Christine

There is no need to look back and point fingers but having seen them before and after the switch there is no doubt that their previous lead singer was a burden holding them back from being one of the top band’s in the scene. Ben Bruce, Cameron Liddell, and Sam Bettley have never seemed happier on stage as they performed.

The evolution of Asking Alexandria over the past has brought them a new fanbase of listeners, their live set reflects the changed sound that their upcoming release “The Black” will have. Stoff’s range in the delivery of the vocals is fast and stunning, yet there is an edge in his voice that allows older songs to become just has brutal and beautiful as the newly recorded material. It is hard to say if the rest of the band has adjusted on some of the older songs but it felt like their tuning was a bit lower than it used to be, regardless the live performances of longtime mainstays in their set such as “The Death of Me” and “A Prophecy” made the crowd go truly insane. Crowd surfers emerged from the very start of their set as the band kicked things off properly with a cranked up performance of “I Won’t Give In.” Their 8 song set gave fans who came out just enough of everything; new, old, and everything in between were represented at the British Invasion Tour.

Asking Alexandria Setlist – March 2, 2016
I Won’t Give In
Run Free
The Death of Me
To the Stage
The Black
Not the American Average
A Prophecy
The Final Episode (Let’s Change the Channel)

Photo by Matt Christine
Photo by Matt Christine

Asking Alexandria has expanded, evolved and matured; the band will continue to grow through 2016 and there is no doubt that “The Black” will go down as one of the biggest releases in the genre when it comes out later this month. Check out this exclusive photo gallery of their performance on March 2, 2016 at the Fillmore in Philadelphia from Matt Christine Photography :

It was a short change after Asking Alexandria to get the stage ready for Bullet For My Valentine to bring havoc to the crowded Philadelphia venue. During this time many fans ran to the nearest bar to grab a beer or a water to refuel for the chaos that was about to ensue when the band took the stage at 9:30PM. In a flash of white loud and deafening drums Bullet For My Valentine walked on stage to the roar of a crowd who had patiently waited to see them since doors opened hours earlier. Matt Tuck raised his guitar to his side and with a tilt of head he slammed the opening riff of “No Way Out” as the strobes flashed in unison across the stage. Within an instant the crowd surfers began rushing over the barricade and by the time Tuck began to sing there were easily 50 people who had made their way across the hands of the crowd.

Photo by Matt Christine
Photo by Matt Christine

It has been a long time since Bullet For My Valentine has toured and their most recent release “Venom,” has helped them reclaim their rightful place at the top of the metal scene. To many fans their 2012 release “Temper, Temper” came across as a disappointment as the album was certainly more conceptual in sound than their previous releases. There is no doubt Bullet For My Valentine is dedicated to the metalcore sound they helped pioneer with songs like “Scream Aim Fire” from their early years as the setlist for the British Invasion Tour in Philadelphia didn’t include a single track from “Temper, Temper.”

The band instead focused on the tight guitar riffs and speed sound that brought them fame; the crowd loved every second of it. One of the most iconic moments of the night was delivered early in the set as countless lights strobe to the pounding introduction of “Your Betrayal.” Moments later the crowd tuck over Matt Tuck’s role on vocals as they screamed a whole verse before Matt Tuck over with his signature yell.

Photo by Matt Christine
Photo by Matt Christine

Bullet For My Valentine put on what was without a doubt one of the most technically impressive and difficult performance that I have seen within the genre. Their studio material has very complex guitar parts that transfer into the live environment in ways that I find difficult to describe to someone who hasn’t seen their live performance.

While they include some subtle changes to the songs, such as cutting out all the sound and lights on “Your Betrayal” only to kick back in with full force and a blinding flash. I will go on record saying that Matt Tuck and Padge are 2 of the best guitarists of my generation. The setlist for the Philadelphia show truly showcased how influential this band has been on the metal scene and just how tight of a show they can craft for their fans.

Bullet For My Valentine Setlist – March 2, 2016
No Way Out
Your Betrayal
4 Words (To Choke Upon)
You Want a Battle? (Here’s a War)
The Last Fight
Drum Solo
Raising Hell
Scream Aim Fire
The Poison
Hand of Blood
Tears Don’t Fall
Waking the Demon

Photo by Matt Christine
Photo by Matt Christine

If you missed the first leg of this tour do yourself a favor and try to get tickets for when these two bands come back through this area later this year in May the Starland Ballroom. Don’t miss out on The British Invasion Tour and be sure to check out these exclusive images of Bullet For My Valentine performing in Philadelphia from Matt Christine Photography:

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