Spending a Sunday evening in a darkened room with a gathering of sweaty, exhilarated fans rocking their hearts out might not quite be the weekend wind-down that one would normally expect. But for the long-awaited culmination of the Ashestoangels tour, we can certainly make an exception. Let’s just be grateful it fell on a Bank Holiday weekend, for this promised to be a messy evening indeed.
Offering a little something extra is one of the reasons why this band have such a close following. A prime example of this was the acoustic set that vocalist Adam Crilly provided with backing vocal efforts from Josh Jones and Nikki Kontinen before the main event. Granted this was performed in the back of their tour van, but little details like taking requests from the audience and belting out every single note just like it would be on the main stage, makes moments like this very special indeed.
A duo of locally sourced talent exploded the night’s festivities into full swing, or more accurately, full head-banging mode. Metalcore quintet Defining Lines delivered a deliciously powerful set with their collection of recently released tracks from EP ‘As Our Souls Depart’. Following this were Ashestoangels’ tour buddies Kill the Silence, who felt more than comfortable in their hometown of Leeds and positively overwhelmed by the reaction to their latest single ‘You Should Know’.
As the collective force of Ashestoangels fully combined, the Key Club stage came alive with the infectious madness that vocalist Crilly radiates with every song that he sings. Opening with veteran classic ‘The Wake’, it was clear that these boys had been missed from this fair city, for every word was belted back in perfect synchrony.
The pure power and professionalism is quite something to behold with Ashetoangels, their epic mixture of punk, rock and metal tones blends seamlessly together for an incredibly uplifting night. Bringing together tracks from differing stages in their career turns their set into one fantastic journey into the crazy, eclectic minds and quirky world of these lads. From ‘Horror Cult’ classics ‘I Could Never Miss You’, bringing catchy choruses to life to older anthem ‘Bury Us in Black’, bringing to the forefront amazingly gutsy percussion from dummer Jarlath McCaughery.
As things took a decidedly more heavy turn with ‘Bones Pt. 2’, it was a special moment as Mikey Lord [of As Sirens Fall], who originally appeared as guest vocals on the song, and Kill the Silence vocalist Jason Walsh joined Crilly onstage. What ensued was collective madness from all sides of the stage. If this group couldn’t fit on stage before, they certainly wouldn’t have much breathing space now. But their coordinated harmonies and perfectly executed sections were wonderful to hear, each singer bringing a wonderfully unique aspect to the table. At this point, Nikki Kontinen’s efforts on keys must be noted, as traditionally a band member that may fade into the background, Kontinen add another dimension of sparkle to make these tracks excel into something mega.
Crilly’s onstage antics are unmistakable, famously known for never standing still and darting around every inch of the stage and beyond. His brand of getting close and personal with their adoring fans is mesmerising, with guitarists Josh Jones and Adam Falkor following suit. Each second is an adventure, it’s like keeping an eye on fifty kids in a sweet shop, you never know where they’re going to end up next. This very rule we’ve come to know was thrown out of the window, when rock ballad ‘Endlessly’ blew us away. This very different side was breathtaking to hear, and shows huge versatility running throughout this enviably talented band. Wrapping up their time with a mash-up of ‘I’ll Be the Dark’ and ‘Six Six Six’ was inspired, and gave everyone one last chance to dance with these fantastic punk rockers.
Oddly enough, Ashestoangels were not the stars of the closing night of their own tour. Sacrificing the coveted main act slot, the lads took a step back and graciously played host for their tour buddies in Fail the Enemy, whose debut EP launch party brought the night to a close. Their brand of anthemic, punchy metal tracks hit just the right note, and these boys have definitely blossomed since the release of their eponymous debut EP. As all members of Kill the Silence and Ashestoangels joined Fail the Enemy onstage for the closing Linkin Park cover, you could feel the lasting friendships that had been made radiating throughout the room. And if you weren’t already warmed by thrashing along vigorously to this epic collection of bands, you certainly would be now.