The Academy, Dublin
16th September, 2015
Brian Boyle: Photos by Olga Kuzmenko
Having spent the summer traipsing around Europe's many metal festivals, W.A.S.P. return to Dublin to coincide with the release of new album 'Golgotha'.
But before Blackie and his crew unleashed their madness, Cambridge rockers The Treatment were handed the honour of limbering up the Dubliners. And talk about making an entrance. The five lads burst onto the stage, spitting venom, looking like they'd been released from prison after a wrongful conviction.
Hell bent on making an early impression they rampaged through opening tunes 'Let It Begin' and 'The Doctor' with serious fury. Frontman Mitchel Emms may look like he could have fronted any boy band going back twenty years, but once he unleashes his bark, you immediately know this man was born to sing rock n' roll.
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Although the crowd was relatively unresponsive for most of the set, that far from deterred these guys; they energetically rounded up their set with 'Emergency' and the rousing 'Shake The Mountain'. If you were suffering from a bout of the midweek blues, no doubt The Treatment well and truly shook it off.
Whatever the hell it stood for; "we are sexual perverts", "we are Satan's preachers", or "we are Siberian plumbers", LA metallers W.A.S.P.'s contribution to 80s rock was nothing short of explosive. The profanity in their music led to the legendary battle with the Tipper Gore led PMRC, also known as the Washington Wives due to their well connected husbands.
W.A.S.P. found themselves at a respectable number nine with 'Animal ('F..k Like A Beast') in their famous Filthy Fifteen list of songs deemed inappropriate for human ears.
But that's all in the history books now, tonight is about W.A.S.P. 2015. The scrotal pyrotechnics and the fearsome presence of Chris Holmes maybe a thing of the past, but Blackie Lawless and his henchmen still know how to deliver a performance loaded with perpetual brashness.
After the houselights went down we were treated with a intro tape or rather a short mixed tape of the W.A.S.P.'s anthems. Then the mercurial figure of Blackie Lawless took to the stage, back to the crowd then turned around to the adulation of a crowd begging to be stung. 'On Your Knees' and classic 'Inside The Electric Circus' got the severely lubricated crowd properly wound up.
But when Blackie's familiar roar at the start of 'L.O.V.E Machine' viciously rang out, the tempo was well and truly set for a pulsating evening.
Although he's packing extra VAT in the weight department, those mad eyes still hold the hardest of rockers captive. I wondered tonight did the younger contingent of the audience actually appreciate the metal legend they were in the presence of.
Although the new album is yet to be released, shiny new tracks including 'Last Runaway', which benefited from a bit of vocal augmentation, and new album title track 'Golgotha' went down well, it was the titanic ballad 'Miss You' that drew the biggest response. That was mainly due to the jaw dropping solo by Doug Blair, who's now on his third stint with the band. And to be perfectly honest when he's on this kind of form, you tend to forget Chris Holmes was ever a member.
By the time the opening chords of 'Hellion' rang out, a fairly light hearted mosh pit quickly developed into a merciless battle. Best way to describe it, well, it was like a Heavy Metal version of the memorable fight scene in Braveheart.
The dental business in Dublin must have gone through the roof as a lot of people left the madness clutching their mouths. One punter who was obviously getting warmed up for the Rugby World Cup, decided to dish out a medically worrying spear tackle on one unfortunate crowd surfer. And when you see Blackie Lawless with a concerned look on his face, you know something off the scale has arisen.
But hey, this was a heavy metal gig in its purest form, and W,A.S.P.'s music always had the ability to bring out the bad boy in everyone. 'I Don't Need No Doctor' had most of the crowd pumping their fists with violent intent, and a heavily contented looking Lawless couldn't help but release a demonic grin.
After the epic first encore of 'Chainsaw Charlie', the evening closed with an exhilarating nostalgic bang. No matter where you go in the world, any self respecting 80s metal nut will tell you classics 'Wild Child' and 'I Wanna Be Somebody' pretty much summed up that genre.
And tonight they were greeted like returning battle worn war heroes. With an age group in the crowd raging from probably seventeen to about sixty, every word was sung with a near overcoming glee. Don't forget, these tunes are over thirty years old now, but their impact on this audience proved they will have an everlasting resonance.
There was a time when W.A.S.P. were easily commanding crowds of over twenty thousand, and although this crowd may have been a capacity of 700, I can wholeheartedly guarantee 700 went home smiling from ear to ear, and of course some of them smiling missing their front teeth.
W.A.S.P. set list:
On Your Knees
Inside The Electric Circus
The Real Me
Arena Of Pleasure
I Don't Need No Doctor
Chainsaw Charlie (Murders In The New Morgue)
I Wanna Be Somebody
The Treatment set list:
Let It Begin
I Bleed Rock n' Roll
Shake The Mountain