Words & Pictures: Adrian Hextall \ MindHex Media
Hollywood Undead, the American rap rock band from Los Angeles, California, return to the capitol for two shows at the spacious KOKO in Camden. 2018 sees the band celebrating the 10th anniversary of their debut album Swan Songs as well as a tour in support of most recent release, 5th album ‘V’.
Before we get to see Charlie Scene, Danny, Funny Man, J-Dog, and Johnny 3 Tears up on stage, we are treated to local outfit, The One Hundred.
The One Hundred
There is no denying that both bands are new to me tonight. I am however firmly of the opinion that if a band is good live they can impress anyone with any style of music. A genre or particular style of metal (and God knows there’s so so many sub categories all with their supporters and detractors) should never define a band’s ability to perform live and with this fresh viewpoint firmly embedded in the forefront of my mind, I settled down to watch The One Hundred.
A crossover band from London, The One Hundred combine elements of metalcore, punk, grime, rap and electronics. The latter component makes their sound pretty unique and gives them an edge from others attempting to make their mark in the same space.
With a solid touring reputation behind them and festival appearances at the likes of Sonisphere, Download Festival and Reading and Leeds, the band now find themselves on Spinefarm records with debut album Chaos and Bliss released last summer.
In Jacob Field, the band have an enigmatic frontman who is equally arrogant and humble making him wholly endearing to the crowd at KOKO. Confident enough in what the band can deliver yet sharp enough to play it front and centre as if he was performing at Wembley Stadium in front of 80,000 people, Field does what any support act needs to do and gets the crowd onside early on. His classic ‘Laannhdahn’ rapport puts many a smile on the faces of the crowd and they willingly drop down when asked to, leap up on demand and bounce to some great tunes. Boomtown, one of the clear highlights of the set can be seen below.
Crowd won over, me a convert, job done.
And so to the headliners. A set of two halves, the first with the multiple vocalists all hidden behind the masks that have become synonymous with the Hollywood Undead image over the years.
Swirls of smoke, LED palm trees on either side of the stage and a light show that, for a rap metal act, wasn’t backlit leaving the vocalists in almost complete darkness. Instead multi-coloured lighting brought the show alive with the band swathed in slashes of purples, reds, blues and most importantly, the white light spots that really allowed us to see the faces behind the masks.
Taking, as they do on the albums, turns to run with the lead vocal, supporting each other on the odd word or phrase, a Hollywood Undead show is totally a team effort. Whilst the rap work is split evenly, it does however fall to Danny to provide some supremely melodic vocals that really drive the show from being a pure rap affair into a true crossover exercise that will appeal to many many more.
New single ‘California Dreaming’, from latest album ‘V’ stood as did ‘Undead’, sadly the only track from the debut, which, given its’ tenth anniversary deserved a little more recognition. ‘V’ got quite a push on the short set list but it proves the grit and intent of the band and the desire to push the current sound forward.
A huge show, one that was to be repeated the following evening. Two nights at KOKO vs one at somewhere like the Forum, was an interesting choice. The bigger stage and presence of the larger venue would have allowed the band more room to move but somehow the KOKO offers a big show that also feels like the audience are involved in every moment. Good call!
Whatever It Takes
Been to Hell
Comin’ in Hot