W.A.S.P. with South of Salem (support) , Live at The Roundhouse, London, 24 March 2023

W.A.S.P opened with a medley of ‘On Your Knees’ , ‘The Flame’ , ‘The Torture Never Stops’ and ‘Inside the Electric Circus’.

Words and Pictures – Adrian Hextall \ MindHex Media 

It’s been, well, an age since I last managed to see W.A.S.P. live on stage. 2015 I think was my last show at a wonderful art deco venue Troxy in London. The return trip, for me, should have been sooner in 2020 but the sold-out Roundhouse has to wait almost 3 years to play host to the band whilst the pandemic came and went and touring once more became possible.

South of Salem

Before the winged assassins took to the stage, British band, South of Salem hit the stage with the smiles and energy of a bunch of lads who couldn’t quite believe that they were supporting one of the most influential and notorious bands of the 1980s.

They wear their influence in plain sight with bassist Dee Aldwell (I believe) channelling his inner Nikki Sixx in both looks and playing style. The band though do not play sleaze fuelled rock that harks back to the Sunset Strip but instead delivered solid, heavy rock music that warmed the crowd up perfectly in advance of what everyone expected to be a short set from W.A.S.P. Certainly with just one album under their belts so far, the lads from Salem (well, a few miles down the road anyway) turned in an excellent shift and left the crowd wanting more. Festival slots across the summer should guarantee their fanbase grows considerably.

  • South of Salem, The Roundhouse, March 24 2023
  • South of Salem, The Roundhouse, March 24 2023
  • South of Salem, The Roundhouse, March 24 2023
  • South of Salem, The Roundhouse, March 24 2023
  • South of Salem, The Roundhouse, March 24 2023
  • South of Salem, The Roundhouse, March 24 2023
  • South of Salem, The Roundhouse, March 24 2023
  • South of Salem, The Roundhouse, March 24 2023
  • South of Salem, The Roundhouse, March 24 2023
  • South of Salem, The Roundhouse, March 24 2023
  • South of Salem, The Roundhouse, March 24 2023
  • South of Salem, The Roundhouse, March 24 2023
  • South of Salem, The Roundhouse, March 24 2023

W.A.S.P.

On paper (and judging by reviews earlier in the tour) W.A.S.P’s set was going to be on the short side. I for one, would refute that. The band may well have countless albums of music to draw on from a career that sees them celebrating 40 years on this tour but Blackie Lawless is no fool. He knows what the fans want. Some yes may ask for the deeper cuts but the majority of people present at the show wanted to hear the hits and of course ‘that’ song, the one Blackie has only reintroduced into the band’s set in recent years.

As such, to cater for everyone, W.A.S.P opened with a medley of ‘On Your Knees’ , ‘The Flame’ , ‘The Torture Never Stops’ and ‘Inside the Electric Circus’. If the songs were cut down, it didn’t really feel like it. Instead it felt like an intense start to a concert where, instead of waiting for applause, the band just channelled their energy and kept playing.

With ‘Elvis’ Blackie’s monstrous mic stand taking pride of place front and centre and the video screens and posters behind the band used to great effect to showcase the band’s history, it was clear from the very start that this was truly the celebration that Blackie had promised.

We forget at times just how long lead guitarist Doug Blair has been with the band. A permanent fixture of W.A.S.P. for over 20 years, he’s actually the longest serving guitarist to work alongside Blackie. Bassist Mike Duda has been in place since 1995 as well so it’s no surprise really that the outfit sounded as sharp as the circular saw blades that Blackie used to sport on his codpiece.

The celebrations focussed on the band’s first 5 albums with tracks from Blackie’s concept masterpiece ‘The Crimson Idol’ sounding as powerful as they did 30 years ago.

The highlight though was the video footage and history piece around the notorious PMRC led by Tipper Gore that tried to get music such as that performed by W.A.S.P. banned in the United Sates. Of course the move failed although W.A.S.P. were one of the first recipients of the dreaded ‘PARENTAL ADVISORY’ sticker that adorned anything the industry deemed slightly contentious. The encore then commenced with ‘that’ song and whether Blackie does at 66, still ‘F**k like a Beast’ or not, the energy and ferocity he put into performing the track makes me think the man has still got it (and then some).

The Real Me’ and ‘I Wanna Be Somebody’ closed out the show and whilst the setlist says 10 songs (including the medley) it was closer to 13 with great chat, great performances and a fascinating insight into the issues caused by the PMRC in the 80s. A triumphant return and a very welcome one.

  • W.A.S.P. , The Roundhouse, March 24 2023
  • W.A.S.P. , The Roundhouse, March 24 2023
  • W.A.S.P. , The Roundhouse, March 24 2023
  • W.A.S.P. , The Roundhouse, March 24 2023
  • W.A.S.P. , The Roundhouse, March 24 2023
  • W.A.S.P. , The Roundhouse, March 24 2023
  • W.A.S.P. , The Roundhouse, March 24 2023
  • W.A.S.P. , The Roundhouse, March 24 2023
  • W.A.S.P. , The Roundhouse, March 24 2023
  • W.A.S.P. , The Roundhouse, March 24 2023
  • W.A.S.P. , The Roundhouse, March 24 2023
  • W.A.S.P. , The Roundhouse, March 24 2023
  • W.A.S.P. , The Roundhouse, March 24 2023
  • W.A.S.P. , The Roundhouse, March 24 2023
  • W.A.S.P. , The Roundhouse, March 24 2023
  • W.A.S.P. , The Roundhouse, March 24 2023
  • W.A.S.P. , The Roundhouse, March 24 2023
  • W.A.S.P. , The Roundhouse, March 24 2023
  • W.A.S.P. , The Roundhouse, March 24 2023
  • W.A.S.P. , The Roundhouse, March 24 2023
  • W.A.S.P. , The Roundhouse, March 24 2023
  • W.A.S.P. , The Roundhouse, March 24 2023

SETLIST:

On Your Knees / The Flame / The Torture Never Stops / Inside the Electric Circus
L.O.V.E. Machine
Wild Child
The Idol
The Great Misconceptions of Me
Chainsaw Charlie (Murders in the New Morgue)
Blind in Texas
Encore:
Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)
The Real Me (The Who cover)
I Wanna Be Somebody

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