Photo by: Eva Gunnarsson
W.A.S.P. are a band that has never abandoned Ireland. Since their very first album, Blackie Lawless and co. have always made sure to include Ireland on their European tours and this is something Irish people are very grateful for. Of course they’re not the only band to include us, but while many of their Contemporaries have vanished from our shores over the past five years, W.A.S.P. have remained consistent in their tours. Of course, it’s not just their appearances here that have been consistent. Each performance is a display of their un-compromising professionalism and talent. Songs from over three decades are still performed with passion and energy while Blackie’s voice only seems to grow in strength. Tonight they’re back in the Academy to play us a few of those old favourites and hopefully a sample from their forthcoming album, Golgotha and Wild Childs of all ages have come to welcome back our old pals.
(Sorry about that Wild Childs line. I truly am. – Ed.)
The Treatment open tonight’s show and manage to get a good buzz going. While they’ve drifted more towards a magazine cover friendly looking since their first album and changed a few members around, the band still sound tight and the tunes are only getting better. Despite a few sound and performance ‘malfunctions’, the group have the craic and so do the fans. Also, ‘Shake the Mountain‘ is a savage song and anyone who finishes their set with it gets our vote.
By the time the houselights drop for W.A.S.P.’s opener, the Academy crowd has swelled and the pit area has been conquered by dozens of battle vest clad kids ready to do damage. With the intro over, the band make their entrances and Blackie moves in to take centre stage. His tall build and ferocious voice are imposing as he snarls his way through ‘On Your Knees’ and ‘Inside the Electric Circus’ before a blistering performance of ‘The Real Me’. W.A.S.P. have officially arrived and they are on fire. Blackie surveys the crowd and band alike, watching the musician’s performances like a hack and appearing more than pleased with each of their displays, proudly bringing life to the songs he has created and curated for so many years.
In another display that you’re not just dealing with a band going through the motions, Blackie (for the second show in a row) entertains the crowd with a story from one of their Irish shows in the 90’s about an exploding code piece. Despite a few flinches from the men in the crowd, all ends well and the band play the first single from Golgotha, ‘Last Runaway’. The crowd laps it up and give their seal of approval for the new material which carries over to ‘Crazy‘ from 2009’s Babylon album. But even that is trumpeted by Douglas Blair’s incendiary guitar solo on another Golgotha song, ‘Miss You’.
‘Hellion’, ‘I Don’t Need No Doctor’ and ‘Arena of Pleasure’ carry the set on as Golgotha’s title track brings the main portion of this night to a close. Although it’s well known that Blackie is a born again Christian, few in the crowd were prepared for Golgotha’s “Jesus I need you now” chorus and it obviously impacts everyone in attendance. Despite a bit of head scratching, there’s no denying the song is a powerful ballad from the same family as ‘Heaven’s Hung In Black’. With that, Blackie bids good night and the band depart.
As chants for “fuck like a beast” and “Blackie” fill the room, the sound of chainsaws rev from the PA and the pit kicks off before we even see a band member back on stage. W.A.S.P. return fired up and bring the house down with ‘Chainsaw Charlie’ before again bidding us goodnight and vanishing. No W.A.S.P. show is complete without ‘LO.V.E. Machine’ so the crowd stays firm and again the band return. Teasing us with the opening notes of ‘Wild Child’, Blackie beams a cheeky smile before the band arrive back to accompany through their classic hit before ending the night on the one, the only L.O.V.E. Machine. Normally this song is performed with a crowd providing backing vocals, but this crowd are so worked up the Academy floor descends into pit chaos the likes of which you’d expect more at one of Nirvana’s early shows.
W.A.S.P. returned, they championed and they put on yet another show that won’t be forgotten anytime soon. Blackie may have a few more years on him since he sang “I’ll never get old” but you wouldn’t know it to hear him or see him move and Irish fans are ready to welcome him and guys back each and every time they can come over.