When our lovely Editor (I would also have taken gracious, glorious and all knowing – Very Modest Editor) invited us to attend and review this show, we snapped up the opportunity. The chance to go to a gig in Manchester and write about it? Who wouldn’t?! Little did we know that this show would be one of the most eventful we’ve gone to, and maybe the scariest. Satan’s Hollow was the venue, but it was more than just the decorations that were creepy.
Imagine a combination of Marilyn Mason and American Horror Story: Freakshow and you wouldn’t be far off Ward XVI. The band’s show told the story of violent serial killer Psychoberrie (vocals) before her incarceration in a mental asylum, who used deceit and manipulation to claim her victims before turning her hand to a meat cleaver to seal the deal. Brought to life with a fabric body laid complete with rope intestines, authentic fake blood and a divine mix of metal, piano and accordion, this performance goes far beyond the exceptional music, becoming a spectacle in its own right. With all that going on, it was difficult to pinpoint a highlight, until Psychoberrie pulled out a freaking bladeless petrol chainsaw, ‘murdered’ bass player Wolfy Huntsman before heading into the audience with it. It was truly terrifying but highly amusing at the same time, making for a groundbreaking memorable performance.
After a quick set change, the time came for the main event. Chasing Dragons burst into fast and energetic riffs from the powerful guitar of Adam, edged with the deep grumble of the bass of Murf and set with the outrageously talented Kate slamming away on the skins of the drum kit. Erupting with the well-controlled belting of vocalist Tank, the band led the way with ‘How The World Went Black’. Pumped with an awesome atmosphere and smoke billowing from smoke machines, it was a well-rehearsed and wickedly talented performance leading through almost anthemic tracks, such as ‘White Horse’, and experimental sounding synths and vocals. The well-executed vocals of Tank reminded us of Doro of the legendary band Warlock, adding a definite edge to an already-impressive show.
Captivating an audience full of Chasing Dragons super-fans and novices alike seemed to be second nature to Tank, her stunning stage presence keeping the crowd wrapped around her little finger. This came to a head during ‘Like Gravity’, as the audience were invited to sing along without Tank. The intimacy and respect the band have for their audience shone through, something that sometimes gets lost at live shows. The venue’s size and layout certainly helped, as the setup felt more like a band practice than a full set, encouraging the audience to get involved and make the show how they wanted it to be.
Final song ‘Devil In Her Eyes’ was the band’s last push in their incredible performance, and they fully lived up to expectations. They rocked louder and harder than ever before, playing right up until the venue’s curfew; their passion for their music could have been heard a mile away. As cliché as it may sound, the show ended with the audience longing for more, something completely unsurprising given the talent on stage. Impressive performances all round by some bands we highly recommend.