Review: Hollywood Undead at the Fillmore Auditorium, with Asking Alexandria, 11/4/11
HOLLYWOOD UNDEAD at the FILLMORE | 11/4/11
What the Fillmore really means by "all-ages show" is this: At least one shirtless 17-year-old will approach you -- slowly, so as not to startle you -- and ask you "wazzup." If you are attending the World War III Tour to see Asking Alexandria and Hollywood Undead, that 17-year-old will be a scene kid, as evidenced both by his gender-neutral apology ("Sorry, I'm a scene kid, man") and the heartfelt dedication with which the show will close: "Fucking emo dicks, you scene kids, you're sick!" You, by default, will be included in that. This makes you a scene kid, at least for one night.
Your night on the scene, then, probably began at 5:30 with a band that won a high school talent competition -- maybe even at your high school. (From what it looked like, the oldest people at the show were the faux strippers hired to pole-dance during Borgore's set.) But the Fillmore's long wooden floor took a brief beating when the first of the night's two largest bands, UK electronicore (explanation coming soon) act Asking Alexandria, took the stage. At this point, every high school student who would have been really into the Queen of the Damned soundtrack but was too late to do so flocked toward the stage like black-only tattoos were on a 30-percent-off sale.
The British hard-rockers have cornered their three-year careers on masterful but unsubtle genre fusion and a series of rock 'n' roll clichés. While they go from zero (polite, almost Bloc Party dance-punk) to 60 (throat-screaming "ARE. YOU. READYYYYYY?") in less time than it takes to understand their lyrics (still working on it), singer Danny Worsnop collects rock tropes like Super Mario coins: He will scream the word "SCREAM" at the crowd with all the panache of a polar bear who hasn't eaten since the Ice Age, and his band members will flip each other off between songs. He, however, normally spends that time removing sweat, freaking the hell out or offering the audience eloquent career advice.
"There's always one idiot at every show who takes it too far and ruins things," Worsnop told the crowd. "Tonight, I want every single one of you to be that idiot."
Shout-outs like these serve two purposes: They set things up for a final song, in this case "Not the American Average," and they do the critic's job for her.
By the time Hollywood Undead graced the stage with face masks, rapcore and nostalgia, it no longer even mattered that most of the crowd might be too young for the last one. Hollywood Undead has revived the the unusual but powerfully popular hybrid that Linkin Park claimed earlier, though their version comes with more dick jokes and hockey masks. The band is the hypothetical equivalent of a less serious Blink-182 and a more serious Beastie Boys, if either of those bands were really into Megadeth.
More Photos: Hollywood Undead at the Fillmore
The band has hit Denver before, which means they played this round bravely, sloppily and with loyalty in the face of a show intended mostly for the creation of the next day's profile photos. It took two songs for the six-person group to remove its trademark masks, and it took four for one of its rotating rappers to blame his public intoxication on the altitude. By song eight, another offered this excuse: "I was at a strip club all day, and I had like six spritzers, so I'm kind of fucked up."
The front row last night at the Fillmore for Hollywood Undead. More Hollywood Undead Denver photos.
But the big secret is this: Teenage girls in shirts picturing an angry Hello Kitty will (and did) line up outside your tour bus afterwards regardless. Shows like this one, which mix a bill of artists who know their audience and are still willing to cuss at it, offer the rowdy and ideal combination of reckless dancing, curfew extension, surreptitious flirting and separation from your parents by at least six rows of people. Visible tattoos are the name of the game here.
(Classical music training, it's important to note, is not.)
Personal Bias: I'm minorly phobic when it comes to listening to the radio, which means that much of my experience with the bands on this setlist is through reputation alone. I'd argue that was enough. By the Way: During the final set, I stood next to a nice if appalled mother who reserved special offense for the chorus of Hollywood Undead's "California": "Get, get, get drunk / let's get buzzed / let's get fucked up / (repeat)." I'm of the age where I was halfway between laughing and muttering "Kids these days" and helping her find and remove her own, so I opted instead to ask, "How long have you been a fan?" Random Detail: During a trip to the bathroom, I was greeted by three (empty) mini bottles of tequila on top of the toilet paper dispenser. It was 7 p.m.
Hollywood Undead Fillmore Auditorium - 11/4/11 Denver, CO
01. "Undead" 02. "Tendencies" 03. "Been To Hell" 04. "Lights Out" 05. "California" 06. "Sell Your Soul" 07. "City" 08. "Mother Murder" 09. "Comin' In Hot" 10. "My Town" 11. "Paradise Lost" (dedicated to soldiers overseas) 12. "Bullet" 13. "Young"
14. "Everywhere I Go" 15. "Hear Me Now"
Follow Backbeat on Twitter: @westword_music
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.