It was a cold foggy December night. A night like so many and yet somehow different. There was a tension in the air. Excitement, trepidation even a small amount of fear.
Why you may ask? The truth whether you want to hear it or not was that I was about enter the world of Ward XVI. I had been told there was darkness living in the Ward, unspeakable things in the dark corners. Would I make it out or was I to be trapped inside for an eternity of torment?
Ward XVI (16) do concept and on their Album re-launch night it was in full flow. Every moment they were on stage had been thoroughly thought through. The story running throughout the album and subsequent live retelling was perfect in every way with the visuals matching the story step by step.
The band was supported throughout by a cast of extras playing various roles from the protagonist’s mother through to demons living under the bed.
The stage itself wasn’t ample enough to hold on to the show and instead it flowed into the crowd at various points to the delight of everyone in attendance.
Musically it was pitched just about perfect, the singing was crisp and even if you hadn’t already listened to the album (which I suspect few hadn’t) the lyrics came though and you were transported into the story.
The entire band never broke the spell by remaining in character throughout, in fact the intensity etched onto the faces of all added to the whole experience.
This intensity remained until the last song of the album had played though, only then did a smile form on the faces of the band. They had obviously pored their heart and soul into this night and the relief was evident. A final three songs from previous releases to lighten the mood was in order. Everyone able and willing joined in (including, apparently parents of the band) to a bit of a Cancan at the end.
While it was always going to be Ward XVI’s night a word about the support acts is at this point warranted. First up was Pulverise a Leeds outfit with obvious influences from Rage against the machine, Cyprus Hill and the like. The lead singer was the happiest person I’ve ever seen on stage and their energy was boundless.
South Of Salem were straight out of the mould that created Motley Crue, Poison and more recently Steel Panther. If you love hair metal done right South of Salem hit all the right notes.
While the inmates of Ward XVI were otherwise engaged I managed to slip away unnoticed, I’d say I’d escaped but I fear the madness is sitting within my subconscious just waiting to drag me back. Now it’s clear and I know what I have to do, I must take you down there to look at them too, hand in hand then we’ll jump right into that “Ward XVI”, Can’t you see not just me they want you too!