Asking Alexandria: Live From Brixton And Beyond

Asking Alexandria’s Live From Brixton And Beyond DVD features their full set from their sold-out 2013 Brixton Academy show. On the two-disc set, there’s also an unseen Halloween show filmed at The Wiltern in Los Angeles, plus backstage footage and all of the band’s music videos. Here’s the five things we learned while having our retinas fried to a crisp…


When video surfaced in 2011 of Asking Alexandria’s guitarist Ben Bruce calling out the band’s singer Danny Worsnop for being a drunk at a Seattle gig, and telling him onstage and in front of a crowd that he needed to go to rehab, it seemed unlikely that this was a band who were going to go the distance. It seemed unlikely that they would survive the night. The idea of them selling out Brixton Academy was laughable. While they’re had their ups and downs since then, the Brixton And Beyond live DVD proves that they have sorted themselves out. Professional, sober(ish) and polished onstage, they can fill a room as big as Brixton Academy now with ease. More than that, they can put on a show – rather than stand uncomfortably in the spotlight, they own the room. Explosions, flash boxes and pyro columns of flame help, but so does not being overawed by the big occasion. The backstage footage shows they were clearly keyed up before going onstage, but they were never intimidated and it makes for an impressive performance.


The evolution in Asking Alexandria’s sound is clear to see. Their Brixton setlist covers their three albums and, while the stronger material from their debut Stand Up And Scream still has power (closer Final Episode particularly), it is the material from Reckless & Relentless and Run Free from the then new From Death To Destiny that is strongest as the band learn how to blend synths into their judder a little more artfully. An extra included here is footage from the band’s Halloween show at the Wiltern in Los Angeles and in what is a much less polished performance and film, it’s clear that their newer songs simply have more depth to them than their early tracks.


There have been times Asking Alexandria’s singer has been generous with his melodies – often using both the notes he is supposed to be singing and a whole heap of others he is not when performing. But here, he is pin sharp, in key and on top of his game (hopefully not the result of overdubs). There’s a short DVD extra that shows behind the scenes footage and it opens with Worsnop soundchecking. He scat sings a made-up bluesy ditty and, though he’s only fooling around, there is real soul in his voice. When he allows that to shine onstage, it brings an added dimension to Asking Alexandria’s sound. There are times, however, he forgets he was born in Beverley, Yorkshire and, in Breathless for example, he urges the crowd to scream for him in the voice of someone who resides approximately 3,500 miles west of there. Which is just weird.


It turns out that, if you tell a crowd that you’re filming a DVD and then tell them to do a wall of death, the results are pretty impressive. During Reckless & Relentless, Worsnop tells the crowd to push back and to the sides and, when the drums kick back in, there is a stunning aerial shot of bodies crashing together like waves colliding. The fans at the show and those featured briefly queuing up in the extra behind the scenes footage are at least a part of the reason that this show has the pace and excitement it does. Sweaty, charged-up and vocal – the cry of “Oh my God” that greets Final Episode is nearly enough to raise the Brixton roof – they are an important element of this.


There is a segment in the behind the scenes footage in which the band are being shown how the pyro works before the show. As flashes go off, bangs explode and flames burst from the stage cannons, every single member of the band shares a look of utter glee. There’s a sense that they have achieved something special in finally playing to a packed Brixton Academy and in doing it with all the bells and whistles of a proper rock show. In a quick huddle before the band go onstage, Worsnop tells his bandmates that “we’ve finally made it. We sold it out. It’s time to play the show of our fucking lifetime”. And afterwards Bruce reveals “that was unreal … the best feeling I’ve ever had in my life.” There is also a little trepidation – largely to do with not getting blown up by the pyro – and before the show Worsnop reminds the band not “to explode” and is then relieved afterwards that no one “does a Hetfield”.

Asking Alexandria: Live From Brixton And Beyond is out now via Sumerian.

Tom Bryant

Tom Bryant is The Guardian's deputy digital editor. The author of The True Lives Of My Chemical Romance: The Definitive Biography, he has written for Kerrang!, Q, MOJO, The Guardian, the Daily Mail, The Mirror, the BBC, Huck magazine, the londonpaper and Debrett's - during the course of which he has been attacked by the Red Hot Chili Peppers' bass player and accused of starting a riot with The Prodigy. Though not when writing for Debrett's.