W.A.S.P. silence the naysayers

Can W.A.S.P. still cut it live?

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As W.A.S.P. gear up for the release of their Golgotha album, much of the online chatter surrounding their current UK tour has been about backing tapes, short sets and more. On the final night, we took the chance to see for ourselves.

The first three songs fly past without a pause, creating a medley of *On Your Knees, Inside The Electric Circus *and The Real Me, and the first thing to stand out is Blackie Lawless’ voice. As powerful as it’s ever been with that distinctive rough edge, he’s never sounded better, which may have led to some of that online sniping. To help decide the issue, Blackie’s voice cracks a little during the new song Last Runaway, proving it’s (ahem) the real him alright.

The strangest part of the evening must surely be next, as the lights go out and The Titanic Overture begins to play. The lights come on and the stage is empty. And it stays that way. For the entire song. It’s a WTF? moment for sure, but as Arena of Pleasure kicks things off again all is forgotten as the band remind us just how good The Crimson Idol is. Miss You follows, with an emotional vocal and several outstanding solos from Doug Blair. This is an anthemic power ballad of the highest order, in a similar vein to Forever Free.

An extra heavy combination of Hellion and I Don’t Need No Doctor pick the pace back up before the final newbie, Golgotha. It has the makings of another classic with its big chorus and heavy riffing, but what really lifts it to a higher level live is the graphic imagery projected onto the video screens.

Chainsaw Charlie is the first encore and is still as noisy and raucous as ever, as is Wild Child, complete with the “back in the day” video playing on the screens. During closer I Wanna Be Somebody, Blackie demonstrates he still has the charisma to command an audience - with just a steely-eyed stare and slight motions of the hand he has the crowd roaring the chorus back at him before the final notes are played and the house-lights come on.

A set of high-tempo kiss-ass rock perfectly balanced with a few slower numbers for maximum impact, the band prove they’re still a formidable live force. This is one W.A.S.P. with a sting in its tail.

Golgotha is released on October 2.