Wednesday 13, live in Reading

We went to see Wednesday 13 the other day... but what did we learn?

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Goths. Goths, everywhere. Goths in Poundland; goths eating McDonald’s; goths queueing from silly o’clock to see Wednesday 13 inflict fleshy cuts from his new release: Monsters Of The Universe: Come Out & Plague.

The Level Of Fandom On Display Is Ridiculous

The dress code is exclusively PVC and we feel like right knobheads in our skinny jeans and chequered shirts. Hair is dyed, coloured eye contacts stare from all angles and some guy in the toilets came all the way from Sweden to see this show. He then accosts a young gent with the standard greeting everyone uses at the urinal: “Nice cock!” But we digress…

Wednesday 13 Is Bringing The Heavy Tonight

Kicking things off with Keep Watching The Skies and Astro Psycho – Galactic Blood-Drive, it’s clear that Mr. 13 isn’t fannying about. Tonight’s setlist leans on the groove-laden, chuggy stuff now more than ever – not a single song from the upbeat Fang Bang record is aired, with ditties like Hail Ming, Scream Baby Scream and the absurdly heavy Planet Eater: Interstellar 187 standing in its place. That last one exhibits flourishes of double-bass and has us shitting our brains all over the floor.

Songs About Conspiracy Theories Are Great

He’s written about necrophilia, chicken poo and Jack Daniel’s for two decades, so the conspiracy-themed lyrics on the Monsters… record – from which almost half the setlist comprises – mould Wednesday 13 into an equally twisted albeit different creature. The sarcastic snarl is still there and the Sisters Of Mercy-inspired I Love Watching You Die harks back to his earlier horror-punk lyrics, but the apocalyptic verses being spat tonight make for a more three-dimensional and, well, evil character on stage.

He’s Silently Admitting That Calling All Corpses Was A Bit Pants

Calling All Corpses is the only lacklustre effort Wednesday 13’s ever unleashed, so to finally drop whatever remains from that album signals a further turn in the right direction. Guitarist Roman Surman has a grin the size of a fucking watermelon plastered across his chops as he widdles his way through oldies Look What The Bats Dragged In and I Want You… Dead with hedonistic glee, relishing the chance to brutalise the audience. The whole band is absurdly tight and the addition of a mischievous key-fingerer bolsters the authenticity of the affair.

Someone Needs To Throw Money At This Man

Wednesday 13 has been doing this shit DIY for years, and there’s a quaint charm about him as he plays Serpent Society wearing a mask straight from The Wicker Man. A toy gun is involved, a tiny searchlight shines on the audience and a made-at-home staff lasts about five seconds before breaking. An element of theatre has always threatened to rear its head during the Wednesday 13 live experience; with the new album behind him, a little upgrade on the production values could turn this – already excellent – show into a blood-stained extravaganza of excess.

Wednesday 13 Has Bollocks Cast In Stone

Imagine if Slipknot stopped playing Wait And Bleed or Europe decided against doing The Final Countdown. Just imagine. People would be dropkicking grannies and burning houses down in a Purge-style rampage, yet Wednesday 13 omits I Love To Say Fuck and Rambo without a hiccup; Scary Song is the only Frankenstein Drag Queens From Planet 13 tune on offer and the audience devour it. Of course he slips Bad Things into the tail-end of the set, but tonight has proven that Wednesday 13 is not content with being a hit-machine. Monsters… is genuinely the strongest material he’s crafted since Transylvania 90210 and closing with a titanic rendition of Monster Of The Universe reinforces the undying, iron-clad belief invested in his latest opus. The cheeky stage-banter of yore has been exorcised and replaced with a beastly, rejuvenated frontman – he is an evil bastard and you have not seen Wednesday 13 this good, ever.

Wednesday 13 guides us through the weird and wacky world of conspiracy theories here.

Alec Chillingworth

Alec is a longtime contributor with first-class BA Honours in English with Creative Writing, and has worked for Metal Hammer since 2014. Over the years, he's written for Noisey, Stereoboard, uDiscoverMusic, and the good ship Hammer, interviewing major bands like Slipknot, Rammstein, and Tenacious D (plus some black metal bands your cool uncle might know). He's read Ulysses thrice, and it got worse each time.