A spotlight beamed over center stage, lighting up the unfamiliar face of an announcer. He spoke in a resounding tone, “You wanted the best? Well they didn’t fucking make it…” with a dramatic pause before continuing, “So here’s what you get: From Hollywood… Black. Veil. Brides!”
The introduction, which is presumably an homage to how Guns n’ Roses once opened their shows, was only apt and dramatic enough for a band with such a huge fan-base that they don’t actually need an introduction. None the less, Black Veil Brides are back from a short winter break and kicked off the second leg of Hot Topic sponsored Black Mass Tour at The National in Richmond, VA, last Thursday.
I was lucky enough to catch a sold out date on the first leg of Black Mass in Charlotte, so I was pretty surprised to find that tickets were still available for purchase as the doors were opening at 6:00 PM. I had never been to The National before, and I couldn’t help but admire the venue on a whole once I got in there. The brick wall building flashed ornate embellishments around the stage and featured a huge second story balcony with seats. The floors were made of wood and sloped gently, giving you a perfect view of the stage no matter where you stood. I also noted that the crowd already seemed much more versatile than in Charlotte. Don’t get me wrong – there was still a number of younger diehards sporting warpaint, but I found that the patrons pressed up against the front barricade spanned over multiple age generations.
GhostTown and Memphis May Fire have joined Black Veil Brides on this leg of the tour, and they opened up the stage at 7:00 PM, each with short thirty minute sets. There was no curtain hiding the stage between bands, so crowd anticipation was apparent as cheers erupted each time a microphone stand was brought out or set list was laid down. None of those cheers surmounted to the one that arose when the lights dimmed after Black Veil Brides introduction, though.
Christian “CC” Coma quietly took place at his drums, which were perched on a stack of Marshall amps in front of a demonic looking backdrop. Ashley Purdy (bass), Jinxx (guitar, violin) and Jake Pitts (guitar) filled out the rest of the stage, running across risers, smiling and waving at the crowd. Beautiful rays of colored light lit up the stage as the four wasted no time delving straight into the first single, “Heart of Fire,” off their 2014 album release Black Veil Brides IV. Andy Biersack (also known as Andy Black and previously as Andy Six) ran out on stage just in time to flawlessly belt out the lyrics.
The band then took the show back an album to “I Am Bulletproof” before launching into “Coffin,” an older song off their 2011 EP Rebels. Quickly returning to the newer material, “Faithless” was played – and fans have obviously familiarized themselves with the entire album already, as they wholeheartedly sang along. By the time Black Veil Brides got to “Knives and Pens,” their very first, popular single and the 6th song of their set, Andy had sufficiently warmed up to the crowd. He went so far as to hop down off stage, braving admirers to walk up to the balcony, where he sang the remainder of the song from as an adoring fan clung to his arm. Following that adventure, the entire band left the stage for a moment and the melodic sound of “Overture” filled the room.
When they returned to the stage, Jinxx was wielding a violin in place of his guitar. He played it beautifully, morphing the overture into “Shadows Die,” while Andy waved his hands in sync until every show-goer mirrored his action. Up until this point, the set list hadn’t changed at all since December, so I was glad to be treated to a cover that wasn’t played at the Charlotte show. Andy’s deep baritone vocals for Danzig original “Mother” made it a perfect rendition. A couple songs later, we were also treated to the live debut of Black Veil Brides’ first single of 2015, “Goodbye Agony.”
Most of the band left the stage again, but spotlights shaped in the star-like logo of Black Veil Brides encompassed CC and his vociferous drum solo. When everyone returned to stage to play a slew of fan favorites: “The Legacy,” “Sweet Blasphemy,” “Perfect Weapon” and “Fallen Angels,” it became unfortunately obvious that the curtain was drawing to a quick close. The band departed with a “thank you and goodnight” speech that was brief and abrupt, leaving the room in a rupture of demanding chants for “Black-Veil-Brides!” and “One more song!” When the chants weren’t enough, a thunderous foot stomping commenced until Andy finally came back out, flashing his trademark smile and rhetorically asking, “Richmond, do you want to hear one more song tonight?” and, “What song do you want us to play?” The inevitable, unanimous answer was Revolver’s Golden Gods Best New Song of 2013, “In The End,” and the thank you that followed was much more generous this time around, with the whole band uniting on center stage to take a bow. Ashley, Jake and Jinxx tossed handfuls of guitar picks and setlists into the crowd, CC threw his drum sticks and Andy knelt down to sign posters that fans in the front were waving at him throughout the show.
Full of energy and animated personalities, there is simply no way to deny that each one of these guys are made for the stage. Andy is a silver-tongued frontman, who manages to perfectly balance stardom with down-to-earth humility and gratefulness. Though the remainder of this tour is largely headed to Canada and Europe, Black Veil Brides recently announced that they will be headlining Van’s Warped Tour over the summer – so be sure to catch them out on one of those dates!