Okay, so you should all know that I’ve been in love with Black Veil Brides since I was first introduced to them at Download Festival 2015, when I fell into the moshpit by accident, having left the Mainstage in my disillusion with Faith No More live (the white stage and white clothing terrified me if I’m honest), and in my eagerness to get into the heart of the pit for Marilyn Manson, I ended up discovering the act before, Black Veil Brides, and I was captivated. I went to Vans Warped Tour in order to see them again, for a full set, and then now, to Koko in Camden last Friday night to hear Andy Biersack’s solo gig as ‘Andy Black’.
When the lead singer suddenly goes on a solo tour the most dedicated fans of the band are normally left terrified and wondering if life will go on, but this hasn’t been the case for Andy Black.
The creative powerhouse which is Andy Biersack, lead singer to American rock band Black Veil Brides, has this year released a solo album and embarked on a tour to promote it. But The Shadow Side is a far cry from the mainstay sound of Black Veil Brides, it’s a clash of 80’s synth and pop with a goth inspiration, showcasing light-hearted beat and more deeper Ballard-y emotional explorations than Black Veil Brides fans would be used to.
It does initially sound strange observing from Andy’s goth-metal-rock-pop-punk-ish background, especially when the 25 year old has been touring in that world for the most of his adult life, but The Shadow Side does work, and it works well. The album is brilliantly produced, and it’s so far from what we’ve come to love of Black Veil Brides that we know it creates no musical conflict of interest. The fans, loyally know as the BVB Army (and yes, they pretty much are an army), know that a Black Veil Brides album is definitely on the cards in the next year or so, but they are so loyal that they will follow Mr. Biersack down whatever road he leads them, a sort of pied-piper for the next generation of discontent and misunderstood youth. And somehow he knows the weight of that responsibility, it echoes in his solo work within the empowering and explorative lyrics of songs like Stay Alive, and Beautiful Pain which was written in memorial of guitar tech Chris Holley following his untimely death not long after BVB performed at Download Festival 2015.
Andy has the face of an angel and the voice of a— well, something otherworldly, dark and powerful, and you can’t help but be captivated by the enigma of who he is. On Friday when we caught him live on the final leg of his UK tour, sold out, at Koko in Camden, he laughed openly about how cleanly he was dressed and how little make up he was wearing, telling the crowd that “It just seems weird that I haven’t called you all mother-f**kers at least twenty times by now!”
He was blown away by the support of the fans, and he knows how far outside their musical tastes he’s asked them to follow, and yet they have. To be fair, they (okay, ‘we’) still turned up in our masses wearing BVB band t shirts, black eyeliner and ripped fishnets, but we also knew the words to every single one of his songs, we threw our hands up in the air on command, and sung along until our throats hurt, despite the fact that the full album was only released on the 6th of May, allowing a mere 14 days of lyric learning. The fandom is strong in this one!
Koko was the perfect venue for the gig, the decadent surroundings matched the music and the atmosphere perfectly, and Andy owned the stage easily, connecting with the audience on a more personal and intimate level than they would get at a large rock show. Our favourite songs live had to be Ribcage, Drown Me Out and Beautiful Pain, but the entire show was solid from serenading the fans with Saviour, the only BVB song he sung, to throwing it all down for crowd favourite, We Don’t Have To Dance.
And now it’s onto the next thing for Andy, back to the U.S., and back to the next project that we’ll all be waiting for with eager anticipation.