Joining the usual giant snaking queue outside the venue, we are full of excitable chatter. Everyone has in common tonight their love for these bands. To my surprise, the queue flew down. Half an hour between the doors opening and the first band starting, to my disbelief, I was in on time, down the front and ready for the action from Zero 9:36 and Asking Alexandria.
Asking Alexandria – Zero 9:36 – Cardiff International Arena – 26 November 2022
Words: Jade Colvin
Photography: Georgia Brittain
There was a flash of light immediately capturing everyone’s attention. A blue light shone solidly across the middle of the stage where the light platform was stood raised up slightly. Beautiful music hummed in the air, piano keys and violins already pulling at my heartstrings.
A single silhouette of a person slowly walks on stage and the crowd cheers in anticipation. I couldn’t look away, and then a single raspy voice in the dark is, of course, Asking Alexandria’s lead vocalist Danny Worsnop, to perform Someone, Somewhere. Even though I’m on my own, I know I’m not alone as goosebumps fill my arms.
The stage then lights up. The other band members have joined him, the drum kit is raised centre stage, and the lights are on! Asking Alexandria are a British rock band from North Yorkshire. They all seem to have their own styles, too, leather jacket, vest top, t-shirt, and two-tone shirt, with the frontman wearing a half black and white striped shirt.
The light show was incredible. Watching the spots going off, Union Jack colours red, white and blue flooded the stage. I could feel the bass from my feet up to my throat pulsing. Flames startlingly jumped up from between the platforms, filling the heat from front to back of the venue.
“We haven’t seen you in a while, Cardiff,” cries Danny. “We gotta make an impression, give you the night of your lives. Now hands up and scream!” My arms went up, and I let out a scream. I couldn’t help but obey, like everyone here tonight. The guitarists did not stop moving, skipping, jogging, head banging away, and giving out so much energy. They were such fun to watch.
Now the bassists turn. “We’ve been here before. We know you’ve got more.” He then leans in, playing into the crowd, teasingly getting closer before pulling back. Screams rip from that corner of the stage.
“My friends,” they address us, “jump.” The whole room bounced like a wave rippling across the arena. Some classic rock stances on stage, too, legs apart or ‘The Chad Kroeger,’ as I call it.
Asking Alexandria shared their thanks and gratitude with the crowd for being there for them their entire careers, and then it was time for their last song.
“Any crowd surfers in tonight? Now is your time,” they taunt. A huge growl is let out. OH. MY. GOD! Ripped from the stage through the flames is The Final Episode (Let’s Change The Channel).
Asking Alexandria give it their all. Amazing light show, flames, bass, drums flat out, clean and growly vocals. Vocalist Danny screams with his back to us facing drummer James, then turns to stare at the audience, looking possessed, screaming right down the centre.
There’s nothing quite like live music. There’s nothing quite like this music.
First up and bang on time is Zero 9:36 (Matthew Cullen), who came out fearlessly rapping, immediately gripping my attention with his fierce hard-hitting lyrics. From his opening salvo, I could immediately feel he had fought for this. I could feel the pain, anger, and aggression in his style. As he did this, the drummer, guitarist and bassist slipped in and hit the crowd with this alternative rock, electronic sound mixed with hip hop, and it worked.
Yet with all that comes across in his music and lyrics, he seemed very likeable and humble. His politeness, asking how everyone was, building everyone up to join in, had many heads infectiously bobbing along.
Then he got comfortable, and here came the banter. “So, do you guys have mosh pits over here? I’ve never been here before. I can’t do it for you.” Boos echoed over the crowd. We were falling for it hook, line, and sinker to wanted to prove him wrong. He was provoking us, and it was working. Zero now demands, “I need your energy!” Out burst the circle pits whilst I’m Not was performed, which really got the crowd going.
After listening to Zero 9:36 on Spotify and comparing it to what I saw live, it definitely differs. I felt there were a lot fewer electronic pieces, and I was pleasantly surprised.
Zero ended his set on his hit sing Adrenaline, which he proudly exclaimed was number one in America. I can safely say he picked up plenty of new fans here tonight, including me.
To read the Shinedown review of the evening, visit https://www.metaltalk.net/shinedown-light-up-cardiff-with-hope-and-pyro.php.