March 17, 2015 Hollywood Undead sell out NYC w/ From Ashes to New 3-11-15
Splashing onto the Rock scene back in 2008 with their major label debut Swan Songs, Los Angeles, California based Rap Rock act Hollywood Undead has been a force to be reckoned with since. Known for their use of pseudonyms and wearing unique masks, the band laughed in the face of current trends as they stick with their own style that has built them a strong and loyal fanbase. After a period of time out of the spotlight, following the touring cycle for 2013’s Notes from the Underground, Hollywood Undead make a dramatic return in 2015 with their fourth album set to be released March 31st, entitled Day of the Dead. Gearing up for the album’s introduction in a few weeks, the band hit the toad March 9th for a string of dates in select cities across North America. Arriving in New York City on Wednesday March 11th, Hollywood Undead were greeted by a sold out crowd at Gramercy Theatre. Selling out New York City on a weeknight is no easy feat these days. Whether it was due to a prolonged absence or the anticipation of the new album, the undead army was out in droves ready to party.
With only one direct support band on the bill, warming up the stage was Lancaster Pennsylvania’s up and coming Rap Rock act From Ashes to New. Boasting a sound in the vein of Linkin Park meets Hollywood Undead, the self-proclaimed Nu-Metal/Rap Rock outfit recently inked a deal with Better Noise Records (a subsidiary of Eleven-Seven Music). Having amassed an impressive fan based over the past year in support of their self-released five song EP, the band has recently released a new EP titled Downfall in anticipation for their debut full length sometime this summer. The six piece act features two lead vocalists: Matt Brandyberry and Chris Musser who alternate between rapping verses and singing choruses, respectively, along with bassist Garret Russell, drummer Tim D’onofrio, as well as guitarists Dan Kecki and Branden “Boo” Kreider.
Opening their set with “My Fight” off their initial EP, it was evident to see they were the right band for the job. Playing to the audience’s apparent love for Metal meets Hip Hop fusion, the dual vocalists smoothly and effortlessly juggled between hyping the crowd and moving forward with the lyrics. In addition, the rhythm section provided a backing of crunchy guitar licks and snappy double kick breakdowns. The band made its way through new songs off their latest EP including the title track “Downfall” and “Lost and Alone” as they encouraged the crowd to participate and move. Displaying exhumed confidence and control equivalent to any other veteran act, Ashes to New seemed to have clear control over the audience. With current promotion and rotation on SiriusXM Octane, many fans were familiar with some of the later tracks performed including “I Will Show You” and closer “Stay This Way”, the first single off their independent release. Definitely winning over more than a few fans, Ashes to New openly invited the entire audience to meet them at their merchandise booth before leaving the theater that night.
Clearly going through undead withdrawal, fans were more than ready for what was ahead with Hollywood Undead ready to hit the stage around 9 PM. With a handful of new tunes to work into a lengthy setlist, the band was more than ready to show their love to the impressive turnout. As the house lights were cut, the cacophony of cheers, hollers, and flat-out screams were all that could be heard over a looming introduction track as the members of Hollywood Undead took to the stage, one by one.
Opening the night with one new track, “Usual Suspects,” the band jumped right into gear. Sporting new masks, the dove and grenade symbol emblazed on a backdrop, an electronic drum set on stage right and an acoustic drum set on stage left, the layout itself was a sight to see. All six core members of Hollywood Undead: Charlie Scene (vocals/guitar), Johnny 3 Tears (vocals/bass), J-Dog (vocals/keyboards), Da Kurlzz (vocals/drums), Funny Man (vocals), and Danny (vocals/guitar) rotate between instruments and rapping/singing, which is impressive in and of itself, in addition to touring acoustic drummer Tyler Mahurin (formerly of A Static Lullaby, Enter Shikari). Quickly warming up the crowd with their new song, featuring its melodious and infectious chorus, the band blasted into the one and only anthem “Undead.” As the first few notes of the opening guitar lick were played by J-Dog, the crowd’s enthusiasm seemed all but uncontrollable. The entire house knew all the words to each verse and was harmoniously united to sing along with the unforgettable chorus.
The band, as per usual, removed their masks by the third number and were quick to interject between songs to keep the crowd in the palm of their hands. Within the first half-hour alone, the band toured many of the highlights of their impressive back catalogue from “Dead Bite” to the heavy-hitter “Been To Hell”, anthem-fueled “City,” and party-pumping “Comin’ in Hot.” Each member flowed seamlessly from instrument to microphone, or from side to side of the stage to vocally support one another. Danny’s melodic choruses translate with record-like quality live and Charlie Scene’s tongue-in-cheek lyrics sting with effective delivery. Mahurin made for an excellent addition to the band’s live persona and groove, keeping in time with long-term percussionist Da Kurlzz on the electronic set. About midway through the set, the band performed an interesting mashup starting with of original songs and odes to some of their inspirations. Starting it off with a brief cover of Beastie Boys “Intergalatic”, the mix-up incorporated a few verses from “Bottle and a Gun,” the fan favorite “No. 5,” and “California” with of course a bit of Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice” thrown in for good measure. The fans were ecstatic, the crowd was rabid, and the band itself could not have been in any more glory. Keeping the energy pumping, the band played through “Young” and new single “Day of the Dead” before leaving for an encore chant. Nobody was fooled or going anywhere until they heard “Everywhere I Go.” In addition, to top off the night, the last hoorah was the appropriately titled “Hear Me Now,” which is exactly what the audience was more than happy to do.
Opening with a packed house, and leaving with a packed house, Hollywood Undead graciously thanked the crowd. Judging by the overwhelming positive response, Hollywood Undead will definitely be coming back to the East Coast sooner than later. More than just musicians, Hollywood Undead are entertainers. Whether it be playful banter with the crowd, pulling someone up on stage to participate, or simply ripping into each other, the band knows how to go from intense to light-hearted in a split second. Make sure to get out and support the band on this run that winds down in their hometown March 30th at Troubadour.