Hollywood Undead - 02 Academy, Leeds - 28/4/19

It’s been a while since rap-metal took centre stage; the era of blasting Insane Clown Posse, clunking about in Demonia boots and drinking cheap vodka over at Pigeon Park ceasing to exist for quite some time. So, when the opportunity to return to that simpler time arises, it’s only natural to grab it- even if only for a moment.

The return of the notorious The Hollywood Undead brings with it all the nu-metal riffage and hardcore attitude diehard fans have been craving since the last time they graced the UK back in 2018, and to support the cause Loathe are offering a helping hand in the warm-up.

It’s clear from the get-go that this venue may be a little big for Loathe. What should be grandiose in reality feels empty, loaded riffs fading to grey in the midst of the O2. This sound just doesn’t carry well in such a large venue; a real shame when the band itself are renowned for their eclectic mix of formidable metal and Rocha style vocals that would have snugly slipped right in with the tone of the night. With a more intimate venue it’s likely that Loathe would have commanded the full attention of an audience instead of half, so leaving the final verdict on the side-lines seems like the right thing to do.

It’s not too long of a wait before a wave of cheering erupted, letting everyone at the back know it’s time to surge forward. As they wander onto stage, there really is no doubt about it: they are the epitome of Pretty Fly (For A White Guy). Donning sunglasses indoors and wearing a little bit too much gold jewellery for most people’s liking, The Hollywood Undead are gangster rap without much of the gangster, yet somehow they aren’t even remotely irritating in their attempts to still look and sound cool.

An O2 Academy filled to the brim with obsessives was and always will be an unusual sight to those who don’t admire them, with most acknowledging that their prime time was way back in 2008, over ten years ago. But to those who do devote themselves to the Undead, their persistent relevance in 2019 comes as no surprise. There seems to be a feverish nature about the band; every word sang back by an ecstatic audience and their energy seemingly infectious- even with a ninety-minute mammoth of a set. It doesn’t matter that their music may be a little crude and at times lacking emotional resonance, because when a band like this exists it’s not their power to transform that works as the selling point, it’s their ability to provide easy listening and a quick dopamine boost without thinking too much about it that is.

The Hollywood Undead may be a little outdated and slightly cringe, that is true. Yet despite all this, despite the odds stacked against them, it’s clear that The Hollywood Undead will continue to cultivate a mass following in years to follow based on just being good fun, taking an aged audience back to a time of Swan Songs, shag bands and far too many pairs of Vans.

Words - Abi Whistance

Photos - Nathan Robinson (Apertunes)