Live: Wednesday 13, The Key Club Leeds, 24/2/2017

A grey Friday evening in the midst of February seems on the surface like a fitting day to see a show entitled Undead, Unplugged. However, below the surface, what awaits Wednesday 13 fans this evening is a night filled with humour, honesty and a real connection between artist and fans- alongside a great deal of unplugged live music from Wednesday’s extensive back catalogue.

“Hello boys and girls, I’m Wednesday 13 and this is my friend Roman Surman” announces tonight’s artist/host, before a stripped down version of Dead Carolina. With no drums, no electric guitars and just his coarse, gravelly vocals, the unplugged tracks are given a more mellow vibe, while still always maintaining an unfaltering darker edge. From this, he segues into a request of the audience to be quiet during his stories; “I turned 40 last year and I’m old and deaf!” This is quickly followed by a humorous story about his misunderstanding of English words, questioning our use of the word ‘shite’ instead of ‘shit’ is worse because of the extra letter…God Is A Lie from his album Transylvania perfectly demonstrates, that although ordinarily wonderfully pacey and the embodiment of horror-punk, these songs alsotranslate perfectly into acoustic numbers. During the next section of the show, Wednesday takes time to answer fan’s questions. It’s such a strange vibe from someone whose songs and shows are usually about coveting riotous chaos, for everyone in the room to be able to stand and observe and actually have conversations with Wednesday himself. Answering the questions, Wednesday cites June’s Download Festival as his next full metal outing on UK shores; a statement that is welcomed by a large proportion of the crowd.

Welcome To The Strange from the Freddy vs Jason sound track is the first Murderdolls track covered tonight, and is met by a fervent welcome- perhaps from those who are primarily Murderdolls fans. “The whole idea for these shows came from when I played these songs in my apartment and my cat liked it!” he says, as if that’s all the explanation anyone should ever need. During My Demise, the crowd are rousing each time the line ‘the crowd goes wild in my demise…’ comes around, which celebrates the lugubriosity and morbidity that manifests in and brings together perhaps most in the room tonight. After a chorus of Happy Birthday (and the confirmation that this, out of any song ever, is the song Wednesday wishes he had penned himself), a highlight is Summertime Suicide. Another Murderdolls track, this one is accompanied by a side note about its conception. “They wanted  us to change the name From Suicide to Valentine… Summertime Valentine? We didn’t, so that’s why you probably never heard it on the radio.”As the night progresses amid stories of missing front teeth, getting to know your idol (in Wednesday’s case, Alice Cooper) and many, many tales of drinking, it’s amazing to see a artist still having so much time to connect with his fans. The warmest reception of the night though, is for I Walked With A Zombie- a song that just seems to encapsulate everything Wednesday is about- and his toned-down vocals are met with full volume hollers of ‘Zombie, Zombie!’ during the chorus. Going right back to the early days of his musical career, he details how the whole point of his old band Frankenstein Drag Queens was at first, just to make people mad. “This song is from the 90s because I was alive then and writing music. If you can spell it, you can sing it!” he tells the crowd, who immediately start yelling ‘R A M B O’ before the song has even begun, or indeed, before he has even finished his sentence. To bring the solo part of his set to a close, he shares an anecdote about writing the last song in the ladies’ room of the K-Mart where he worked through the night- a song named I Love To Say Fuck, which inspired the janitor to tell him no one would ever want to hear his work. The irony of this is now excellently demonstrated as the entirety of Leeds’ Key Club chant the word ‘fuck’ at him at the top of their voices.

Now it’s time for the support act- Wednesday 13’s other band, supporting himself after his main set- go figure. So Bourbon Crow take to the stage, and as they open with A Dead Body, it quickly becomes clear that although still unplugged, this band bring more dynamics, with both members harmonising and creating their trademark outlaw-rock sound. Before Piece Of Shit, Wednesday’s bandmate Rayen tells how the song is about a girl who tried to kill him because he wouldn’t date her, before moving on to a quick ‘new song’- “It’s called OJ Did It!” quipped Wednesday.The high point of Bourbon Crow’s set comes when the last notes of One More Round (which was dedicated to making it out of 2016 alive) flow seamlessly into a cover of Mötley Crüe’s  Home Sweet Home. Nature Boy (The Ballad of Ric Flair) does indeed come with a side of high praise for the aforementioned Ric Flair, while Alcohol Is Awesome rounds off the evening. “Holler aaaaand swaller!” the band yell, before downing shots for the final track- this is a sentiment that sums up Bourbon Crow, and on the whole probably largely epitomises most of the stories that have been shared tonight.

Photography by Erin Moore at Forte Photography UK

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