With origins in South Africa and now based in the US, The Awakening recently toured SA in support of their Anthology XV album and to celebrate 15 years of musical releases. Last Friday they were joined by Terminatryx and Subvers at Mercury.
Subvers started things off with a heavy dose of metal. Not really my thing but headbanging is always fun to watch and photograph.
Up next were Terminatryx, who added some gothic flair and charm to things. Visually striking in badass matching outfits and musically intense yet melodic, they played a mix of old and new material and gave away a copy of their new album Shadow to a lucky audience member.
The Awakening’s music is a bit hard to define – it’s heavy and has metal-eque elements but I think the deciding factor is the voice of Ashton Nyte (who looks like Gary Numan and Billy Idol’s lovechild) – it’s that deep, 80’s-style classic goth vibe a la Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus that pushes them more towards gothic rock than metal.
For that reason I had expected the night to be more gothy (and there certainly was no shortage of trenchcoats, chokers and corsets in the crowd) so felt somewhat vindicated when the shouty metal that was played in between bands was paused then replaced by The Cure. Thaaaaat’s more like it.
When the headliners started playing the crowd really woke up; it was clear there were a lot of long-time fans in the audience and they were very appreciative.
I really enjoyed the performance – both musically and for all the amusing theatre that came along with it. There’s not huge variation to Ashton’s voice but it works really well, and his super dry sense of humour was brilliantly entertaining.
When he removed his coat and commented on how hot it was, the lady next me started shouting to get his attention. “Ashton! Dude! Do you want some foam? I have some waterless foam and it’s very refreshing!” Intrigued, Ashton took up her offer and accepted the small orange tube of ‘foam’…he used some (and made the night for my neighbour) and then said ‘it’s bras and panties and then, at a certain age…waterless foam’.
Whether in response to this comment or to show their appreciation for the slick American guitarist, someone donated their bra to the latter shortly after. Ashton dangled it from his mic stand before it somehow got tangled in the cable, causing several songs worth of attempts to remove it. Very entertaining, and great to see the band pretty relaxed and not taking themselves too seriously.
A really great show for every reason.
After the show the band hung around at the merch stand to meet and greet the fans, who were still lining up by the time I left.
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