Hot Topic, a retailer that caters to partisans of mall punk, is the sponsor of the Black Mass 2014 Tour that stopped at the Uptown Theater on Wednesday night. The audience of about 1,500 was dominated by the chain’s target demographic of young women between the ages of 13 and 21.
Excitable fans screamed through a convincing headlining set by Black Veil Brides, were titillated by Falling in Reverse, endured an outing by Set It Off and were dumbfounded by Drama Club.
Ronnie Radke, the profane heartthrob who fronts Falling in Reverse, asked the most imperative question of the evening as he sang the chorus of one of his band’s songs, “why do good girls like bad guys?”
Most of the men who pranced across the stage exhibited a fastidiously stylized form of rebellion. Their colorful tattoos, meticulously applied makeup and carefully selected wardrobes conveyed studious insolence.
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The concert’s primary attraction was Andy Biersack, the founder and vocalist of Black Veil Brides. He wore a modified Black Sabbath T-shirt that revealed his taut frame. As he smiled and struck poses in his band’s 80-minute performance, Biersack looked like a gum-chomping version of supermodel Kate Moss.
He thanked the audience for the success of his Los Angeles based band’s latest album, noting that “we had our second consecutive record in the top ten of the Billboard charts.” By combining the disposable pop of Poison, the bluster of Metallica and the machismo of Guns N’ Roses, Biersack and his band mates act as hard rock junk collectors. The band’s enthusiasm and good looks compensated for the absence of fresh sounds.
Aside from occasional outbursts of rapping, Falling in Reverse’s churlish pop-punk is similarly conventional. Radke’s formidable personality carries the group. He and his band wore matching athletic uniforms, an affectation that caused the quintet from Las Vegas to resemble a last-place basketball team at a juvenile detention facility.
The drab theatrical rock of Tampa, Fla.’s Set It Off received a tepid reception but an opening set by Drama Club completely baffled early arrivals. The anonymous duo played manic dance music as the rigid audience stood rooted to the floor.
Almost no one had misgivings about Black Veil Brides. The band seems poised for even greater success. The glam-rock veterans Mötley Crüe have pledged not to tour after next year, a development that represents an enormous opportunity for Black Veil Brides. Abetted by slightly sharper songs and truckloads of pyrotechnics, Black Veil Brides are positioned to fill the void.