Live Reports

Bullet For My Valentine are still alive!

What a line-up: Bullet For My Valentine, Jinjer and Atreyu on the same line-up! And what a better venue than the Ancienne Belgique to welcome one of the most anticipated tour from early 2023. A venue that B4MV have headlined many times the last 15 years. And as – almost – usual, they nailed it!

We would almost forget it but this show is a rescheduled one because of you-know-what. Originally planned at the Trix, the show has been moved to a bigger venue because this sick line-up. Having Atreyu as an opener, even if they’re not in their prime anymore, isn’t something we could expect in 2023. But, still, here they are. And most surprising: it’s their very first time at the Ancienne Belgique!

So, how was their first show in the capital?! Well… I didn’t start well. Only a couple of hundreds of people in the venue, a short but boring technical issues with the drums and the first songs were not the best. Luckily for them, song after song, more people arrived in the venue and the energy was rising in the room. Slowly but surely.

They are a metalcore band but they’ve always had tons of hard-rock/glam/heavy influences, both in their music and their attitude. From the singer going in the crowd like a rockstar singing with the fans, taking a beer or doing selfies to guitar solos and the dance move on stage. It reminded us a bit Bad Wolves and their show in London last December. The old songs had definitely more success than the new ones, even if Save Us got a decent reaction. They finished with a dub-step party and a classic song in their style between metalcore and hard-rock with a slight touch of Bon Jovi. Too bad by the way they don’t play anymore their cover You Give Love A Bad Man. A classic!

Set-list: Strange Powers Of Prophecy, Becoming The Bull, The Time Is Now, Ex’s And Oh’s, Save Us, Drowning, Battle Drums, Blow.

Second act of the evening, main support on this tour and expected as headliner for their next European tour: Jinjer. The band from Ukraine has seen their popularity growing up since exactly 1 year and 2 days after Russia launched a war on Ukrainian soil. Well, at least, a bit outside of the metal scene because inside the metal scene, they are in top of new-coming acts! Actively touring since many years, they’ve seen their success winning 2 steps since a couple of years. In 2022, they played the Jupiler Stage at Graspop that looks far too small for them. The festival announced about 30 new names this week but still no trace of Jinjer there. Fingers crossed they’ll be back in a few months and on a well-deserved spot on Main Stage this time!

But until then, they had a new meeting with their Belgian fans tonight… and it won’t be a show to remember. For us or for them. The sound is massive, the show light is very good and the band delivered a powerful show. But in front of them, there are 2000 metalcore fans of Bullet For My Valentine, between old-emos and new kids. Not really the style of enjoy the complexity and groovy music from Jinjer. It surprised us because when the band entered on stage, the room was full and the screaming gave us the feeling the band was really awaited tonight. Ready to support Ukraine’s musical ambassadors. Especially when we sadly celebrate the first Birthday of the Russian invasion (25 February at 5am to be exact). But no, the audience will stay still and frustrated us.

Set-list: Who’s Gonna Be The One, Copycat, Home, Judgement, Pit Of Consciousness, Perennial, Dead Hands Feel No Pain, Vortex, Call Me A Symbol.

After this nice warm-up, it was time to welcome the stars of the evening: Bullet For My Valentine! It’s the 5th time they headlined the Ancienne Belgique and their last time – in 2016 with Killswitch Engage as special guest – was fuckin’ sick. Their best show with the one in 2008. So we had some great hopes for tonight!

It beginner very slowly with recent songs: Knives, Over It and Piece Of Me. Decent but nothing spectacular from both sides: the band doesn’t sound as its best and the audience isn’t on fire. Matt took a short time to explain that Jaimie and him are both sick and so have vocal issues. Not the best way to finally launch this show like it should be. But one thing at a B4MV‘s show can improve anything and everything: play a song from their debut and most successful album ever “The Poison”! And that’s exactly what they did with 4 Words To Choke Upon: mosh-pit, circle-pit and sing-along, finally! You Want A Battle followed and confirmed it’s one of the best song – if not the best – they’ve released during the last decade. But it doesn’t have the nostalgia and the rarity of Hearts Burst Into Fire.

Before the tour, the band asked on their social networks which old song they’d like to hear on this tour. A old song they have never played or not in a long time.The list of possibilities was long but it was 100% clear the song would have come from the 2 first albums. Hand Of Blood? Room 409? Hit The Floor? Say Goodnight? No, the choice has been stopped on Hearts Burst Into Fire and this is honestly a sick choice! The fans are on fire and the whole is singing along, finally!

During the whole set, we’ll always see a huge difference between old and new songs. Bullet For My Valentine will never release an album as good as “The Poison”. That’s a fact. And fingers crossed they’ll never ever again released a poor album like “Temper Temper”, which obviously disappeared since a while. It’s fully understandable they want to promote their new albums but songs like Rainbow Veins or Shatter could have been replaced by 2005-2008 era songs. The huge success from the trio All These Things I Hate + Scream Aim Fire + Suffocation Under Words Of Sorrow fully confirmed it! A chance the audience knew the lyrics so well because song after song, the voice of Matt decreased until an ending song, Waking The Demon, when he didn’t sing more than half of it. And Tear’s Don’t Fall, started with Matt singing a cappella succeeded only because of the fans. Too bad they had to cut 2 songs from the set-list as it includes Don’t Need Me. Well, we would have need it!

Set-list: Knives, Over It, Piece Of Me, 4 Words To Choke Upon, You Want a Battle, Hearts Burst Into Fire, The Last Fight, Shatter, All These Things I Hate, Scream Aim Fire, Suffocating Under Words Of Sorrow, Rainbow Veins, Your Betrayal, Tears Don’t Fall, Waking The Demon.

Tonight was a great but frustrating show. Jinjer did a great job but in front of an unconvinced crowd. Bullet For My Valentine played the best show possible in these conditions and it would have been even better with a better dosed set-list. After their show at Lokerse Feesten in August 2023, maybe a 20th Anniversary Tour for “The Poison” in 2024-2025?!

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