Asking Alexandria Concert Review The Marquee Theater Tempe AZ 05-18-24

Review and Photos by Maxwell Williamson-Edited by Roc Boyum

Asking Alexandria brought their All My Friends Tour to the Marquee Theater in Tempe, AZ on 5-18-24 with a stacked lineup that included three killer support acts; Nerv, The Word Alive and Memphis May Fire. The Arizona rock and roll fans showed up early and showed up in waves, ready to headbang the night away for this long night of full throttle music. With each consecutive opening band, the night’s energy level grew in intensity until the culminating force of the headliner Asking Alexandria hit the stage with a stellar sixteen song set that was culled from seven of their nine studio LPs.

Asking Alexandria_L_R_Danny Worsnop-Cameron Liddell-Sam Bettley-Paul Bartolome-James Cassells

Nerv:

Nerv are a 4-piece Alternative Pop/Rock outfit that hails from Sacramento, CA, kicked this night off with a very enjoyable 7 song set. Although it seemed most of the crowd was unfamiliar with Nerv and their music, it didn’t take long for the fans to quickly warm up and give loud ovations at each song’s completion. Their set wasn’t very heavy by today’s standards, but none the less, their catchy tunes and infectious grooves won this crowd over. After cruising through a groovy set, singer Dillon Jones notified the crowd that it was time for their final song of the night. Regarding the final song “Bad Habits”, Dillon went on to say, “if anyone knew any of their songs, this would be the one”. He went on further to impart a fun tidbit stating; “from the video of “Bad Habits…..“we have the star actor here in attendance tonight! “Bad Habits” definitely caught my attention and was indeed a very catchy song. At the completion of their set, I immediately opened up my Spotify app and saved “Bad Habits” to my library which has been on repeat ever since; just an all-around fantastic track!

Nerv Photo Gallery:

 The Word Alive:

Next up on the bill was The Word Alive, who were met with a tremendous welcoming as soon as they hit the stage! The band opened their set with the droning guitar riff and rolling snare groove from the track “2012” off their 2010 release, Deceiver.  This musical opening was played live, (not a back track), and gave vocalist Tyler Smith, a brief moment to engage and fire up the audience before the band launched into the thundering riffs of this opening song. The floor of the venue suddenly resembled a large trampoline with the crowd jumping in unison to the song’s beefy beat. Vocalist Tyler Smith, better known by his fans as Telle, commanded the stage with his powerful presence. The energy in the room was unmatched to anything that I’ve experienced so early in a show from any concert lineup! The Word Alive are indeed a headlining act in their own right, and this crowd’s response to their performance made one feel as if they were watching the final act of the night.

When vocalist Telle addressed the crowd between songs saying “It feels good to be home”, It became very apparent why this audience gave the band such a warm welcome. The Word Alive hails from Phoenix, AZ and these hometown fans made sure that the band received the hometown welcoming they deserved! They powered through an eight-song set with an insane vitality from start to finish. The set consisted mostly of songs off their 2023 release, Hard Reset. I have been a fan of TWA from very early on in their career, but I never had a chance to catch them live prior to tonight, and they did not disappoint! When they return as a headliner, I’ll be first up to buying a ticket for a full show of their phenomenal stage presence, crowd control, surges of crowd-surfing, and an all-around good time.

Get into The Word Alive Here!

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Memphis May Fire:

 MMF hails from Nashville, TN by way of Denton, TX and are led by the very diverse and engaging vocalist, Matty Mullins. Although MMF were following a very crazy set by TWA, the moxie of these metalcore veterans shook all the fans in attendance and raised their concert going expectations to the next level.  The lights dropped as Mullins could be seen entering a dimly lit stage that was shrouded in a looming fog that had the stage lighting disappearing into a haze that created a fiery glow like a burning sunset. As Mullins began to sing the fan favorite “Make Believe,” he was immediately joined by a few hundred back-up singers in the audience which was… the choir before the storm. Shortly thereafter, the remaining band members then appeared on stage and fired into the heavy and thrashing riffs of “Make Believe” which set the tone for their heavy metalcore set. MMF brought the perfect mixture of heavy riffs and catchy verses to fuel a spirited set full of pugnacious mosh pits, consistent waves of crowd surfers and plenty of crowd karaoke; song after song! Their twelve-song set featured tracks spanning throughout much of their past discography, with their seventh and latest 2023 Rise Records release, Remade In Misery, as the LP most represented.  Their set was a very enjoyable set, suitable for both fans of heavier metalcore and less aggressive alternative rock. It was abundantly apparent why Memphis May Fire has a very loyal following!

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Asking Alexandria:

 After the stagehands completed their hard work getting things set up for the headliner – Asking Alexandria, the anxious crowd let out a boisterous cheer when the lights dropped in anticipation of the band’s appearance. Their set started a bit later for a headliner than what I’m used to, with their set not getting underway until around 10:40pm. But, you know the saying; good things come to those who wait!

The band rewarded the patient crowd with a phenomenal set of sixteen songs that included one encore song. The band gave the fans a number of fan favorites that started with “Closure” from their 2011 release, Reckless and Relentless. Out of the gate, vocalist Danny Worsnop proved he is still at the top of his game. Belting out high-and low-pitched screams as if it were still 2011, he easily demonstrated why he’s still considered one of the best metalcore/heavy metal vocalists out there today.

Danny Worsnop

The supercharged beginning to their set might have been a bit too chaotic for some fans as things got a bit out of control almost immediately. During their second song “Alone Again,” Worsnop had no choice but to stop the show due to a fan injury on the floor. Fortunately, the security staff at the Marquee Theater immediately stepped in to help the injured fan; the show then continued at the same energy level as if nothing had happened. Longtime fans of AA surely noticed the absence of the last remaining original member and founding guitarist Ben Bruce who departed from the band in January of 2024. This member change shifted longtime rhythm guitarist Cameron Liddell into the lead guitar role. New member Paul Bartolome was added into the rhythm guitar slot and could be seen in a stationary position, set towards the back of the stage for a majority of the show. The first half of the show was a full throttle musical assault on this Tempe audience, which included singer Telle of The Word Alive, joining Worsnop on stage for a passionate duet of “Into The Fire.” About midway through their set, Worsnop emerged onto a dark platform that was illuminated by a couple of spotlights. Standing alone, Worsnop began to strum his guitar and sing an interesting and surprising cover tune, “I Want it That Way”  by 90’s pop boy band sensation Backstreet Boys. For this cover tune, the entire room sang along to this song which was surprising for a room full of metal heads.

Worsnop didn’t have to entice the fans to join in on this song as they seized the opportunity to carry the vocal choruses on their own; truly powerful. It was a classic moment and an unexpected highlight of the night for sure! Several times during their set, Worsnop paused to address the crowd, and in the tradition of the Red Rocker (Sammy Hagar) Worsnop generously shared his Tequila with the patrons in the front row; too cool! One of the loudest cheers of the night came after Worsnop informed the audience that Asking Alexandria wrote and recorded most of the songs in their set right here in Phoenix, AZ. Their set of sixteen songs was culled from eight different albums that spanned more than fourteen years of their sixteen-year career. AA has always been outspoken about writing diverse music that doesn’t sound the same from one LP to the next, and this philosophy of sundry music was quite evident in their set on this night. Fans old and new alike were treated to an abundant assortment of songs with mind bending guitar riffs and thunderous bass and drum combos topped with a wide range of phenomenal clean and screaming vocals.

Then, as the clock ticked past midnight, Worsnop swigged more tequila while joking with the crowd about how predictable encores have become in the live music industry these days. He went on to say; “this will be our last songs of the night” while motioning air quotes with his hands in the air. Worsnop then imparted; “these last few songs were written when I was only 17 years old and I no longer have the energy of a 17-year-old…” He then asked for some audience assistance to help him power through these songs, and of course everyone in attendance loudly agreed to do so! They closed out their regular set with 2 classics off their debut album, Stand Up and Scream with, “Prophecy and The Final Episode” (Let’s Change The Channel) respectively.

I will say, as a long-time fan who has listened to their Stand Up and Scream album on repeat as a senior in high school, it was an absolute pleasure to finally see them perform these songs live.

This was a fantastic show from start to finish by all 4 bands, which was evident by the collection of smiling faces and affirmative chatter as everyone headed towards the exit after the show.  I highly suggest that you don’t miss out on a chance to see Asking Alexandria or any of the 3 bands from this show; you will not be disappointed!

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