On Sunday 31st January 2016 I was among the lucky few to see Aiden play for the very last time. I can’t believe I just wrote that. But Wil himself said onstage that doing this tour had given him a real sense of closure, and I’d like to think that we, the fans, can say that, too.
Aiden wasn’t just a punk rock band, they were a beacon of hope to so many people, they got me through the rough times and I’ll never forget that, I know a lot of people share that story. I was in two minds about going to this concert, on the one hand I was apprehensive, because this was, after, a farewell. On the other hand, I WAS GOING TO SEE AIDEN MAAAAN! And not many things can beat that!
It turns out I had the most epic night I’ve had in a long while, it was a goodbye, but it was MORE a celebration of EPIC proportions, a celebration of a band who touched so many black little hearts and a band that meant, and always will, mean so much to so many people.
At the start of the night I had no idea that the God of Rock was smiling down on me, for there I was, lurking outside The Underworld, excited to get the party started. To cut a long story short, Aiden’s manager Luke Ryan Barnes had a spare VIP pass which he eventually let me have. I’m gonna admit that I’ve OBVIOUSLY been living under a rock and didn’t even know you could get these little treasures. I felt like I’d won a ticket to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, I was so damn happy. Luke was incredibly kind to me and he is largely responsible for making my night what it was and I am so grateful for that, thank you!
I got to meet the whole band who were all so kind and so down to earth, I got an Aiden poster signed by the whole band, I got first dibs on the merch and bought a wicked Aiden tee, I got Wil to sign my pile of Aiden and William Control album covers that I brought along (I’m an optimist, and sometimes it pays off, y’know?), I got an awesome photo with Aiden (which Luke took for me, THANK YOU SO MUCH), and I have this most treasured memory of standing in front of Wil Francis and feeling both incredibly star struck and incredibly, ridiculously happy at the same time, and a bit like I was maybe going to burst into tears. The thing is, meeting Wil is like meeting James Dean. He is the epitome of cool, he is 80% effortless charisma, and he is so, so kind. Luke told me not to be nervous, but how could I not be? It was all so unreal. Wil Francis had just strolled round the corner and casually greeted us with “Hello, lovely ladies” in his dreamy American accent. Part of me felt like I wasn’t actually there, and I’m glad I have the photo to prove it! I asked Wil whether he would still continue to make music after Aiden, and he said yes, with William Control, so there’s a relief.
Preceding Aiden were three very talented bands, City of Ashes, Ashestoangels, and Never Found. I won’t talk about them this time too much to avoid this post being a zillion light years long, but I’ll definitely be delving deeper into those musical depths.
When the wait was over and Aiden finally came onstage (why does it always feel like such a long wait when it was probably only a few hours – a few painful, anticipation filled, agonizing hours!) Wil came out last, donning his trademark black leather jacket and looking smokin’ and the crowd went into this insane frenzy like a pack of rabid Hellhounds baying for souls. The air was saturated with this epic energy and raw unfiltered punk rock in it’s purest form. Nothing beats the power of punk rock.
I sang my heart out. We crawled up from Hell, we slept forever, we let the right one in, and we all became hysterical, it was a truly unbeatable setlist. Aiden also played a new track, New Grave, which they’d only just written, and Wil said they’d written a whole album that we can all download for free on the Aiden website. The gifts just kept flowing! You can check out some of my videos on Instagram @FoxyRocker88, they’re actually some of the best live music videos I’ve ever captured, although I say so myself!
When they played Scavengers of the Damned I though my heart would burst. There was this perfect moment when the audience and band were perfectly merged and we were all this one united monster, and time just stood still. These are the moments that I crave so badly when I go to see bands play live, that feeling of belonging, of unison, of one cause.
I looooooooooove Wil’s evil stage persona. He spat on someone, he wrapped a bra around his neck, he wiped someone eyebrows off, and all with a glint in his eye and a wicked cackle, and there we all were just worshipping at his feet because Wil Francis can do no wrong, or if he does, we don’t fucking care and, if anything, we love him all the more! He’s just a natural performer with SO MUCH energy, and has a way of making everyone feel involved. Wil brought out the guest band’s singers to join him in a few of the songs and the whole show was a riot of sweat, punk anarchy and crowd surfing!
Well, despite the generous setlist, the whole thing was over in the blink of the eye, and after the final encore, we said goodbye to Aiden. The hint of sadness was luckily overpowered by the enormity of the night, and I left there, armed with my goodies and memories, feeling all floaty and happy. Screw spa days, just take me to a punk rock gig! And you know it’s been a great gig when you throat is sore, your neck and back are aching, your makeup is a splotchy black mess on your face, and your ears are making this weird swishing sound.
I love you, Aiden. Thank you for the good times and for always being there for me through the tough times. Thank you for making this rock chick so super happy! See you in Hell 😉 x
- Crawling Up From Hell
- We Sleep Forever
- Let The Right One In
- New Grave
- Scavengers Of The Damned
- Knife Blood Nightmare
- The Last Sunrise
- Die Romantic
- Genetic Design For Dying
- Unbreakable (I.K.M.A)
- It’s Cold Tonight
- Enjoy The View
- Goodbye We’re Falling Fast
- This City Is Far From Here
- See You In Hell
- I Set My Friends On Fire
- World By Storm