I was curious to see New Years Day for myself and see whether or not they actually deserved the terrible reviews I’d read about because sometimes there actually is smoke without fire. Either way, I wanted to check them out, and this Californian band is in the New Grave genre of other bands that I like including Ashestoangels and Motionless In White.
They were playing at Dingwalls Canalside, a nightclub venue on several levels with a large bar and dancefloor area topped off with a great big disco glitterball. The first thing that struck me before Ash Costello herself made an appearance is that the band members, decked in black and coated in undead-looking make-up, looked super bored. Like, comically so. I mean, maybe it’s part of their act though to look like zombies before a set, I don’t really know, but the effect was that they looked like they’d really rather be anywhere else.
And then Ash Costello bounded onstage looking just as beautiful as she does in all the magazines with her easily recognizable red and black hair and screamed “Camden, are you ready to rock?“. It is always a bit of a shock see someone you are so used to seeing in music magazines appear in front of you, it’s almost weird. Think Tintin or Asterix popping out of a comic strip and suddenly walking out in front of you at the shopping center casually holding a Costa coffee weird.
They kicked off with fistpumping Kill Or Be Killed with the crowd bouncing along, followed by the pretty catchy Epidemic (with lyrics like we’re so contagious, I didn’t know whether to laugh or sing! I just kept thinking of zombie apocalypses).
Then came the title track of their album, Malevolence and Ash said ‘I ask so much. We’re very heavy on crowd participation in New Years Day. I wanna see every single one of you dancing with me on the next song. I wanna hear you fucking scream!’, and of course, the crowd was happy to oblige everyone went nuts! It was a very interactive set which the crowd feeling pumped and breathless.
My verdict: I wanted to like the band, I really did! In fact, whenever I go to see a band I’ve never seen before, or that I’m relatively unfamiliar with, I always go in with an open heart and mind. But while Ash Costello is a fantastic and energetic frontwoman, and I will always admire her, the overall band felt a little bit manufactured. With a lot of bands, what makes the formula work so well is the organic camaraderie that comes with it. I didn’t really see that in New Years Day. The band felt more like a group of kids thrown together for a school project. And while I had a pretty good time, it didn’t come close to being the best live show I’ve been to, and it didn’t provide the crazy rush that I love getting at rock concerts.