Wednesday February 26th marked the first day back in Bristol for alt-rock superstars New Years Day, after having been away for years. The five-piece band originally formed in Anaheim, California, and the release of their latest album Unbreakable in April earlier this year marked their fourth studio album to date.
Having recently finished an epic arena run with fellow rock stars Halestorm and In This Moment, tonight was the first sold out show of their own tour, and The Fleece was rammed with excited audience members of all ages. Many of them also sporting the iconic red and black split hair lead singer and goth goddess Ash Costello has been known for throughout the years.
Opening the show were Lowlives (5), another LA based rock band producing some hard-hitting hard rock to get the crowd going. Despite a quasi-lacklustre performance, due to a disenchanting stage presence, they primed the way for the main act of the night.
New Years Day (8) opened with an explosive rendition of the opening track from their latest release, Come for Me, a number the band describe in interviews as their ‘their fight song’, which they confessed to have taken one of the longest to write on their new album. As soon as the band opened, I was immediately enticed by Costello’s seductive stage presence and genuinely engaging performance (though surprisingly, without the red hair!). For the duration of the set, she continuously engrosses the audience, encouraging crowd participation and showing genuine appreciation for all the fans.
It is also no secret that the band are inspired by multiple genres of music, in particular 90s groove metallers Pantera, which results in a re-imagined cover of the song Fucking Hostile. The highlight for me may have been the thunderously sexy cover of pop-singer Kehlani’s Gangsta, an artist which Costello has continuously said she is a huge fan of. Though the band were hit with technical difficulties midway through, meaning there were a few unavoidable pauses, Costello being unable to hear herself for the rest of the set did not cause her voice to waver. One of the most touching moments of the set for me came the moment the band paused their set to take pictures with a fan’s LGBTQ+ flag, followed by an empowering short speech on acceptance by the band.
During their penultimate track ‘Scream’, the enigmatic guitarist Nikki Misery, known for his high energy on stage, Costello and bassist Frankie Sil take it to the crowd and jump in to get directly involved, losing themselves within the sea of people. The band then close with encore Angel Eyes, the only track played from their 2013 album ‘Victim to Villian’, though the original features Motionless in White’s Chris Motionless, the lyrics screaming passionately from the audience meant that his absence was very much made up for.
However, though undeniable vocal enthusiasm from the crowd throughout, I was surprised at the general lack of physical movement exhibited by onlookers. Nonetheless, everyone left scouting a sweaty smile on their faces, as one should after an overall enjoyable and dynamic metal show.