LIVE: Aiden / Ashestoangels / Never Found / City of Ashes @ Underworld, London

By Jess Tagliani

It’s a rather bittersweet feeling to see people in their early to mid-twenties sporting age-old Aiden merch, whilst the younger, more excitable fans babble about how much they’re looking forward to seeing the goth-punk outfit play, even if it is the last time they’ll hit the stage. But that’s the sad truth: Aiden will be no more after tonight, and will pay homage to their career by tearing apart the Underworld for the final time.

First to set the scene is City of Ashes. Whilst they put in a very solid effort, they don’t seem to fly tonight. Their punchy riffs fall flat and the crowd aren’t enthusiastic; attempts to get them involved fail to deliver, and the vocalist struggles to provide a powerful performance.

Never Found, on the other hand, really get the crowd fired up. They’re a rush of adrenaline and start as they mean to go on; tracks such as ‘Take Me Away’ are full of raw potential, complete with gritty riffs and steamy guitar licks. With lyrics such as “Welcome to a hell I like to call my life”, they get the room singing back every word with gusto and enthusiasm. By the time this quartet leave the stage, everyone in the room is foaming at the mouth in anticipation for the rest of the night.

Bristol outfit Ashestoangels are no strangers to touring with Aiden, and are old favourites within this room and with this crowd. Crilly’s a born frontman; he holds a devastating power within, and it’s astonishing to see just how readily and easily the crowd will obey his every command to sing, jump, and scream along to their rough and raw tracks. The vocals aren’t as strong as they could be, but this could be down to the fact that Crilly takes any and every opportunity to interact with the crowd. Their dark riffs reverberate around the tiny room, and is a sign of what’s to come for this talented group.

In a way, most of the room do and don’t want the support acts to end. They do, because it’ll mean Aiden will be closer to stepping on that stage. They don’t, because it’ll mean Aiden will be closer to stepping on that stage for the final time. But when they do finally take to the stage, it’s glorious. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Aiden have done a lot of the goth-rock scene over the years; they’ve given an outlet and a voice for those who felt isolated, given a refuge to those who ever felt alone. During tracks such as ‘We Sleep Forever’, Wil Francis needn’t even open his mouth – everyone in the room takes over and sings the lyrics from a place so deep within, they struggle to give them life. Riffs are a burning slab of blistering energy, fraught with dark and brooding tension, creating sing-along anthems in the form of ‘Genetic Design for Dying’ and ‘It’s Cold Tonight’.

Throughout their set, frontman Wil prowls the stage, spitting along to the ever-furious ‘The Last Sunrise’, the inspiration behind the name of their tour, and it’s obvious that Wil is still as dark and dangerous as the day they first started out, despite his jovial and charming outbursts. Behind him, the band provide the perfect backdrop for a successful show; their riffs are as razor sharp, their drum work just as demonic as they race through a fantastic, yet savage, set of ‘Nightmare Anatomy’ in its entirety.

For some, tonight is emotional. Anthems that gave some form of hope and refuge for misunderstood teenagers have been sung for the last time tonight. The room has given their all, singing back every word with desperation, as though they believe that, by doing so, Aiden will stick around for a bit longer. But, as the final chords of ‘World By Storm’ fade out, it’s time for Aiden to give up their thrones. The sun has now set on their reign.