In an age where 808′s and drum triggers seem to be common place in even the heaviest, most talented band’s live show, there’s something to be said for those who remain pure. I’m talking about the bands that still rely solely on the talent and showmanship of the members themselves and don’t hide behind a wall of pre-recorded vocals and effects. More specifically, I’m talking about Aiden. Disagree? Well then you obviously need to check out their stunning live cd/dvd From Hell…With Love which hits stores next week via Victory Records.
Taking place mainly in Chicago’s Bottom Lounge music venue, From Hell…With Love should be approached by way of dvd first. Filmed mainly on handheld camera rigs and a couple cranes, there is literally no way to not be blown away by the stage presence of Wil Francis and crew. Splitting the 10 song set between material from 2009′s Knives and fan favorites like “World By Storm,” Aiden rarely stop to breathe, let alone get a drink of water. Frontman Wil Francis doesn’t ask the crowd to participate as much as he calls his gathered followers to simply destroy everything…and they do. The crowd, which is geniously always in frame, generally looks like a blur until “Scavengers of the Damned” when Francis demands fans join on stage [and they do, in great number]. It’s in these moments when Aiden are surrounded by those who look up to them most that you truly catch a glance of why this band continues to thrive. Regardless of how tired, sweaty, and/or sore they may be, everyone in attendance seems determined to out-scream the other for even a moment of the band’s attention. One fan even looks like a replica of Francis circa Nightmare Anatomy. It’s quite clear this is more than a show to these fans, its home. Add to this a few acoustic clips and an interviews that basically sum of the history of the group that was from [presumably] from Victory Records’ headquarters that are carefully inserted and you have one of the loudest, craziest, and most entertaining live dvds in recent memory.
In addition, while most will buy this release for the dvd portion, there is a cd accompaniment as well. The show itself is featured here in stunning quality, but due to Francis’ habit of letting fans sing into the mic, multiple tracks may seem ruined due to the out of tune screams of various concert goers. However, the disc also offers a few, extremely raw, acoustic versions of Aiden staples like “Moment” and “Genetic Design for Dying.” Francis has come quite a ways from the acoustic disaster that was the original version of “Silent Eyes” and while its charm may quickly fade, its definitely something you shouldn’t miss.
From Hell…With Love is not as much a concert dvd as it is proof that real punk still exists and thrives. Even now, after watching the dvd portion more than 4 times in a matter of days, I’m still blown away. There’s something so true and raw about each and every moment we capture any member of the group that you can’t help but be completely engulfed into the world of Aiden. I’ve honestly never seen anything like this outside of watching the band in person. Buy it. Cherish it. Share it. Keep them on the road and keep real rock alive!
Review written by: James Shotwell