Hollywood Undead + Pengshui @ O2 Kentish Town Forum, 14th February

14th February 2020
Photos and Review by Rebecca Bush

Celebrating the launch of their new album, ‘New Empire, Vol.1’ (2020), HOLLYWOOD UNDEAD have returned to the one and only O2 Kentish Town Forum, London, to begin the leg of their UK tour. ‘New Empire, Vol.1’ is the band’s sixth studio album and was released on the 14th February, 2020. The new album shifts from their usual and comfortable habitat to somewhere new, with the band stating that they wanted to “…imagine they have never made an album before, and create something new…” HOLLYWOOD UNDEAD have reimagined their sound and the aesthetic and feel of their grouping as a whole.

Tonight’s support band came in the form of PENGSHUI. Hailing from local London, the three-piece punk/metal/grime-esque trio made an appearance.

With their debut album dropping next week, the fans of the main event seemed keen to give them a listen. With a heavily drum carried sound and a bass line that made the tracks whole, the trio were led by a vocalist who interweaved a web of screaming and softer lyrics, rapping at great speed during the songs’ catchy verses.

As PENGSHUI laid out their impressive array of titles, half way through their slot they welcomed on stage their youngest fan, an eight year old girl who, as it happens, was attending her first ever show.

The crowd showed their massive appreciation for the gesture, which increased the excitement for tonight’s main event.

PENGSHUI left the stage, and the crowd began their thirst once more for HOLLYWOOD UNDEAD.

The crowd of the Kentish Town Forum were out in force and perfect form in anticipation of the band’s album launch. At some point, a flag bearing the logo of HOLLYWOOD UNDEAD dropped down, and everyone in the crowd roared with excitement. ‘Everywhere I go,’ started to be chanted from the lips of the devotees in attendance, eagerly awaiting the presence of the headliners.

Since their debut in 2015, HOLLYWOOD UNDEAD have stormed the world all the way from Los Angeles, California. The band have found their sound and delved into their own unique journey of self-discovery, becoming evident in the evolution of their music and the image they portray to the media/world.

Even with the ever-growing maturity of this band, they still manage to combine their adored mix of hip-hop and rock genres. Playing their instruments live creates an even more tangible experience of their show, with the slight wisps of electronic influence intertwining through their tracks.

With such a large amount of ‘members’, the band create an explosive and energetic atmosphere, keeping the audience on their toes, throughout.

Each member made a point of coming to the front of the stage, meaning no one was left behind and the show kept moving at a wonderfully intense pace.

After the intro song of Tiptoe Through the Tulips, the band opened with Time Bomb, the first track to get its live debut from their new album ‘New Empire, Vol.1’, bearing witness to the endless amounts of stage diving which carried on throughout their entire set, when the mosh pits were not devouring all in their path.

The room came alive (or, undead?) when the headliners brought out their second track, Undead,  the song that introduced a lot of early fans to the groups music.

A member from the crowd was brought up to help play guitar for their track Comin’ in Hot, who jammed out, very skilfully, alongside his favourite band. The band ploughed through an impressive track list, including Dead Bite, Been to Hell and Gravity, also bringing us live for the first time immense new songs Heart of a Champion. a powerful and punchy track. and Empire. which really makes an impact and keeps the energy levels through the roof.

The audience were asked to name a song for the drummer to sing, and they had no problem with shouting out some of their all-time favourites. Eventually, Livin’ on a Prayer – Bon Jovi, was chosen and the drummer sang a select few lines from the song’s chorus.

The final few tracks were fan favourites from previous albums, with the older songs receiving bigger applause.

The presence of this band alone filled the venue; explosive and colossal in their radiance. Being the night of the album launch, this show was special, made even better by the positive and humble attitude of HOLLYWOOD UNDEAD, and of course, the adoration and appreciation of the crowd that came to watch them.