Review: Azrael, From Ashes to New, Offbeat Hooligans, & Almost Kings @ Wild Bill’s

On Saturday, May 3rd, Atlanta natives Almost Kings played their hometown for the first time in roughly nine months. In celebration of this hometown event/Cinco de Mayo bash, the band gave away free tickets to all who requested them prior to the show. Three opening acts–Azrael, From Ashes to New, and Offbeat Hooligans–were booked, and anticipation built by the day.

Doors opened at 7:30 that night. Rockers Azrael were the first to hit the stage, going on around 8:30. The best way to describe them is a mix of Creed and Seether. Their originals were great, and their versions of Bush’s “Come Down” and Alex Clare’s “Too Close” really sparked the crowd’s enthusiasm. It was the perfect way to kick off the night. Before the energy could fade even one iota, it was time for From Ashes to New.

Hailing from Lancaster, PA, From Ashes to New is reminiscent of Hollywood Undead, only much heavier. They had Wild Bill’s jumping by the end of their first song. They were energetic and interactive, vocalist Matt Brandyberry hopped down into the cluster of people gathered in front of the stage more than once, singing and shaking hands and creating more of a sense of camaraderie between fans and band. The atmosphere was electric at the end of their set and it remained that way throughout the entirety of Offbeat Hooligans‘ performance.

The best way to describe Offbeat Hooligans is “funky.” The members are extremely talented. Bassist Ben Rickard, in particular, tore it up. Akin to 311 and Authority Zero, they left the room with a positive vibe. Finally, right after 11, it was the moment we’d all been waiting for–Almost Kings. Drummer Kevin Compton, guitarist Ryan Yunker, bassist Danny Helms, and front man Bryan Bozeman walked out to a packed house. A roar rose from the audience as the band ripped straight into “Shakin’ ‘Em Up.”

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I can’t even find the words to explain their performance. It was non-stop enthusiasm, the guys bouncing all over the expansive stage and Bozeman repeatedly encouraging the audience to help him out, something that every person in that building was more than willing to do. AK played all of their most popular tracks, including “Bounce,” “Five Foot Hurricane,” “Shadows,” and “Hold On Me,” while also breaking out a few songs that aren’t usual on their set lists, such as “Lose Control” and “Never Quite the Same.” A few covers were slipped in: the medley that includes a portion of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back,” Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby,” and House of Pain’s “Jump Around,” as well as their always popular version of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.” Throughout their set, Almost Kings was joined onstage by multiple guests, other musicians who they have collaborated with over the years.

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The night was truly an unforgettable one. Without a doubt, Almost Kings gave their all and made their hometown incredibly proud.