Review: Wednesday 13 Performing Murderdolls @ The Triffid (Brisbane)

Wednesday 13 played The Triffid (Brisbane) on 2 February, 2024 - image © Clea-marie Thorne
With an insatiable passion for live music and photography adventures, this mistress of gig chronicles loves the realms of metal and blues but wanders all musical frontiers and paints you vibrant landscapes through words and pics (@lilmissterror) that share the very essence of her sonic journeys with you.

Some 20-plus years ago, I used to enjoy Friday Fright nights with my crew. You see the darkness within me was birthed from the tender age of four with Alice Cooper's 'Welcome To My Nightmare' and Black Sabbath's 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath' albums (we had no TV).

These were the gateway albums that led to my addiction for the macabre, and as I grew older I sought to feed this addiction with horror prose, graphic novels and fiction books and oh, horror films – the more b-grade the better!

I also developed a fondness for industrial and glam rock and metal with a twist of horror over the years: White Zombie, Rob Zombie, Dog Fashion Disco, Polkadot Cadaver, Circus of Dead Squirrels and of course, Murderdolls and Wednesday 13.

So if you don't know what's got me doing a monster jive on my way to Brisbane's The Triffid (2 February) let me spell it out! W-e-d-n-e-s-d-a-y-13 is putting on a show performing Murderdolls songs (and Frankenstein Drag Queens From Planet 13). Ka-boom!

As I arrive a mass of fans in an array of fishnet, bondage straps, mesh, studded belts, face paint, black-lined eyes and a general sea of black clothing already line the footpath. My kin are in abundance!

I was one of the lucky ones to see Murderdolls at Big Day Out in 2003 and from memory it was in a tent. I remember the recordings were much more fun live and the talent of the band combined blew the crowd into oblivion – they deserved to be on one of the main stages. It was just so good.

Wednesday 13 aka Joseph Michael Poole (W13) joined Murderdolls at the request of the late Joey Jordison (of Slipknot, Murderdolls, Scar The Martyr and more) in the early 2000s. For this Australian tour, W13 has brought his latest band line-up to perform Murderdolls songs.

Terror Parade
Terror Parade - image © Clea-marie Thorne

Before the headliners are unleashed to corrupt our musical souls, Terror Parade are onstage. Just taking in the visuals, I reckon it is an excellent choice. In fetish style attire they complement the headliner's aesthetic and the ambience of the fans in the crowd.

This is my first introduction to the heavy goth rockers and I can only let you know their stage names led by Zichxyna (vocals), Madman (guitar), Silencer (bass) and Terrorizer (drums). Opening with their namesake track 'Terror Parade' they have our attention immediately.

All members wear white theatre paint on their faces with black paint accents, with Zichxyna (Zizi) a dominating sight onstage. She is either very tall or those are some mighty platforms – either way, her vocals come from deep down in the pit of her gut and spew forth in a commanding way.

'Deathwish' has Zizi wielding a machete and we get that her "deathwish is our death!" – I almost believe her. Maybe we have all committed a sin or two. . . how about seven? 'Seven Sins' is followed by 'HollyWood Dead' that has Zizi asking if we would sell our souls for 15 minutes of fame. The crowd roared with positive responses.

The crowd then goes wild as 'Guillotine' witnesses Zizi swinging a severed head (yes, a prop) about onstage. Madman then takes command asking us: "How are all my freaks tonight?"

Terror Parade.2
Terror Parade - image © Clea-marie Thorne

The crowd roars and the band break out into 'Freak', an anthem of the provocative kind. It's all about the fetish and the kink, and embracing your inner weird. Better still, it has a massive groove driven by a mighty kick.

If we thought that song was hot, the closing track is on fire! We are invited to sing-along and get a little help to do our part for 'Burn This City': "The strong will live, the flames are ready to burn!" We joined in the chant: "Burn this city, burn"

Theatrical dark and energetic musicianship that was pretty darn precise throughout the set, existing fans and those like me, newly born into the Terror Parade fandom, gave a very loud show of appreciation as they thanked us, the promoters and W13 for their spot tonight.

I start to talk to some punters about how good Terror Parade were and reminiscing about the times we've seen Murderdolls and Wednesday 13 back in the day. In no time, the 30-minute interval went by in a flash and we prepare for the onslaught of punk-rock horror tunes that will turn us into zombies lusting after W13's live sound.

'The World According To Revenge' (Murderdolls song) programming seemingly had a vengeful start or was it the band that didn't come out on cue? Either way, a few in the crowd chanted "You f...ed up," and the die-hard fans told them to "you, f... up!" It was all in good fun I promise, no one got hurt and smiles were on their faces. It's a live show, no drama, llamas!

The punters who are packing closer to the stage cut sick as The Triffid turned into the "blood red chapel of sin". If you didn't guess already, 'Chapel Of Blood' is the opening Murderdolls cover, from the 'Women And Children Last' album.

W13 is dressed in classic attire: captain's cap, ripped back jeans with grave shovel buckle on his belt, leather jacket and fingerless gloves. Mr himself is telling us to raise our' hands and the crowd obeys their music master.

Chugging riffage signals another cover from the same album, 'Death Valley Superstars' – it's so hard to stay still, but then again who wants to? Fans yell out in their thrashiest voices: "We're the muthaf...ers of the apocalypse. The Death Valley Superstars!"

Jack Tankersley (guitar), Roman Surman (guitar) and Troy Doebbler (bass) flank W13 and are are also out in front, getting right up close to the fans on the barrier. Giving great guitar poses, scary faces, poking tongues and even the odd smile – all this, while not missing a note and keeping it tight. The shred is hectic! The bass is banging!

Wednesday 13.4
Wednesday 13 - image © Clea-marie Thorne

The year he was born gets a mention now, with the hectic rhythm of '197666' a Frankenstein Drag Queens From Planet 13 cover. I have many friends in the pit tonight also born in this year who claim this song as their own. No doubt they're all over the vocal participation and punching their horns high in the air.

As this tour is a celebration of Murderdolls, W13 gives tribute to Joey Jordison and Ben Graves, and reminisces about the world 21 years ago. Cassette tapes, CD players in cars and how we shared and discovered new music. W13 dedicates 'Slit My Wrist' to celebrate Jordison's legacy.

As with many a Murderdolls or W13 song, there's a cheeky play on words of an age-old cliché like 'Love At First Fright'. This banger is met with squeals and backed up by an all-in sing-along. It is ghoulish-ly delicious and I feel like I am among the same music tribe as I was back in the '00s.

W13 repeatedly chants like a priest possessed: "The power of Christ compels you," and then he asks us "Do you want to go fast, Brisbane? I want to go fast!" As we all get to go fast to 'She Was A Teenage Zombie'. There are wafts of steam rising from bodies in the centre of the mosh; I'm no longer jealous of their prized positions and content to be against the cool tiled walls.

Wednesday 13.2
Wednesday 13 - image © Clea-marie Thorne

If I truly believed in zombies I'd swear W13 was one. Onstage with all his get up he does look a little older but certainly not 21 years older as he ensures we are having just as much wickedly good fun as we ever had at a live W13 show.

W13 talks about the weather and the 14-hour flight to arrive here yesterday plus fond memories of a much younger W13, including playing Big Day Out and his cameo in 'Dawson's Creek', laughing about how he toured with Iron Maiden for six weeks and nobody liked them.

He told us how he would ask the crowd "so you guys like necrophilia?", and of course busted out 'Graverobbing USA' followed by 'Die My Bride'. We are held enthralled with the five-piece onstage with pure ghastly glee – W13's pipes have stayed consistently strong and even better than some of the earlier recordings.

It's all goth cupid vibes for 'Blood Stained Valentine' and the dark and violent side of human nature for 'Pieces Of You'. It's weird how a song describing sadism and dismemberment can become glam-metal cool.

Wednesday 13.3
Wednesday 13 - image © Clea-marie Thorne

While the rest of the band have downed tools and left the stage, Mike Dupke is giving us one hell of a drum solo. As he's obscured by the massive kit, I couldn't see if there was blood, but there was a hell of a lot of sweat and/ or tears going left, right and centre! Fans are giving him a deafening show of appreciation for his smashing show.

The band rejoin onstage looking a little cooled off and some clothing removed. 'People Hate Me', 'Welcome To The Strange', 'Dawn Of The Dead', 'Nowhere' and the anthemic guitar riffage 'Summertime Suicide' keep the blood and fists pumping and feet jumping.

As the band leave the stage this time after the encore, in ritualistic form we cry out like ghouls trapped in hell, wailing for them to return for more songs. Hearing our pleas, W13 and the band return and ask us if we want one more song? Two more songs? And finally after teasing us, confirming we will get three more songs!

Rocking into 'White Wedding' (Billy Idol cover), Wednesday 13 even does the hand pumps like Idol – it's great and I love their take on it. Heavy and thick, just like the dirt piled on top of a coffin.

'I Love To Say F...' didn't really need W13 to introduce it, as the umbrella with a huge middle finger printed on it says it all. Even so, W13 is screaming the words "I love to say f..." over and over, and we did too!

Cavorting around the stage, his voice emulating Alice Cooper's strongly in this song, he is stopping next to each of the guitarists then dropping the brollie down to give us all the middle finger! We are giving it right back. It is so, so refreshing to be with a bunch of adults acting like a teenager and not feeling judged.

'Dead In Hollywood' is a damn fine choice to close out the night – after all it's a little homage that mentions the very greats of horror that inspired them. Frankenstein, Dracula, Vincent Price, Dr Phibes, Ed Wood etc!

Wednesday 13.5
Wednesday 13 - image © Clea-marie Thorne

We are left on a horror-metal high at the hands of W13, fully spooked but definitely destroyed of all energy after playing air guitar to the cutting solos and yelling along right to the end "Whoa, dead in Hollywood. Whoa, dead in Hollywood. Whoa, dead in Hollywood. Whoa!"

Yep. Destroyed in the very best way. It was not only the body heat, but the music that is melting our faces. However, sweaty and breathless fans did not just empty the pit and exit the venue. Many are standing around or heading out to the beer garden to debrief and recap their highlights.

A few either predicted or had inside knowledge that the bands would come out and say 'Hi' and I can confirm they did. There were even obligatory poses while mobile phones snapped die-hard fans with their horror music maestros.

W13 brought all the terror-ific theatrical glam swagger to fans at The Triffid and let's not forget Terror Parade was the perfect kindling to stoke one flaming hell of a night.

More photos from the show.

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