Lets not beat around the bush here; there's no easy way to say goodbye...and we're not just talking about friends or loved ones, when our favourite bands decide to call it a day and hang up their instruments, it can leave gaping holes in the hearts of legions of fans and sadly, this is a predicament we face right here and now. Aiden...who formed in Seattle back in 2003, have made a name for themselves over the past decade with a solid work ethic that rightfully won them plaudits from punks to goths and all rockers in between, and in 2005, they released an album that would set the benchmark for an entire scene; "Nightmare Anatomy". Tonight, we get to celebrate that album in it's entirety...saying their farewell to the UK, Aiden pull up in Bristol to play The Tunnels; a dark and intimate little venue underneath Temple Meads...a poignant and almost retrospective setting if ever there was one, and they've brought friends too...lets see them off in style.
Opening up tonight are an unbilled support band by the name of DEPARTED  and really what a pleasant surprise they are! Hailing from the south-west of England, the 3-piece stick out like a sore thumb for actually looking relatively normal in comparison to tonight's line-up (without sounding derogatory) and treat the early punters to a fine set of classic inspired rock 'n' roll. Having members who have collectively shared stages with the likes of Slash, Status Quo and KISS, it's easy to see where they get their passion for the old-school approach. With tracks such as "Pretty Little Thing" and "Steal Your Crown", they play with a confidence reserved for the most established of veterans and punch well above their weight for an opening act. The solo's are strong, the vocals are clear and this is some damn fine AOR. Its just a shame the crowd are more of a certain scene and quite frankly, the lads in Departed simply aren't wearing enough eyeliner to catch anyone's full attention tonight. Currently in the studio preparing to release their debut, these are certainly ones to watch.
Up next are the first of tonight's billed support bands; NEVER FOUND  and fresh off the back of releasing their debut EP "Sorrow & Cyanide", the young lads are hoping to continue the momentum they've gained and establish themselves among an already fitting crowd of young alt. rockers. With a little bit of punk in them, and a slight touch of early Bullet For My Valentine in their riff work, their approach is a touch heavier and slightly more brash than the other bands on this bill but it's not out of place. Vocalist Daniel Barnes is a confident front-man with an appropriate amount of swagger to get the crowd motivated without sounding overly cocky, and with tracks like "Just Like Hollywood" and "King Of Nothing" working well, for a young band born into a sub-genre they impress, but, you can see this is a band in their formative years and you can only speculate at which creative direction these Nu-Grave newbies will take as they make a name for themselves in coming years.
Following on from that are not only the main support, but also the guys to thank for this whole tour; ASHESTOANGELS . The Bristolian rockers are greeted like heroes by their home crowd and immediately take things up a notch or two, much to the delight of the black make-up clad masses crowding the front of the stage. Dubbed the godfathers of Nu-Grave, Adam Crilly and co have had a hell of a run this year with numerous features in Kerrang! and have found themselves exploding as one of the UK's hottest up and coming bands. Playing a slew of tracks off of breakthrough album "Horror Cult" such as "The Wake" and "Bury Us In Black", some of which Crilly performs standing on the hands of the front row, they show everyone exactly what the fuss is about and prove why they are riding such a massive wave of hype right now on the UK scene. With new material on the way, things can only get bigger and better as these angels spread their wings.
Finally then, as the crowd swells and anticipation has reached fever pitch, AIDEN , in all their throw-back emo splendour emerge from the darkness of The Tunnels, ready to lay waste to Bristol one final time...and it doesn't take them long to get started. With a barrage of tracks they warm the crowd up with choice cuts off of albums such as "Conviction" and "Knives", "Scavengers Of The Damned" particularly getting the crowd going, before front-man WiL Francis takes a moment to thank not only tonight's crowd, but every fan that has ever supported Aiden over the years...there is sincere gratitude in his voice, but there is also pride, and as tears are wiped away, they burst into "Nightmare Anatomy"; playing the album tonight from start to finish in celebration of Aiden's career. "Knife Blood Nightmare", "The Last Sunrise", "Die Romantic", "Goodbye, We're Falling Fast"...its hit after hit and the atmosphere is incredible. Reminding everyone here tonight just how pivotal Aiden have been not only for the evolution of alternative music, but for the lives of many, many fans, it's a genuine shame that tonight we have to say goodbye but it's truly an honour to get to share this experience. Bands like Ashes and Never Found may be carrying the torch...and we have great faith in them to continue Aiden's legacy, but for them, it really is the last sunrise....see you in hell guys.