Pierce The Veil at Alexandra Palace, 13/04/24

Seven years late, Pierce The Veil bridge the generation gap at a celebrational Ally Pally showcase

Usually, it takes a few years for bands to jump from 2,000 to 10,000 capacity rooms. Pierce The Veil have done it in less than 18 months. It’s a stellar feat in itself, but it’s an almost uncanny one for a band over a decade-and-a-half deep into their career, whose members are edging into their forties and who left a seven-year trench between their most recent album and the one before it. They’ve been bolstered not only by that album, but by the rejuvenating magic of the TikTok algorithm, meaning swathes of teenage emos now stand squished between fans who have been there years longer. 

This isn’t a show that explodes out of the gates, but simmers and fizzes slowly to start with. While the bombastic newbie ‘Death Of An Executioner’ makes total sense as an opener, there’s a risk that, paired with the San Diego quartet’s comparatively modest stage dressing, it might all be a little too timid. Once they tear through a scorching rendition of ‘Caraphernelia’, however (which could have made an audacious opening song), there’s no doubt left that they belong here, especially when usually quiet frontman Vic Fuentes begins commanding cheers from the crowd like a ringmaster. Throw in a deliciously gritty airing of ‘Pass The Nirvana’ and a surprising yet inspired cover of Radiohead’s ‘Karma Police’ – which gains a teethier, angstier tone when PTV get their hands on it – and it seems they have what they need to succeed in such a huge room. 

At times, this show is beautiful. Vic eloquently acknowledges how the heart-crushing ‘Hold On Till May’ “doesn’t belong to our band anymore, it belongs to you guys” in reference to how fans have hung onto its title to refer to staying clean, or staying alive. Later in that song, a fan is brought up and gifted a guitar – “We’re really lucky to be a part of your life through our music” – which is heartening despite the moment lacking a bit of brevity.  ‘Bulletproof Love’, meanwhile, is transformed into a gorgeous arena-made acoustic ballad which soars as the band tries on arena band status for size. Not every pick for the setlist is as strong as this – big hitter ‘Bulls In The Bronx’ is oddly absent and they could have chosen stronger cuts from last year’s The Jaws Of Life – but nonetheless, their catalogue is even more thrilling when it has the chance to echo throughout such a huge, majestic hall. It’s a hugely solid step-up, one very much worth making the testing climb up the hill Ally Pally sits on. 

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Photo credit: Joseph Okpako/WireImage