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Live Review: Mallory Knox + Blitz Kids + Crooks – The Fleece (22.11.13)

Live Review: Mallory Knox + Blitz Kids + Crooks – The Fleece (22.11.13)

The feeling you get when you walk into a venue is second to none. The excitement in the air is always tangible, and this has never been more the case than before a Mallory Knox concert. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing them once before at Boardmasters back in August so I knew that they put on intense shows, but I was keen to see what they would be like headlining, especially in a more intimate venue such as The Fleece in Bristol, even more so considering it was one of the tour’s sold out shows. They were not a disappointment.

Photography: Josie-Leigh Webb

Photography: Josie-Leigh Webb

Crooks were first to the stage, and as you can see from the photo, they drew quite a crowd, filling almost every inch of space from the moment the doors opened. Admittedly, I hadn’t heard of Crooks before so I was excited to see what they were capable of.

They describe themselves as a mixture of emo, hardcore and alternative rock, which on paper, doesn’t sound like the most appetising fusion of styles whichever way you slice it. In my experience, emo and hardcore together is a recipe for a band that can’t make up their mind as to whether they’re angry at themselves, or everyone else.

Unsurprisingly ‘off-paper’ it wasn’t really floating my boat. To their credit, of all the support acts I’ve ever seen, the crowd were very accepting of them and a minor head bob could be seen gently appearing from time to time and there was a feeling that members of the audience were enjoying them playing and not just awkwardly waiting for the main event.

Photography: Josie-Leigh Webb

I just found that vocalist Josh Roger’s constant asking if we could hear him and whether or not we were having a good time, really didn’t show much confidence for a band charged with warming everyone up. They are definitely a band that (fortunately) perform better live than on their recordings though.

On the 23rd October, Crooks released a single by the name of Above Me and before that they released a four-track in July 2012 entitled Nevermore, which you can listen to on their bandcamp and that will give you a pretty good idea of their set-list. Personally, I find the contrast of singing and screaming, intense metal chords and melodic lead guitar just a little too jarring to be able to get into, but perhaps you’ll feel differently. If you find Crooks to your fancy, you can give them a like on their Facebook page.

Next to the stage were Nantwich/Crewe based band Blitz Kids, clearly a band well on their way to becoming seasoned veterans, and perhaps they were far too aware of it. Blitz Kids were originally founded in 2008 according to their Facebook page, and have since released on three singles (Hold Fast in 2011, and On My Own and Never Die this year), as well as two EPs and LPs.

Photography: Josie-Leigh Webb

Photography: Josie-Leigh Webb

Exciting news for fans of Blitz Kids is that they are due to release their latest album The Good Youth on January 20th through Red Bull Records, and the deluxe edition featuring a DVD and remixes from Hadouken! This made for an energetic band, pumped up about their growing success and excitement regarding an upcoming release. This made them a far more entertaining and engaging support act.

Vocalist Joe James took to the stage in The Fleece, presenting himself as very self-assured and very comfortable with being in front of a crowd, and throughout the show seemed to lose himself in reverie. One of the most notable songs of the performance was On My Own which sounds very similar to Fall Out Boy, if I had to make a comparison. It was catchy and melodic and although I wouldn’t describe it as a “mosh-pit” song, it definitely had the makings of a song that you’d find stuck in your head on a Wednesday afternoon.

Conclusively, it really seemed that neither band were the appropriate choice to support Mallory Knox and would have fared better performing alone, or with a band that were either gentler or draw more influence from pop-punk.

Take a listen to one of Blitz Kids’ recent singles and see what you make of them. If you would consider yourself a fan, you can give them a like on their Facebook page.

When it came to Mallory Knox’s turn to take to the stage, there wasn’t a person left in The Fleece standing silent, they were met with a symphony of cheers and applause as Mikey Chapman and the boys set themselves up.

For all of the fans of Mallory’s debut album Signals, this was the perfect concert to have gone to, featuring more than half of the album’s songs in their set. Luckily for myself, and other fans of the band who heard about them when they released their first EP Pilot in 2011 they also reached into the back catalogue to cover all bases.

Photography: Josie-Leigh Webb

Photography: Josie-Leigh Webb

Remaining humble at all times, despite their growing fan-base and exposure, Mallory Knox gave us some of their most successful songs such as Beggars, the first track from their debut album. The crowd were extremely supportive and seemed to know every single word to every song they played.

Mallory managed to galvanise the venue expertly, ensuring that there was a mosh-pit, front and centre, as large as they could manage during Wake Up, one of the heavier songs from Signals.

I’ve been listening to metal since I was very young, with my father introducing me to bands from Metallica to Sepultura right through to Pantera, so I was very familiar with what a real mosh-pit looked like, and I’ve experienced a few of them myself when I’ve seen bands such as Machine Head play, and naturally, as Mallory Knox aren’t as intense as some metal bands, I was pleasantly surprised to see the audience so willing to really lose themselves in the heat of the music and move on to creating a circle pits through Wolves and every other opportunity.

The band showed their sensitive side about a third of the way into the show, and played the fifth track from Signals by the name of 1949. Mikey addressed the crowd, calling out for all lovers and best-friends to take hold of each other, embrace and sway through the song. Safe to say, the room was filled with emotional people gently singing the lyrics to one another as well as back to the band.

It didn’t take long for Mallory to get back into the swing of things however, playing us Misdemeanour before moving on to Oceans, one of the songs from Pilot that really helped them breakthrough. The crowd was at their most excited, singing every word as if they had written the song themselves.

Then…

Photography: Josie-Leigh Webb

Photography: Josie-Leigh Webb

Mallory’s luck ran out, and the electrics in the venue failed. The screens turned blue, and the lights above the stage blacked out. All that could be seen on the stage was Joe Savins, Sam Douglas, and James Gillett frantically strumming and picking at their guitars hoping that the amps would start amplifying. Sadly, this was not the case. It took a good fifteen minutes before the guys at the desk were able to ‘resuscitate’ the situation. No pun intended. Okay, maybe a little bit intended.

After the first five minutes the crowd became curious, wondering whether or not it was a scripted fault, and that Mallory were about to continue to play Oceans acoustically but these thoughts soon evaporated. In light spirits and high patience, the venue took to singing The Lion Sleeps Tonight complete with a capella harmonies whilst they waited for the electrics to work. Mikey were appreciative of the crowd’s patience and thanked them sincerely. Once they managed to recover power and started Oceans from the top.

It wasn’t long before the faults were forgotten, by which time they had played Hello, and Maps a song from the deluxe edition of Signals. By the time quarter to eleven came, the crowd were vaguely aware that time was almost up, although it really didn’t feel as though Mallory had been on stage for that long, which is always the sign of a good show. You could almost hear the cogs turning in the audience, trying to figure which song would be the last song of the night, when really, there was only one clear choice, Lighthouse.

Photography: Josie-Leigh Webb

Photography: Josie-Leigh Webb

Photography: Josie-Leigh Webb

Photography: Josie-Leigh Webb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personally, I think I may always have a thing for Lighthouse, even if it’s for no reason other than sections of the video feature Smeaton’s Tower, filmed in my hometown of Plymouth.

All jokes aside, it really was the best way to finish the show, they chose a song that nigh on everybody knew the words to, and presented a stellar opportunity for one last chance for everyone to go a little crazy. By this point, being a personal fan took over and I found myself three-deep from the stage, so I really can’t tell you anything about the atmosphere of the place, but, from where I was stood, it was pretty good.

All in all, Mallory Knox are one of those ever-growing bands, destined for great things. If ever there was a time to go and see them, it’s now. Book a day off work, hassle someone with a car to take you to the closest city and go and see them play.

If you would like to hear more about Mallory Knox, you can visit their:

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19. Hemingway, Kerouac and Mother Nature. If you're an artist or a manager that would like to set up an interview, or request a review, you can reach me at: aaronsimpson@holdupnow.com

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