First support Crooks open the show with a loud, ready-for-anything attitude. They make a valiant attempt to set the night alight, which isn’t completely wasted. They have the rapidly filling room’s attention, and towards the end of the set the majority of the room were involved. They’re no match for Nantwich’s Blitz Kids though, who absolutely storm the crowd. They clearly had more experience playing gigs than the previous band, although as frontman Joe James exclaims “the last time we came here we played the Basement to, like, two people”. Throughout the set there’s an overpowering sense of gratitude – this is a band who don’t need to say how much they appreciate touring with Mallory Knox (although they do say it, a lot), it simply shines through. The crowd don’t to be told twice to join in, and the set is phenomenally tight. To be honest, I was pretty much in awe of their performance to say how little I’d heard of them – if they get a lot of attention due to this tour, I’ll be among the first to say it’ll be justly deserved.
If Blitz Kids were tight, I don’t know how to fairly describe the headliners. After the mind blowing success of their debut album, Signals, the Cambridge quintet have continued to reinstate their deserved place in the post hardcore music scene. Opening with hugely successful single, Hello, there’s no holding back the crowd. Mikey (Chapman, vocals) obviously knows how to work the atmosphere, and again, it’s incredibly clear that the band are grateful for every moment they have on stage. Several times he mentions that this is the biggest gig they’ve headlined, so their awe is understandable. From the moment the huge lights forming an M and K light up to the closing track, the band are constantly on their game, despite Mikey’s voice being slightly off form. At one point he even says “this lem-sip isn’t doing that much good!” and he’s obviously thankful that the crowd help out thoroughly throughout.
Amongst the plethora of modern day “music” that depends on auto tune and/or lip syncing to produce a reasonable sound, it’s refreshing to know that there are still musicians out there who possess genuine talent. Each track, from fast-paced Deathrattle to mellow 1949, is mastered with exact precision and overwhelming enthusiasm. The crowd match the mood perfectly, and every corner of the room is brought to life by the energy the band put out. Clapping, jumping, swaying – whatever suits the mood.
When I first heard Mallory Knox’s debut album, Signals, my first thought was that a lot of the songs sounded rather… “samey” for lack of a better word. It’s an incredibly good thing that the band have found their sound and enjoy their music, but it felt a little… repetitive. When they debuted their newest track, Ghost in the Mirror, at the show, it felt like there was very little change to their previous work. However, it would be wrong to judge an album on one song, and the crowd loved it which is definitely the most important factor. It’s no surprise then, that when the band leave the stage they are persuaded back on for an encore with (what felt like) every person in the room chanting “we want more!” After Creepers, the band finish with one of their biggest singles, Lighthouse. Hearing a few thousand people chant “find us all / wish you could / touch your soul / I light it up / see the path / it’s time to go” in unison had to be the highlight of the night.