Date: Thursday 14th November 2019
Venue: The Key Club, Leeds
Supports: Survive Said The Prophet
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Despite being a band that doesn’t get as many plays on my playlists as they deserve, the thought of seeing As It Is play live is always an easy decision for me to make. A band that never fail to put on a great show paying what is surprisingly their first headline show in Leeds was always going to be a crazy one but add in the fact that they’re playing to a sold out Key Club to celebrate Guitarist Ben Langford-Bliss’s time with the band before they part ways and you can imagine just how intense things would be.
Before this however it was time for the lone support tonight Survive Said the Prophet. Bringing their music across from Japan, they were a band that weren’t on my radar before the gig however a set of solid pop punk seemed to go down very well with the large crowd so I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of these guys appearing on my playlists next year. Despite only being able to catch the second half of the set it was clear that by the time I arrived they already had the crowd onside with torches filling the rooms and arms swaying throughout the floor. The last two songs were a definite highlight for me with ‘Network System’ which did a great job of showing off the heavier side to the band. Following this up with set closer ‘When I’ was a great mix as the anthemic Chorus had everyone swaying backwards and forwards and singing along with the chorus. A solid opener for the night and the crowd interaction was next level with them following every word coming from the stage. Unfortunately I can’t add much more with only seeing part of the set but Survive Said the Prophet will definitely be one I’m going to give a listen to on the way home to see what other incredible tracks they have.
After a brief turnaround As It Is took to the stage to start the carnage. Firing with all cylinders from the get go as the band played the first few beats of ‘The Great Depression’ the crowd were bouncing and singing along. Crowd surfers started flying towards the stage pretty much instantly to add to the insanity of tonight even more. As with previous sold out shows however the band had to enforce a no crowd-surfing rule only a few songs in due to the people at the front getting crushed under the sheer amount of people they to pass over in a short space of time. Things got so intense that the band had to have a break between tracks to hand out water to the crowd to make sure everyone was safe and ask people to take a step back to free up the crush at the barrier. Definitely the right decision from the band and really showed the care that they had for the crowd and that they wanted to keep everyone safe. With everyone hydrated and not being crushed the band then took a slight detour from the planning with a story about how Ben had originally planned to be the drummer and to celebrate this he switched positions for next track ‘The Fire, The Dark’ to take to the drum kit and show off his skills with the sticks to much success.
With the show feeling much more like a celebration now than just a regular gig As It Is then pulled out a wildcard which let the audience suggest what track they would play. After a bit of deliberation their Songs That Saved My Life cover of ‘Such Great Heights’ by The Postal Service was chosen and went down a storm with the very vocal crowd shouting the words back up on the stage. The band then went from one extreme to the other with the heavier reimagined version of ‘The Question, The Answer’ opening up a sizable pit in the crowd before vocalist Patty took to the stage alone with his guitar for an acoustic play through of ‘The Hurt, The Hope’. The mixture of these two tracks one after the other really showed just how far the band have come in the last few years and how much range they have across genres.
After finishing their set with the conveniently named ‘The End’ the band were down to their last two tracks as the encore began. Keeping with the rest of the setlist and playing the majority of the tracks from ‘The Great Depression’ it was no surprise to hear ‘The Wounded World’ and ‘The Stigma (Boys Don’t Cry)’. The combination of both the singles was incredible and the crowd bounced along throughout which really finished things on a high for an incredible night. As Ben crowd surfed into the crowd to finish the night it really was clear that tonight was a celebration of his time with the band. Having seen As It Is a bunch over the years they always seem to improve their live show and they don’t show any signs of stopping soon. Despite the setlist missing some older hits they very much kept the energy up throughout and delivered a perfect show to see Ben off with! I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say thanks for everything Ben and good luck with whatever you do in the future!