Farewell tours are always a weird kind of show as there’s a balance of being sad that a band is playing for the last time but also happy that you can celebrate it one last time. With the rain seeming to be constantly pouring outside it took care of the sad atmosphere as upon stepping foot into The Key Club it was clear that this was a celebration of everything the band had achieved over the last 10 Years.
Tonight’s Opening band were local lads Kill the Silence. Due to having some prior commitments I only
managed to catch the last two songs from the set. Being somewhere between Post
Hardcore and Alternative Rock, the band really had an interesting sound which
seemed to bounce between. Having played one of the dates on the Press to MECO tour as well earlier in
the week, I’m sure these guys will be popping up more on my radar. The fairly
large crowd that were in the room when I arrived was a very promising sign.
Whilst the crowd weren’t quite ready to start moshing yet, the energy was
definitely building and with a play through of newer track ‘All We Are’ you
could tell that people were definitely singing along. With only having two
tracks that I saw it’s hard to make up my mind on this band so I guess I’ll
just have to see them again before I make my decision. After tonight’s
introduction though things seem very positive.
Following on from Kill
the Silence were upcoming Alt Rockers Led
by Lanterns. Having not listened to the band before their set but hearing
glowing reviews I was excited to see what was going to come out of these guys.
I definitely wasn’t left disappointed as the band opened up with ‘Smoke Screen’
which instantly brought up the energy in the room. With a little bit of work
through the track by the end the crowd were very much involved and had woken up.
To introduce themselves to the majority of the crowd who hadn’t heard them
before they pulled out a cover for everyone to sing along to. In a twist that I
wasn’t expecting they took a poppier turn and covered ‘New Rules’ by Dua Lipa however they still managed to
build on the energy and the crowd started to dance and sing along much more
freely. Later track ‘Composure’ really showed the incredible vocals from front
man Shaun as he captivated the room
throughout the track. The entire band exuded energy on that stage with a
special mention needed for drummer who took every opportunity to stand up and
sing along with the crowd all whilst playing a solid set. With a small pit
breaking out in the crowd during final track ‘Alive’ Led by Lanterns had definitely done their job of warming up tonight
crowd. Definitely one a and that ill be listening to after the show and
possibly even the band to fill the space that Mallory Knox will be leaving in the scene after this tour is up.
As ‘The Final Countdown’ came through the speakers it was
time for Mallory Knox to take to the
stage. It was a nice touch for the band and really helped to set the tone for
the rest of the set that the band were here to have fun and celebrate their
work. In a time when it seems that a lot of main stay bands are calling it
quits it seems all the more important that after all the issues that Mallory Knox have overcome they are
very much doing this on their own terms. Tonight celebration kicked off with newer
track ‘Sugar’ and the crowd wasted no time in bouncing along despite the track
being one of the bands newer releases. With a set list spanning the last ten years including everything from
the first song written for the band ‘Oceans’ all the way through to tracks from
the newest album such as ‘White Lies’ there really was time for a bit of
everything this evening. It was great to see the crowd give the same reaction
to all tracks and really showed that the band had a core of very dedicated fans
here tonight to see them off. Pulling out all the big hits in their set, the
band played faultlessly with everything sounded impeccable. After having to take
a break and rest for a few shows last week there was a concern that Sam’s vocals may have suffered, however
this was not the case and as the band played through ‘Beggars’ it was clear
that the rest had helped.
As the set drew to closer to an end the band thanked Leeds for its impact on their career
and mentioning all the venues that they had played in the city over the years,
from The Cockpit when they were
first starting out all the way to the Main stage of Leeds Festival. With the thanks out of the way it was time to go
out in style and what better way to do that than to play through three of the
bands biggest track. Starting out with my personal favourite track ‘Wake Up’
this really capitalised on the energy in the room and everyone was screaming
the words along. Following on from this the band launched straight into the
anthemic ‘Lighthouse’. As the chorus rang out it was clear to feel the unity in
the room and the fact that no one was stood still (including the band) really
built everything to a fever pitch. After one final round of thanks and no need
to do an Encore the band finished tonight with ‘Better Off Without You’. I’m
sure this was 100% planned when they were writing the set list but I can
confirm that we are not better off without Mallory Knox and it really is a
shame to see them call it a day. Tonight however, was a fantastic send off and
from the crowd as they were leaving The
Key Club its one that a lot won’t be forgetting soon. As one final sentence
to finish the review all I have to say is Thanks for everything over the last
10 years and RIP Mallory Knox!
As The Key Club celebrated 5 years of being open it was time to head back for the second sold out show in as many days. I know it’s not fair to compare gigs to each other however after the incredible performance from Zebrahead this one has a lot to live up to. As the rain poured down across Leeds, tonight The Key Club had some of the finest Pop punk from the UK and Australia on show for what promised to be a fantastic evening of music.
Taking to the stage first surprisingly early this evening were Australian band The Dead Love. Bringing their own brand of summery Australian pop punk really made a huge contrast with weather outside. Luckily for the surprisingly large crowd the band put on a great performance to start the night off well. A special mention needs to be made to the sound engineer as the mix on stage was incredible. The bass tone coming through on ‘Sugarcoat’ sounded amazing. Being the only band on the bill tonight that I wasn’t familiar with it was great to see them play live as my introduction to them. With their distinctive sound, it was a breath of fresh air to hear some pop punk that strayed from the usual. The energy in the crowd during ‘Wake up’ was incredible to see and really set the precedent of what was to come for the rest of the evening. Another highlight for me was new track ‘Skeleton Key’ from their new album ‘The Extinction of Unicorns’ which will definitely be a record that I’ll be giving a spin after tonight’s performance.
Next up tonight were Woes. It may have still only been 7pm but that wasn’t stopping Leeds from bouncing. The band seem to be constantly touring at the moment after just finishing a tour with Trash Boat as supports but it was clearly working out for the band as the singalong the band got for new track ‘Fake Friends’ was deafening. By the time the band were three track in with ‘Suburbs’ you’d be hard pressed to find a single person in The Key Club that wasn’t moving. As the set went on, it was clear that the energy was here to stay with ‘Fancy’ being dedicated to Leeds and crowds ability to be involved. Finishing off their set they stepped back in time for final song ‘Don’t Change’. From the crowd’s reaction they definitely left an impression on them and for the few that didn’t know them it was certainly a quick learning curve. The mixed vocals from both singer DJ and bassist Sean worked really well and allowed the energy to fly off the stage. A solid set to get the crowd completely warmed up for the two co-headliners tonight.
Taking things back to the southern hemisphere and keeping everything running at 110% energy were the first of tonight’s two headliners – With Confidence. Starting out with ‘Moving Boxes’ meant carnage and crowd surfers from the very start with the Leeds crowd being completely warmed up from the two support sets earlier on. As the band worked through their set there seemed to be a theme of tracks that hadn’t been played in a while coming out. This was made clear we the crowd were treated to full band version of ‘Pâquerette’ before band launching into ‘Keys’ which really showed off the great vocals from guitarist Inigo. There was a brief respite from all the crowd surfers while the band played slower track ‘Tails’ however this was short lived with the band finishing up with arguably one of the best pop punk songs in ‘Voldemort’. As the band left the stage it was clear just how much they had impacted on their fans with everyone grinning and talking about their set. Safe to say that this was one of the wildest sets I’ve seen in The Key Club and definitely a performance to write home about.
As ROAM took to the stage to close out tonight’s show things seemed to be going fantastic for them! However just one song in an audience member had to be taken out of crowd as they had passed out due to the heat and lack of space. Stopping to allow the crowd to move the passed out person away meant a call from the band to ask for no crowd surfers to avoid people at the front being crushed underneath. A bold call for the band to make and one which showed they genuinely care about the crowd and their safety. Unfortunately when things picked back up again with the band smashing through ‘Flatline’ it was short lived as a technical issue with Alex’s guitar which put another halt to the performance. With a second issue sorted and the technical issue dealt with the band then had the challenge of bringing the waning energy levels back up to a fever pitch. This was easily achieved as the band pulled out the fantastic combination of ‘Dead Weight’ and ‘Hopeless Case’ which had the whole crowd bouncing and the energy sky rocketing back up (but safely this time). As the set progressed the band mixed in tracks front their newer album to a great reception with the crowd singing all the works back to ‘Hand Grenade’ despite it only being released recently. And after an incredible play through of ‘Head Rush’ to finish off their regular set, all that was left was to play the encore of Playing Fiction which had the entire crowd jumping off their feet to finish the night off on a real high. This probably wasn’t the set that ROAM were wanting to have in Leeds to finish off the UK portion of their tour but the band certainly rose to the occasion and dealt with everything thrown at them to deliver a brilliant set. The new album may have introduced some new sounds to ROAMs arsenal but their live show is still as captivating and full of energy as ever.
After having a month without any gigs, one was definitely overdue and what better way to jump back in than seeing Zebrahead, one of my favourite live bands to watch. After seeing that the show had been moved from the University venue to the smaller Key Club, I was very excited as it meant that tonight’s show would be all the more intimate. Something that is usually a rarity, especially for a band the size of Zebrahead.
First up tonight as the main supports were London’s The Bottom Line. As the sole support tonight they had the unenviable task of warming up the crowd before Zebrahead. Unknown to me beforehand, it was great to see them live and with the crowd clearly in a good mood tonight the energy was matched by the band on stage. There was great crowd interaction and movement from the very first track, ‘She Makes Me’. The Bottom Line have a similar vibe and sound to Sum 41 and delivered an impressive performance. After announcing Leeds’s reputation as one of the loudest crowds, The Key Club definitely lived up to it by shouting back the chorus during new track ‘Over and Over’. As the set went on the energy kept on growing and by the time penultimate track ‘I Still Hate You’ came on the crowd were definitely in the party spirit with a circle pit opening up and everyone else bouncing along. As the band finished the last song it was clear that despite being the only support band they certainly worked the crowd. Definitely one that I’ll be adding to my pop-punk playlist for the future after a phenomenal opening set. The Bottom Line
As the lights went down after a brief intermission it was finally time for tonight’s headliners to take to the stage. Bringing the party to really complete this Friday night were none other than Zebrahead. Despite seeing the band plenty of times before I’d never caught them on a headline show which mean so much more Zebrahead than I was used to. It was clear from the movement in the crowd during ‘Final Countdown’ before the band were even on stage that things were going to get sweaty real quick. Packing a huge 19 Songs into their hour and a half set list was dream for any Zebrahead fan with tracks coming from everywhere in their discography. When you throw in the bands usual tropes of the “Aliens” drinking and crowd surfing and the band doing shots as well as an on stage proposal (She said yes) and you have what can only be described as a perfect gig.
The crowd were clearly in the party spirit as they surged forward as the band started the show with new track ‘All my Friends are Nobodies’. And continuing the opening salvo with 2012’s ‘Call your Friends’ was a master stroke as everyone was bouncing by the time the band were two songs in. Tonight’s show brought with it a special event – Guitarist Dan Palmer’s Birthday. As Dan was born in Sheffield, the crowd responded perfectly with chants of Yorkshire filling the room while the band did shots before playing the brilliant ‘Sirens’. One notable moment for me was the playing of ‘Hell Yeah from The Phoenix album which was the first Zebrahead song that I ever listened to so it was great to see them play it live again. As the band closed out the main part of their set list it was a nice throwback to go with the one two of ‘Rescue Me’ and ‘Falling Apart’ to really bring the crowd up to a fever pitch to end the night in style. You’d be hard pressed to find a single person who was standing still.
As the band left the stage for a brief encore it made for a nice relief for the fans to get their breath back before the band launched into ‘Who brings a Knife to a Gunfight’ to take the energy back up immediately. Ending the night of perfectly Zebrahead finished off with arguably their most famous track the incredible ‘Anthem’. The whole crowd were bouncing in unison and it was clear just how much impact a band like Zebrahead have on their fans, there was a huge sense of community and fun all night. If you haven’t had chance to see Zebrahead live yet, I would recommend catching them at the earliest opportunity as they never fail to put on a fantastic live show.