Review – Feeder

Date: Friday 8th November 2019

Venue: Leeds Becketts Student Union, Leeds

Supports: Novacub

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Following on from day two’s incredible intimate gig with Being as an Ocean, Day 3 of the four gigs four days brought in the big guns with a chance to catch Feeder playing to a sold out crowd in Leeds Becketts Student Union. Unfortunately due to more transport issues which seem to be becoming a regular theme these days we arrived just after tonight’s support Novacub had finished playing so only managed to catch headliners Feeder. However given the stream of people collecting stickers and meeting the band at the merch table they must have put on a decent show and I’ll certainly be keeping my eye out for an opportunity to catch them again next time they are around.

With over 20 years of material available at their fingertips there was an air of anticipation around which tracks the band were going to include in the setlist alongside the cuts from their newly released album ‘Tallulah’. As the band opened with Youth it made for a fun start. Being the first track on the album it was clear that people were singing along and it was great to experience the song live. Following this up with older hits such as ‘Lost and Found’ and the iconic ‘Feeling a Moment’ made for a very strong start to the night. With huge LED screens behind the band showing fantastic visuals alongside the tracks it was clear that over the many years Feeder have developed their live performance into a very slick process. With new album just released you would expect there to be some material in the set from it but in Feeder’s case tonight, nearly half of their 22 song setlist came from the new album. With the new tracks spread throughout the set it meant that the band struggled to keep the energy from older tracks going as the slower nature of the new tracks kept slowing the show. The newer tracks aren’t all slow and steady though as the bands play through of ‘Kyoto’ seemed to pick up the crowd with its heavier stylings and similar to sounds to their earlier tracks. Other highlights of the slightly drawn out middle section included the incredible sounding ‘Insomnia’ which coupled with the huge screen flashing the words through the chorus had the crowd all dancing and singing along; and a rare play of ‘Comfort in Sound’ which was a real treat for the crowd. As with the start, the band didn’t hold anything back towards the end of their set with a huge closing one two of ‘Seven Days In The Sun’ followed by the very well known ‘Buck Rodgers’ as the perfect set closers they really woke the crowd back up from their lull during the middle section of the gig and finished off the main set in fantastic style with even a sizable pit opening amongst the jumping bodies during ‘Buck Rodgers’.

As the band left the stage for a brief pause before their encore, the crowd certainly knew what was coming as after the standard chants for one more song they burst in to singing the opening guitar of ‘Just a Day’. As the band took back to the stage they had to put a pause on the singing as they had new track ‘Blue Sky Blue’ to play through first. Whilst the track itself is anthemic and builds nicely, putting it between ‘Buck Rodgers’ and ‘Just a Day’ really took the wind out of its sails as everyone just watched along waiting for the last track to come on. When it did however ‘Just a Day’ got a fantastic response from the crowd and proved just why the track is still considered a classic after all these years. With the last track done the band thanked the crowd for attending and mentioned that tonight was all about looking forward at what the future of the band holds rather living in the past. While the sentiment is one that we should all be happy with unfortunately tonight fell slightly flat with the crowd and there was just too much newer material to balance out the classics. With the precise performance that Feeder were putting in on stage, when the crowd were fully involved the set made for a fantastic watch however struggling to keep that energy made the middle of the set drag slightly. With a little more balance between their new tracks and the older classics tonight could have been a huge triumph for the band however it felt more like a “going through the motions with their new album” kind of show. Definitely not a bad show in any way and I’d be very open to seeing the band again in the future.

Feeder

Review – Being As An Ocean

Date: Thursday 7th November 2019

Venue: The Key Club, Leeds

Supports: Afterlife, Novelists FR

With day one involving seeing a rising band in Fever 333 gathering huge momentum on their first UK headliner, the second of my four gigs in four days spectacle tonight was my chance to catch the already well-established Being as an Ocean playing the intimate Key Club. Having seen these guys a couple of times before I knew to expect an intense show but before we could get to that there were a couple of support bands along for the show that I hadn’t come across before to check out.

After what can only be describes as a nightmare of a journey in thanks to the storms battering Yorkshire, I finally made it into Leeds just in time to catch Afterlife taking to the stage. Bringing a metalcore/nu-metal style sitting somewhere between Limp Bizkit and I Prevail, it was interesting to hear as you don’t tend to find too many newer bands playing with that kind of sound. Alongside the incredible music coming from the stage it was clear that the band had developed a slick performance over the last year with their crowd management waking the Thursday night crowd up nicely and leaving them hanging on vocalist Tyler Levenson’s every word. Things took an even wilder tone as the band incited the first pit of the night during ‘Throat’ which seemed to come as a nice surprise to the band on stage. Switching things up with slower track ‘Broken Home’ which was dedicated to ending domestic abuse got the emotion and realism across very well and really impacted the crowd who swayed along with torches lit. Finishing off tonight with ‘Giving Back the Pain’ which had the crowd bouncing along. The track showed off Afterlife at their best with huge drums and amazing riffs combined with the great mix of vocal types. To say it was still only early the band had created a great amount of energy and warmed up the crowd nicely for the remaining two bands. Afterlife are a band that seem to have found their style and perform it very well, hopefully this tour will have helped to bring them new fans as they certainly deserve it.

Afterlife

Next up taking to the stage were tonight’s main supports Novelists FR from Paris. The band had much more of a pure metalcore sound and sounded really tight throughout the set. After coming out swinging with guitar solos and riffs galore that kicked things into high gear from the start, it was clear that this was going to be a fantastic set. Impressive vocalists seemed to be a running theme tonight with Matteo Gelsomino switching between cleans and screams throughout the tracks in a very slick manner and keeping the impressive theme across all band members. ‘The Light, The Fire’ got a great reaction and as before torches from phones filled the room with everyone getting involved. The band worked effortlessly to take the energy up a great with the front half of the crowd moving throughout the entire show while everyone else watched on in appreciation. Following their more well-known tracks the band surprised those in attendance and played a track off their unreleased album called ‘Something Else’. Despite not being yet released the track went down a treat with the crowd. I can’t wait to hear it again as part of the record when it releases next January. Continuing their impressive set the band, ‘Monochrome’ dug down on the emotional slower side of the band with Matteo taking to the crowd to really add to the intimate feel and emotion of song. After working the crowd perfectly Novelists FR finished up with top track ‘The Bitter End’. Everyone in the room was bouncing and it showed that the crowd were definitely warmed up for tonight’s headliners Being as an Ocean. A solid set from a band that has somehow eluded me over the years and definitely one that I’ll be keeping eye out for again in the future.

Novelists

With the crowd’s excitement at a fever pitch, Being as an Ocean’s surprisingly long sound check felt like it went on forever. But after a 10 minutes wait things finally kicked off with an opening interlude before the band went all guns blazing, starting off with the huge ‘Play Pretend’. As is usual at a BAAO show, vocalist Joel Quartuccio entered the crowd towards the end of the track and spent pretty much the rest of the set out there only taking short breaks back on the stage a few times during the set. The band had a nice mix across the set from their entire catalogue and it was great to hear the newer tracks get just a much of a reception as the classics. ‘Know My Name’ went down a storm and had the crowd with their arms in the air shouting along all while the pit kept things moving around Joel. New track ‘Skin’ got a fantastic reaction with the crowd slowing down to appreciate the song and the track showed the ability the band still had to write the heart wrenching tracks as well as their fuller and heavier tracks like ‘B.O.Y.’ which came as the penultimate track this evening. ‘L’exquisite Doleur’ made for a huge sing along from the crowd and as the band finished up in a brilliant way with almighty ‘This Loneliness Won’t Be the Death of Me’ they announced that rather than messing around and leaving the stage, they would just launch straight into the encore tracks.

Due to the time constraints of a weeknight gig and the extended sound check at the start, unfortunately Being as an Ocean only got one of the two planned tracks played having to forego new track A.N.I.M.O. in place of arguably their biggest song and the one that drew me into the band originally ‘The Hardest Part Is Forgetting Those You Swore You Would Never Forget’. Ending with the rousing track left the real feeling of emotion that you expect from a BAAO set and finished the night off very well – this may have been a blessing in disguise as it would be hard to follow it up with anything else. After tonight’s show it’s clear why the band have the reputation for live shows that they do with everything being heavy and intense throughout whether that’s lyrically or musically and the crowd bouncing through the whole show. Being as an Ocean are always a must see in my books and this set really cemented just why with the band not putting a foot wrong throughout. A special mention must be given before I finish this to guitarist and clean vocalist Michael McGough who put in an incredible performance throughout the night and really brought everything together perfectly.

Being As An Ocean

Review – Conjurer

Date: Sunday 27th October 2019

Venue: The Key Club, Leeds

Supports: DAO, Armed For Apocalypse, Earth Moves

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Starting things off at one hundred percent this evening were local supports DAO.  Despite it being early in the night the band brought huge sound and you could feel the energy coming off the stage. As the set went on the vocalist slowly got further and further into the crowd leaving the stage to the rest of the band to really show off their skills and allowing them to move around creating even more energy. Despite working his way to the sound desk at one point the vocals kept coming thick and fast to keep up with the band and really worked well to create an intimate feel from the outset. New track ‘Everything’ brought heavy riffs while ‘Delusional Man’ really layered the crushing vocals over intricate guitar lines and the pounding drums sounding incredible. And after a set that seemed much shorter than it should have been, closer ‘New Normal’ ended it with a bang. It’s definitely one that will be going straight on my playlist as it was neck-snappingly brutal and that’s putting it mildly. Whilst the crowd weren’t as involved as they could have been it definitely didn’t take anything away from the performance that DAO delivered. As opening sets go at The Key Club this may have been one of the best I’ve seen in a long time up there with the likes of Cutting Teeth and God Complex!

DAO

Next up tonight were American metalers Armed for Apocalypse, Starting off with slower tracks the band ease the crowd into the chaos that was to come later in the set.  Despite being slower tracks to start than DOA beforehand they were certainly crushing and the entire crowd were banging their head by then end of their opening salvo. Despite the mix sometimes cutting the vocals down a little it didn’t affect the sound too much as the rest of the band were spot on. ‘Open Wound’ incited chaos in the crowd with tonight’s first pit opening up and the fast heavy track building brilliantly. Huge sound from all three members, drummer on point throughout the set not putting a foot wrong which was incredible to see. The bands newer tracks were a sight to behold and shows that these guys are still bringing out incredible tracks 10 years on from the release of their album ‘Defeat’. As the band left the stage it was clear that the crowd were left on a huge high with everyone pumping their fists and banging their heads. From the outset it may have been a tall order to follow DAO but Armed For Apocalypse took it in their stride and put on a pretty stellar set to keep tonight’s energy up.

Armed For Apocalypse

The last of tonight’s brilliant supports were Earth Moves and it was no surprise that they put on an incredible set. Mixing in the heavy sounds from tonight’s previous bands with the more emotional slow breaks and spoken word sections similar to bands like Casey. ‘Breathing Solemnity into the Deep Night’ sounded amazing as it rang out across the room with the crowd looking on in awe. The band’s new album ‘Human Intricacy’ due out in November and from the sounds of their single ‘Catatonic’ it’s going to be a stunner. A brief appearance from Conjurer’s Dan to provide additional vocals sounded brilliant and got a great reaction out of the crowd with everyone going wild. Closer ‘Pia Maita’ really showed the band at its best, coming in two parts with the heavy track blasting everyone’s face off before ending with an emotional slow section which left everyone in awe. As the song closed to an end, the microphone was cat aside and the band moved to just shouting the lyrics across the crowd to really hit the emotion of the track home. With the single guitar track and cymbals winding down definitely left an impression on the stunned crowd. Even though this was the first time I’d seen or even heard of Earth Moves, their ability and performance certainly left a mark on me and they’re definitely one of my regular listens already.

Earth Moves

To describe tonight’s headliners as a force of nature would be underselling them and having seen them playing at Download (review here) this was definitely an unmissable show. As Conjurer burst onto the stage with ‘Thankless’ it was clear that this was going to be a non-stop night of extreme metal to really show why they had the crowing title as one of the most exciting bands in metal. Riffs were flying out across the room over a crowd that refused to stand still and the dual vocals from both Dan and Brady worked brilliantly. With a light show that left the band in the shadows for the majority of their set it really built on their performance as a whole and built an intimate show. Despite the evening being one of very few that didn’t sell out on the whole tour it must have been very close to capacity with the surge of the crowd during the massive ‘Choke’ engulfing the entire venue and a pit that didn’t stop for the entire duration of the track. As their set drew to an end it was clear that the band had saved their top two tracks for the end. With both ‘Retch’ and ‘Hadal’ finishing off tonight’s set it was clear that the band were going out all guns blazing. The energy coming from the crowd was unreal and even wilder as it was matched by the band and as the band finished their setlist it gave everyone a short break to catch their breaths before the band took to a short encore.

Usually playing a cover to end the night would be a little weird but when that cover is ‘Blood and Thunder’ by Mastadon and it’s executed to perfection there aren’t any issues. It was a great way to end the night and really showed the influences that this band had. As they left the stage for one final time the crowd were left with ringing ears and sore necks from the onslaught that they had just witnessed. Conjurer yet again proved that they are at the top of their game and at this point they are the band that everyone needs to hear about. Hopefully this run of sold out shows will propel them up into the greatness that they so deserve. If you take nothing else away from this review go listen to Conjurer immediately and bask in their greatness as it’s not very often a band this impressive come around.

Conjurer

Review – Real Friends

Date: Tuesday 22nd October 2019

Venue: Stylus, Leeds University Union

Supports: Belmont, Grayscale

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First on tonight were Belmont bringing their raw and heavy version of pop punk to tonight’s crowd Starting out with big hitter ‘Hollowed Out’ should have been a solid start, unfortunately the band were hampered by the mic being too low in mix which seemed to continue until near the end. Following this it was good to hear new track ‘By My Side’ and despite issues sounded fantastic bringing a similar vibe to later Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! tracks. Switching from old to new the band then jumped in with ‘731’ which mixed really well and saw the band throwing themselves around on stage. Despite there being lots of energy on stage, the growing crowd weren’t quite in the mood yet to cause the carnage that the band wanted – one of the only problems with an early midweek gig. As Belmont ended with ‘Overstepping’ they finally got the movement that they wanted out of the crowd with a small pit opening for the second half of the song. All in all a decent turnout in the end for a band that aren’t too well known across this side of the pond and from the sounds of it, vocalist Taz Johnson seemed happy with just having new people in the room to play to. It was a real shame that they had mic issues as this could have been a stormed of a set if all went to plan, but even still Belmont fought through and delivered a solid set to stir the crowd and prepare them for the two following acts to come.

Belmont

Next up tonight bringing chaos from the outset were Grayscale. Despite being very much on the opposite end of the pop punk spectrum from Belmont, a pit had opened up right from the start of the first track. The band had a very poppy feel to the tracks especially newer ones from their recently released album ‘Nella Vita’. The album seems to have been received really well as they have a huge following in the crowd singing along to every word with ‘Baby Blue’ being a personal highlight for me. Even given the party going off in the crowd, the band managed to match the energy on the stage and putting tons of enjoyment into the performance.  Taking a quick pause in their set as Ben Ray from Slam Dunk stepped on to the stage, the band announced that they’d be back in Leeds next year for Slam Dunk Festival 2020 to huge applause. Following this announcement the crowd kicked it up another gear with circle pits opening up for ‘Fever Dream’ and continued throughout. As the set neared the end you could see the clear happiness on the bands faces as crowd shouted the words back at him. Despite the earlier issues, the mix was perfect for Grayscale and the whole band sounded tight on stage. Delivering a solid support set there wasn’t a single person that wasn’t warmed up for tonight’s headliner as the band left the stage. I’ll definitely be adding ‘Nella Vita’ to my ever growing list of albums to listen to.

Grayscale

As Real Friends took to the stage it was clear that tonight was going to be a fun one. Having seen the band play in Stylus a few years back with Puppy I was ready for a fantastic show and Real Friends certainly didn’t disappoint. Out of the gates there were crowd surfers flying across the barriers and everyone still stood on the ground were moving. Starting out with a bang the band had played through both ‘Summer’ and ‘Mess’ within their first four tracks which set the scene for the incredible set still in waiting. The band sounded amazing and everything seemed to just click into place for them to play a fantastic set. Breaking out older track ‘Maybe This Place Is The Same…’ was a huge highlight for me as that was the album that first got me listening to the band and was played through perfectly to really capture the feeling of the track. With the energy as full whack it was then time for Real Friends to show off their other side as they slowed things down for an acoustic version on ‘Sixteen’. As the phone lights were held high in the sky you could really feel the emotion behind the lyrics and with the whole crowd shouting them back it really made for a very communal feeling that everyone was in this together. After a couple of heartfelt acoustic tracks Real Friends switched it back up in complete contrast to end the set on a high launching into penultimate track ‘Me First’. As the song went on the crowd kept getting rowdier even forming a wall of death before the final chorus to really make the most of the rooms’ energy. With the majority of tracks being from new album composure it only felt right for the band to end with opening track ‘From The Outside’ which sounded incredible live and definitely ended the set in fashion.

As the band finished up the final chorus it was obvious that everyone was left in awe of what they had witnessed tonight. A flawless pop punk set from a band that are no strangers to putting on a great show. For one final touch before finishing vocalist Dan Lambton left the crowd with the parting words of ‘If you get the chance to be kind then take it with both hands’ which is a fantastic message to be sending and really relevant to a band that have helped a lot of people with the music they’ve put out. There is a reason that they are one of the most loved bands in the scene and moments like that really prove why. Following the brilliant release that was ‘Composure’, Real Friends are only going to climb higher and higher and it is very much deserved.

Real Friends

Review – Mallory Knox (Farewell Show)

Date: Sunday 6th October 2019

Venue: The Key Club, Leeds

Supports: Kill the Silence, Led By Lanterns

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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.

Led By Lanterns

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!

Mallory Knox

Review – Scouting For Girls”The Trouble With Boys” Album Release Show

With Crash Records killing it on the album release shows this year, next came the turn of Scouting for Girls. With their December show at the O2 Academy sold out, the opportunity to see them play acoustically in the 300 capacity Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen was incredible. As the Greg and Roy took to the stage armed with two guitars and a keyboard it was clear that this was going to be an evening to remember. Starting off with the title track from their new album ‘The Trouble with Boys’ the crowd were immediately singing the words back which really gave a fantastic feel to the event from the outset. As good as the song and reaction were to start tonight, it was dwarfed in comparison to the screams that erupted during the opening of ‘This Ain’t a Love Song’. Scouting for Girls have always had a knack for writing catchy tracks and this was very clear with the crowd dancing along through the entire song.

As the band took a short break from playing they spoke about how the evening was going to be slightly different and was more of an Evening with Scouting for Girls rather than just a standard acoustic gig. With that being said they then proceeded to FaceTime drummer Pete who couldn’t join them on the tour as he was expecting the birth of his child the next day. After a brief conversation between everyone on stage Pete then (using a set of pan pipes he had lying around) introduced the next huge hit to come out this evening – ‘Heartbeat’. As the song came to an end Roy opened up the floor to questions from the audience and told stories from the bands past including the tale of Roy’s first guitar and some V Festival drunkenness which led Greg to spend nearly £10,000 on guitars. It was a really nice touch for the evening and worked well to build the bond between the band and the crowd. As the night went on the crowd were treated to a live debut of new track ‘Count on Me’ during which was endearing moment where the crowd knew the lyrics better than Roy and had to help him out. Finishing off their new tracks with the main single ‘Grown Up’ the crowd were definitely on a high and as the floor was opened back up to the crowd after a bit of discussion about Greg’s favourite track ‘Double Act’ it ended with the band playing a mash up of the crowds three favourite tracks. Starting with the amazing ‘The Airplane Song’ the band played a verse and Chorus before working in the catchy ‘Posh Girls’ and finally ending the mash up with fan favourite ‘Michaela Strachan’. As the band thanked Crash Records for the effort they went into supporting and arranging this event it was time for them to finish with one last song and play none other than their first big track ‘She’s So Lovely’. The entire crowd were dancing along and singing the words back at the stage with at times the crowd being louder than Roy.

As the short but sweet set came to an end it was time for the band to retire to the snug bar at the back to sign things and take photos with everyone that wanted to. From the amount of noise in the room and everyone talking about the show it was clear that tonight had been another resounding success for the team at Crash records. Every time I review a show I put in a good word about the shop at the bottom so you may be sick of hearing this but honestly events like this really help build a great link between the artist and the audience which you don’t get in most over cities music scene. The work that Crash Records do really is an asset to Leeds and here’s hoping that these Launch Shows and Intimate acoustic gigs continue well into the future.

Scouting for Girls

Review – Roam / With Confidence

Date: Saturday 28th September 2019

Venue: The Key Club, Leeds

Supports: The Dead Love, Woes

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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.