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 – 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 – 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.

Review – Zebrahead

Date: Friday 27th September 2019

Venue: The Key Club, Leeds

Supports: The Bottom Line

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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.


Zebrahead

Review – Casey ‘Its Time To Bury Our Love’ Farewell Show

Date: Thursday 9th May 2019

Venue: The Key Club, Leeds

Supports: Gatherers, Acres

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First band in tonight were Gatherers. The band were playing their first tour of the UK and unfortunately their lead singer was struggling with illness throughout the set. They took a couple of songs to find their groove in the room. Unfortunately just as things were heating up nicely during new track ‘Sick, Sad Heart’ they had issues with their mic cables coming undone and cutting the vocals completely. Whilst musically it sounded incredible there was certainly something missing whilst the band tried to sort the vocals out. A long pause to sort cables led to a lot of the crowd dropping off and the band needing to play catch up for the rest of their set! Not letting this set them back too much they continued on and managed to get back into their groove. With the band playing brilliantly and the cleaner vocals sounding impressive it led to a great ending of the set with the crowd all bobbing their heads along to the tracks and starting to warm up for the night ahead. Here’s hoping next time they come back to the UK they’ll have a bit more luck.

Next up were a Acres who were down a vocalist due to illness tonight. Coming out saying ‘Alright, we’re Acres’ was a very modest start to their fantastic set. Mixing things up through their set with tracks that had vocals provided by Zac Vernon from Parting Gift and tracks that were purely instrumental worked a treat and really showed how capable the band were of captivating the audience despite their setback. The band seemed to be working in perfect sync to really hit home the crushing riffs and dream-like guitars alongside the heavy non stop drumming. In a set that passed by far too quickly, Acres easily got the audience jumping along and banging their heads throughout their performance to set the crowd up nicely for the last band of the night. Having not heard them before they played tonight they’ll certainly be one that I’ll be checking out again in the coming months and keeping an eye on!

Acres

To say I was left speechless by Casey’s performance probably isn’t the best way to start this review but it’s certainly correct! From the first piano note of ‘Making Weight’ to the last screams of ‘Little Bird’ Casey really showed just what makes them so special and just what the music world is losing! With soaring guitars, crushing breakdowns, spoken word sections and huge screams from Tom Weaver the band really give everything 100% and it certainly shows. The entire crowd were surging backwards and forwards all set and even hit the point where the crowdsurfers had to be stopped due to the size of the stage and equipment being knocked over. Needless to say that the show was in high gear throughout with hits like ‘Where I Go When I Am Sleeping’ and ‘Bruise’ both getting huge singalongs. It was clear that these shows mean a huge amount to both the band and the crowd and with everything working perfectly it really was a pleasure to see.

Having sold out the show it was no surprise that everyone was here to celebrate Casey as they played their farewell shows. It really is a shame that these guys won’t be playing live again however it just means that we’ll have to spin their albums much more often to celebrate the perfection that they have. A genuine 10/10 show to really finish this chapter of their careers on a high and definitely one that everyone in the crowd will remember for a long time to come!

Casey

Review – Live At Leeds Festival 2019

As the first bank holiday of May rolled round it could only mean one thing… The start of festival season!! And as will every year the first one up is Live At Leeds. Showcasing a nice mix of new and upcoming bands from a variety of genres it is definitely one to keep an eye on if you enjoy hearing new acts.

VANT – Dork Stage, The Wardrobe

Kicking off proceedings for day were VANT. Things started off nice and slow to warm the crowd up with a couple of new acoustic tracks before breaking out the electric guitar. Vant mixed older tracks with his newer solo tracks which really worked well to show the mix of his tunes across both incarnations of the band. ‘Peace and Love’ sounded huge and a great reaction from the crowd to newer single ‘Thank Lucifer’. Finishing with a nice combo of ‘Karma Seeker’ and ‘Do You Know Me?’ really gave the crowd a nice chance to return the energy with the first mosh pits of the day. Fantastic set to a packed out crowd to start the festival off nicely and prepare me for the rest of the day.

VANT

Horror My Friend – Gigwise Stage, Leeds Becketts SU 2

Continuing the theme of indie/punk were Australian band Horror My Friend. Despite a few technical issues with their guitars, they managed to show the quality of music a band can make with a guitar, bass and drums. By the time they got into their stride the crowd were banging their heads and as the set went on the crowd grew massively to fill the stage. Finishing with ‘DIYS’ led to a nice heavy end showing their punk side off well. A great new discovery and certainly one I’ll be looking into in the future.

Horror My Friend

Saint Agnes – Upset Stage, The Key Club

Taking things up a notch next at The Key Club were Saint Agnes. Combining powerful vocals, heavy drum beats and jarring guitars shouldn’t have worked but the band smashed it and sounded fantastic! Having discovered them through the festival playlist I was sure how the turnout would be given they were heavier than most bands playing today however from the packed out venue it was clear that this band were high on a lot of peoples agendas, Saint Agnes worked through their hits perfectly with ‘Diablo Take Me Home’ causing the whole crowd to jump and bang their heads before finishing with ‘Welcome To Silvertown’ to really go out in style by diving into the crowd for one final party. Certainly one to check out if you dig the rockier side of things!

Saint Agnes

Lucas Watt – The Social

After the intensity from Saint Agnes it was a huge change to catch Lucas Watt. Armed with his acoustic guitar and a couple of band mates he showed just how impressive a singer/songwriter he really is. Hits like ‘Tightrope’ and ‘Why Do I Call’ showing how powerful his vocals are. The Social was packed out and the whole crowd were bobbing along to his songs. Treating us to some tracks from his new EP also went down a storm and from the looks of the crowd his headline show in Leeds later this year will be very impresive to say the least.

Lucas Watt

Inhaler – The Chapel

Following on from a short much break it was straught back into the music with Inhaler. Pulling sounds from both alt-rock and indie seemed to be keeping the large crowd happy and whilst it didn’t do much for me personally, it seemed to go down well with the rest of the crowd. Taking heavy inspiration from bands like Joy Division and U2 it was clear in their sound musically that they had tried to incorporate them using heavy synths and light guitars. Whilst not a band that I will be following I’m sure that plenty in the crowd will be keeping a close eye on them in the near future.

Inhaler

Hot Milk – Upset Stage, The Key Club

Marked as one of my top bands to see there was certainly an air of anticipation whilst waiting for Hot Milk to take to the stage. Crashing on to the stage they proceeded to blow all expectation out the water in a 30 minute set that seemed to fly by. Whilst Live at Leeds doesn’t usually put on much pop punk it was a breath of fresh air and seemed to be very popular with the crowd. Mixing up the two vocal styles worked really well and certainly set them apart from other pop punk bands coming out that the moment. The crowd were loving it with jumping and bouncing throughout the set with a few small pits opening at the band’s request. I can’t wait to hear more from them as the two unreleased tracks they played sounded brilliant. Definitely a band that I’ll be checking out at Slam Dunk/Download if I get the chance.

Hot Milk

She Drew The Gun – NME Stage, Riley Smith Hall
After their incredible performance at The Wardrobe back in 2017, She Drew The Gun were high on my list of bands to see. Since then the following of the band has grown and it was great to see them playing to a much larger audience. A great set from the political rockers. Their songs really showing off the powerful messages behind their tracks alongside the talent of the band. New track ‘Something For The Pain’ drew singalongs from the crowd and dancing throughout. Unfortunately things took a turn for the worse halfway through when the set was cut short due to illness. Hopefully they’ll be coming back soon as they seem to be going from strength to strength with the release of the new album ‘Revolution Of Mind’.

She Drew The Gun

Fatherson – Dance To the Radio Stage, The Church

After missing their set at 2000trees and their sold out show at Hyde Park Book Club it was about time that I caught these guys live and it was definitely worth the wait. Everything worked perfectly for them and the crowd were clearly on board for the party that Fatherson were bringing. Tracks like ‘Making Waves’ and ‘I Like Not Knowing’ showed them at the top of the game and the brilliant acoustics of Church meant that it sounded just as brilliant. Fantastic vocals soared across the venue and the guitars crashed around it. It was great to see the crowd jump on board with the band banging their heads and dancing around through their slightly longer set. Definitely one of my top bands of the day and certainly one to listen to if you’ve never caught them before!!

Fatherson

The Dunts – The Chapel

Next up it was a short trip from The Church to The Chapel for the penultimate act of the day. Just as the festival was starting to quieten down for the day The Dunts were bringing a huge amount of energy to the chapel. Bringing out their fast paced indie punk tracks meant that the entire crowd had no choice but to move around with a nice pit opening at the front of the crowd. Everything sounded brilliant from the stage and the catchy delivery really worked to build the energy on the stage. The band worked their crowd interaction well getting huge singalongs. Huge tracks in ‘The Birds and Beez’ and ‘Ride The Wave’ showcased their raw talent and showed why everyone had turned up. As a new band for me from the festival they are definitely up there as one of my favourite discoveries from Live At Leeds in a long time.

The Dunts

Jamie Lenman – Upset Stage, The Key Club

There hasnt been a Live At Leeds when my final Act isn’t in the Key Club and this one was no different. When the option is to see Jamie Lenman or not there is only one suitable response. Despite the fact that there was only one guitar and one drum kit on stage we were treated to 40 mins of pure face melting rock to finish the day off nicely! Mixing in a few covers, from his soon to be released album, with hit tracks such as ‘All Of England Is A City’ and ‘Devolver’ really worked amazing to get the crowd moving and banging their heads. Finishing up the class act with the huge sounding ‘Mississippi’ left the crowd screaming M-I-SSI-SSI-PPI as he closed the stage for the day. Originally billed as a special guest, his set certainly lived up to the ‘special’ in its title. A great way to finish the day!

Jamie Lenman