Fans pile into the former Digbeth Institute this eve to take in some of the best in mainstream British rock music. The old jazz club is made up of three rooms, the largest of which can house up to 3,000 punters and is the scene for tonight’s fun and games. The audience is made of up everyone from screaming teenage girls to trendy hipsters but regardless of who you are this evening, everybody is here for a single reason – Seeing their rock heroes return to the country’s second biggest city.
Lonely The Brave take to the stage. For those who have witnessed the band in action prior to this eve, the band create an interesting ambiance to their shows with frontman David Jakes standing way back on the stage and letting his band mates soak up the glory. He stays static, belting out planet-sized vocal lines on Black Mire and occasionally getting a little rawer on the driving likes of Radar. It’s easy to see why the band have garnered a reputation as a blinding live act – clearly a combination of Jakes’ Maynard-James Keenan-esque stationary roars, the intensity of the remaining band members and the staggering sounds they are able to produce live. (8)
Such is the anticipation for headliners Mallory Knox this eve that the rawkus crowd don’t mind the Cambridge quintet kicking off with brand new track Giving Up. It’s an impressive start to say the least with frontman Mikey Chapman handling the falsetto chorus notes with ease. As good a reaction as the supporting bands get, it’s clear who people are here to see this eve with the heaving mass leaving their feet for almost every song. Once again, the venue sound compliments the expansive sound of the band with the chunky bassline of Dying to Survive pulsing beneath echo-laden lead guitar and Kids in Glasses-soundalike California reaching anthem status.
Chapman cheekily announces Lucky Me is about “the best thing you can do in bed besides watch Netflix or eat Nachos” before launching into yet another scorching new track. The crowd laps up the newer material but it’s Asymmetry track Shout at the Moon and a riotous rendition of first album opener Beggars that really see the capacity crowd come unglued.
Still a young band in the grand scheme of things, Mallory Knox keep the energy of their tracks alive with tremendous stage presence, especially Chapman, whose connection and charismatic exchanges with the brummie audience make for a truly excellent rock show feel. He keeps these vibes going with yet another new track titled Falling In Love which although bittersweet in nature, manages to bring the audience together when the song’s chorus hits.
It doesn’t seem too long ago that Mallory Knox were a ‘word on the street’ band, freshly signed to an upcoming label and kicking out singles like nobodies business – so to see them packing out academies and bringing crowds together with rip-roaring sing-alongs demonstrates just how much life British music still has in its lungs. As the band finish up with an encore of the super catchy Better Off Without You and a set staple Lighthouse, it is apparent that these Cambridge boys aren’t going away anytime soon. (8)