Walking into the pitch black, cramped darkness of Leeds Met Student Union, it became clear that Mallory Knox’s brand of anthemic, festival rock would take on a very different sound in such a small environment. I blindly stumbled past the awkwardly arranged crowd, hoping that the choice of venue wouldn’t hinder the overall experience.
Immediately, the pounding, metal-infused melodies of first support act Fort Hope inspired confidence in the venues acoustics. The band energised the audience for a highly anticipated return to music from Frank Iero (My Chemical Romance). Iero’s music sounded initially exciting, with his band ‘the Cellabration’ opening with a promising musical intro that suggested a progressive and slightly experimental style. The music, however, descended into repetitive and strained punk rock which likely sounds much better on an album with some studio touch ups.
With Mallory Knox however, things couldn’t have been more different. The band brought with them a uniquely humble attitude, frequently thanking the audience. Singer Mikey Chapman often highlighted the swift rise to fame that the band had faced and how “overwhelmed” the group was. The band’s simple beginnings, rehearsing in drummer Dave’s house a few years back, contrasts heavily with their now frequent festival appearances. The group have taken this success firmly in their stride and continued to produce music which stays true to their roots, but still suits mainstream radio play.
It is incredibly rare that all of a band’s songs sound as strong live, but Mallory Knox performed every track like it was a hit single, and the set ran seamlessly from start to finish. The group’s energy and genuine passion was evident throughout their entire set. Radio 1 hit ‘Ghost in the Mirror’ naturally stood out, and the band’s opening and closing songs (‘Shout at the Moon’, ‘Lighthouse’) proved to be powerful choices, but there was no weak section of the set list. Fan favourites such as ‘1949’ and ‘Oceans’ were well received, as were new tracks ‘Getaway’ and ‘When Are We Waking Up?’. It was often hard to tell which song belonged on which album; for a band with a limited discography this is a remarkable achievement. Any gig that leaves a lasting impression is a good gig, but after Mallory Knox I was very keen to listen to their entire catalogue again immediately afterwards. This is a sign of a truly great gig.
With a sound that proves far more explosive and enjoyable live, Mallory Knox are swiftly becoming one of the UK’s most exciting live bands. Any opportunity to see them, particularly in a festival setting, is an opportunity not to be missed.