2nd of April at Portsmouth Pyramids
On an average Sunday night in Portsmouth I normally would have said there wasn’t much going on, nor would I have thought I would end up attending possibly one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen.
Mallory Knox were preceded by two opening bands. Indie-rock band Fatherson, who brought the energy and set a high bar for the rest of the evening, certainly outshined the guitar-fronted Lonely The Brave, who disappointed with a mumbled set that was lost in a sea of sound. Credit where it’s due, though, to singer David Jakes, who brought a cup of tea and a kettle with him on stage. Who said rock and roll was dead?
Mallory Knox kicked off their set with gusto, starting with palpable forcefulness with ‘Giving It Up’ from their most recent album. They performed a range of tracks from the last four years of their career that oozed with confidence and coolness, reminding us that they know just how good hits like ‘Beggars’ and ‘Shout at the Moon’ really are. The crowd hung on every word and every lyric, bouncing along with the shredding guitars and rock anthems which reverberated through the venue.
Halfway through the evening, the band paused to have a classy shot before frontman Mikey Chapman delved into current affairs: “There’s always a new fascist crawling out of the crevices — Theresa May and Donald Trump, what the fuck is up with that?!”, he said, lamenting that our generation will have to pick up the pieces previous generations have left behind. This all flowed quite nicely into their next song, ‘Savior’.
The setlist was all very well thought out, moving effortlessly from song to song and consistently striking the right balance between calm and chaos. It was clear to see, though, that Mallory Knox have been on the road for a long time: vocals regularly cracked and big notes were missed. It’s lucky, then, that their passionate and explosive attitude just about made up for this sloppiness.
The encore finished the night with some of their biggest tracks to date, ‘Lighthouse’ and ‘Better Off Without You’, which got the whole crowd up on their feet and losing themselves in the music. This wasn’t the first time I’ve seen Mallory Knox, but this incredible display will be the one that I remember.