MALLORY KNOX + LED BY LANTERNS + TDK + ELEPHANT RADIO – THE BLACKMARKET VIP, HASTINGS 21.09.19
On the basis of my eldest daughter, Iona, having seen Mallory Knox play live once whilst at Warwick University, I found myself being dragged along by her to Hastings Old Town on a Saturday night instead of attending the Rotten Foxes last gig in Brighton – read the Brighton & Hove News review of that gig HERE. Fresh from reviewing at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival this was to be Iona’s debut review for Brighton & Hove News, some 48 hours before the deadline for her thesis, so as just to heap a little bit more pressure on her.
Just to add to the occasion, some 12 days ago it was announced that Mallory Knox would also be going their separate ways at the end of this tour and it would be the last ever time that they would be playing in Sussex, so it transpired that the Blackmarket VIP Venue had pulled off yet another coup for the musical hotbed that is Hastings.
At the peak of their popularity Mallory Knox played two sold out nights at Camden Electric Ballroom, The Roundhouse, Slam Dunk Festival (2013), Download Festival (2012), Reading and Leeds Festival on three occasions, plus supporting Biffy Clyro on tour. They also supported Pierce The Veil and Sleeping With Sirens on a US tour. Tonight they were playing an intimate gig in front of 150 lucky people who had travelled from far and wide, on the sixth night of their 23-date farewell tour.
It was a busy night both on and offstage as the young audience were to be treated to four bands. First up to whet our appetites for the main course were Elephant Radio hailing from nearby Eastbourne. Yes, there is another band from our neighbouring town apart from Toploader. Being a fan of Oasis I was intrigued to catch this band and see what the hype is all about it as they have been heavily tipped to make it big in music circles with their songs being played on the wireless by ‘BBC Introducing the South and Radio Kent’. I wasn’t to be disappointed as from the first track the Oasis comparisons were subtly noticeable on ‘One In A Million’. For a band that only formed last year they oozed confidence and appeared to be enjoying themselves, especially Liam on drums.
They finished off their set with their latest offering ‘Anybody Out There’ which is definitely worth a listen. They even succeeded in getting the audience to move forward to the stage at the first attempt having requested it four times at their last gig, so things are definitely maybe looking up. If tonight’s performance is anything to go by then hopefully they also have a bright future ahead of them and at least music lovers will now have a reason to visit Eastbourne.
The night kicked off with Elephant Radio who really captured that indie pop-punk vibe whilst also all being musically talented, something which is quite rare. The band had wonderful chemistry together, winking to each other throughout and just having fun. Their lyrics were original and fun, and either my hearing was a bit off or there actually was a jibe towards Corn Flakes without sugar (perfectly valid).
Elephant Radio are: Freddie (vocals), Joe (guitar), Liam (drums), Archie (synth), Blake (bass).
Setlist: ‘One In A million’, ‘Raining’, ‘Hey Summer’, ‘Makes No Sense’, ‘Say Nothing’, ‘Wake up’, ‘Anybody Out There’.
Find out more from the band by clicking HERE.
Next up were young local band TDK (The Don’t Knows). If you were in any doubt as to where you were in East Sussex then Josh soon made sure that you were aware that you were in Hastings with his regular references to this wonderful town. I have to say that I enjoyed their set, in particular their newest track which didn’t even have a name until I spoke with the band afterwards. The band wanted to call it ‘Ask Josh’ but Josh the songwriter had the last word when quizzed by yours truly and he named it ‘Yeah You Know’. Things were heating up inside the venue and drummer Joey was getting a ribbing from his bandmates as he was sweating buckets, but again it was good to see a band enjoying themselves in spite of being slightly nervy to begin with. Listening to them I was thinking that they were somewhere between the Arctic Monkeys and Aztec Camera with Josh sometimes reminding me of Alex Turner, though I can’t imagine Mr Turner turning his hand to bar work after a gig. Definitely a band to keep an eye out for and see how they progress.
The TDK frontman has good stage presence and with less nerves they’ve got great potential. There were moments of awkwardness and repeat social media plugs which jolted the flow. To sum up The Don’t Knows in one sentence: “More fringe flicks than One Direction circa 2011, but with far more sweat.
TDK are: Josh Jacobs (singer/songwriter) and Joey Wilder (drums), both from Hastings, with Zac Schulze (lead guitar) based in Gillingham and Anthony Gunnarsson Greenwell (bass) from Brighton.
Setlist: ‘On My Mind’, ‘Way Too Far’, ‘Out Of Touch’, ‘Piece It Up’, ‘Yeah You Know’ (‘Ask Josh’), ‘Can’t Think Straight’, ‘Stuck In The Middle With You’.
More information on the band can be located HERE.
Main support act for the tour comes from Led By Lanterns. They are from Birmingham, formed in 2016, and cite Mallory Knox as one of their major influences which must have helped them get this slot. Being of the same genre of music as Mallory Knox they were the perfect warm-up act as majority of the crowd were here to see the headliners and appeared to have a liking for the alternative rock sound. They have a polished live act and lead singer Shaun made a good fist of getting the crowd warmed up with plenty of interaction, which is lucky as he claimed they wouldn’t get paid if they didn’t! The bands synchronised jumping to ‘New Rules’ was about as close as they would come to being a boy band. Apparently we all should have known this cover version, that is everybody apart from me showing my age to considerably older than most of the audience. I’m not sure where they had been before they came onstage but the fact they were all kitted out in jackets on what had been the hottest night of their tour so far would suggest that they need to expand on their tour wardrobe as tonight was more a t-shirt and shorts affair. Again I was most impressed with the newest track which was ‘Disconnected’. The crowd were loving it and my daughter was in her element.
Without a doubt, Led by Lanterns were my favourite band of the night. Their cover of Dua Lipa’s ‘New Rules’ brought back memories of ‘when pop goes punk’ was all the rage. I was a big fan of the cover and it was nice to hear a familiar song with a clever twist. Their stage presence was impeccable, and I definitely didn’t need to be told to jump, I was already so into it I was jumping and hair whipping quite violently!
I got to speak to the band afterwards and they’re genuinely lovely guys. If it wasn’t for my thesis, I would have spent the rest of the night partying with them! They’re definitely worth catching, I for one will be seeing them next time they’re in Sussex. hopefully their newfound love for Hastings will bring them back soon, despite the doughnut stealing seagulls!
Led By Lanterns are: Shaun Hill (vocals), Chris Lanterns (guitar/vocals), Rob Hawkins (bass/vocals) and Marc Wallet (drums).
Setlist: ‘Smokescreen’, ‘Recovery’, ‘New Rules’, ‘Composure’, ‘Disconnected’, ‘Alive’.
More information on the band can be located HERE.
The atmosphere had gained momentum throughout the evening and the scene was well and truly set for Cambridge’s finest alternative rock band (Mallory Knox) to take to the Blackmarket stage. Tonight was due to be a celebration of their 10 years in the music business in which time they recorded four studio albums. They made sure that their latest album was well publicised as they played six tracks from it making a point that they had progressed since the change in personnel. The hardcore fans were pleased to hear songs from the back catalogue including the anthemic ‘Getaway’ which apparently was their best video but typically none of the band got to appear in it. This was followed by ‘Ghost In The Mirror’ for which Sam owned up to forgetting the lyrics the previous night for the first time in ten years, but he redeemed himself tonight. For ‘White Lies’ the crowd were encouraged to dance as he was bored of circle pits. ‘Oceans’ was one of the highlights of their set and I gave up my space at the barrier for a fan who told me this was going to be her funeral song. Given that it would be the last time she would see it played live it seemed only right.
February 14th was probably not the best date in the calendar for a split, but Valentine’s Day 2018 was when original lead singer Mike Chapman chose to leave the band and it has obviously left a bitter taste. In spite of mixed reviews from the critics, the band made it clear that they are proud of their last offering before launching into their final song of the night ‘Better Off Without You’. Ouch!
Unlike my daughter I was grateful that they didn’t play their cover version of ‘Yellow’ live as I am not a Coldplay fan, though she was adamant that it is a whole lot better than the original.
A good night out which was full of surprises, but I wouldn’t expect anything else on a Saturday night in Hastings.
Then came the band I had been waiting for, Mallory Knox. The first time I ever saw Mallory Knox was the first week of University. It feels quite poetic to see them again in my final week, on their final tour. I did feel that my experience was clouded by the obvious resentment directed towards the lead singer leaving the band. I understand the resentment, but there’s a time and a place for it, and multiple times in what’s going to be your last Sussex gig just isn’t it. Plus, I’m sure half the people in the room had no idea what he was talking about. Regardless, I had a wonderful time hair whipping and throwing out the macarena with strangers. It makes me sad that I’ll never get to hear ‘Lights’ or their cover of ‘Yellow’ live, but hearing ‘Lighthouse’ and ‘Shout To The Moon’ made up for that.
Earth Wind & Fire famously ask the big question: “do you remember the 21st night of September?” And I for one will remember the 21st September 2019 for a long time. Four enjoyable bands, a lot of sweat, and jumping for hours on end. My first barrier gig was a brilliant experience.
Mallory Knox are: Sam Douglas (vocals.bass), James Gillett (rhythm guitar/backing vocals), Joe Savins (lead guitar/backing vocals) and Dave Rawling (drums).
Mallory Knox setlist reads:
1. ‘Sugar’ (LP ‘Mallory Knox’ 2019)
2. ‘Wherever’ (LP ‘Mallory Knox’ 2019)
3. ‘Shout At The Moon’ (LP ‘Asymmetry’ 2014. Released as a single 26/10/14)
4. ‘Black Holes’ (LP ‘Mallory Knox’ 2019)
5. ‘Beggars’ (LP ‘Signals’ 2013. Released as a single 12/3/13)
6. ‘The World I Know’ (LP ‘Mallory Knox’ 2019)
7. ‘Getaway’ (LP ‘Asymmetry’ 2014. Released as a single 27/3/15)
8. ‘Ghost In The Mirror’ (LP ‘Asymmetry’ 2014. Released as a single 30/6/2014)
9. ‘White Lies’ (LP ‘Mallory Knox’ 2019)
10. ‘Heartbreak Lover’ (LP ‘Mallory Knox’ 2019)
11. ‘Oceans’ (‘Pilot’ EP 4/7/11)
12. ‘Wake Up’ (LP ‘Signals’ 2013. Released as a single 21/10/12)
13. ‘Lighthouse’ (LP ‘Signals’ 2013. Released as a single 2/1/2013)
14. ‘Better Off Without You’ (LP ‘Wired’ 2017. Released as a single 20/1/17)
Find out more about the band by clicking HERE.
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