Review: Mallory Knox, Cambridge Corn Exchange

Last night, I was lucky enough to see Mallory Knox perform live for the second time.  Last time I caught the band live was at Leeds Festival in 2014, not long before the release of their second album, Asymmetry.  This time, the band are touring to promote their third record, Wired.  

First off, however, I’ll talk about the support acts.  Scottish act Fatherson were first to take to the stage, and this was my second time seeing them perform live – the first time was when they supported Enter Shikari on The Mindsweep tour.  In all honesty, I thought their performance took a little while to kick off, so maybe the first 20 minutes of their set was a bit lacklustre.  Their last couple of songs, thankfully, picked up the band’s energy levels and managed to get the crowd jumping.   Here’s the video for Lost Little Boys, one of the tracks the band played last night.

Next up were fellow Cambridge band Lonely The Brave. Unfortunately their performance was marred by a few technical issues: lead vocalist David Jakes had a number of issues with his microphone and in-ear headphones, so there were a few awkward pauses between songs whilst the problems were sorted out.  Otherwise, the band’s performance was spot on, just as good as when I saw them supporting Deaf Havana in 2014. Check out Black Mire, one of my favourite Lonely The Brave tracks:

Finally, Mallory Knox took to the stage.  Their performance was very strong throughout the night, with the entire band working together like a well oiled machine. Lead vocalist Mikey Chapman had some trouble with his voice, declaring about halfway through the set that his voice was “fucked up”, but he managed to power through and perform the rest of the set.  Plus, backing vocals from bassist Sam Douglas helped to fill any gaps.

The band’s set list was very strong, with a great mixture of tracks from all three of their albums.  They probably got the strongest reaction from the crowd whilst playing Lighthouse, Beggars and Wake Up from their debut record Signals, but it seemed like the crowd were equally happy hearing songs from Asymmetry.  The tracks from Mallory Knox’s latest album went down very well, and even though Wired was only released a couple of weeks ago, a decent portion of the crowd were singing along to the tracks.  Here’s the video for last night’s opening track, Giving It Up:


So there you have it.  Mallory Knox put on an awesome show, and if you have the opportunity to see them live, you’d be silly if you didn’t take it.

Have you already seen Mallory Knox live on their Wired tour?  What did you think of their performance?  Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

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Review: Of Mice & Men, Nottingham Rock City

Last night I went along to Nottingham and saw one of my favourite bands, Of Mice & Men, performing live for the fourth time.  I hadn’t planned on attending, however a last minute change to my work and my sister’s sixth form schedule meant we could take the trip to see the performance.  I didn’t manage to get any photos from the gig, but here’s a snap from the band’s Instagram account which will give you a taste of the atmosphere.

A photo posted by Of Mice & Men (@omandm) on Oct 4, 2016 at 12:13am PDT

We arrived to the venue a little late, so unfortunately we only heard opening act Hands Like Houses perform three songs of their set.  From what I heard, I really enjoyed their performance: the vocalist’s voice was strong throughout, and the instrumentals sounded pretty tight.  These guys were definitely a solid choice of opening act.  Here’s the video for one of the songs they played:

Following Hands Like Houses was Crown The Empire, whose performance I also really enjoyed.  There were a couple of issues with microphone levels throughout this set, however: during the first couple of songs the vocalist’s voice was drowned out by the instruments, and towards the end his microphone was too loud and the guitars were overpowered.  Even noticing this issue, I still thought Crown The Empire put on a great show, and they really helped to amp up the atmosphere in preparation for Of Mice & Men to take to the stage.  Here’s the music video to one of the songs I most enjoyed hearing them play:

Then it was time for the main act to take to the stage.  Of Mice & Men opened with Pain, one of my favourites from their new record Cold World, and it was a fantastic, high energy start to the gig.  They mainly played songs from the new record, which is understandable as it was only released a couple of weeks ago, as well as a fair few from Restoring Force.  I was extremely pleased when I realised that they were also playing The Calm, The Storm, The Flood and The Depths in succession, which definitely went down well with more long term fans of the band.  Their encore was topped off with Second & Sebring, was was probably my highlight of the whole night.

Overall the performance by Of Mice & Men was brilliant, as per usual, with no noticeable technical issues or dodgy microphone levels.  In the past I’ve consistently noted that Aaron Pauley’s vocals live were fairly weak and quiet, however even though he complained of waking up with a cold yesterday morning, I think his vocal performance was the best I’ve heard.  Maybe he was pushing his voice harder than usual to make up for his illness?  The only issue I found with the band’s performance was Austin Carlile’s clean vocals during Away: I thought his voice was quite nasal, and reckon he’d be better off sticking to harsh vocals from now on.

It was definitely worth seeing Of Mice & Men for the fourth time, as to me their performances are getting better and better every time.  If you’re able to attend any of the remaining UK tour dates this month, I’d highly recommend it.

Were you at the gig last night?  What did you think of the performance?  Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

Ticket touts: how they’re killing the live music industry

For anyone who’s attended a gig, this scenario will be all too familiar: walking towards the venue, you’re mobbed by people asking “anyone need a ticket for tonight?” or “I’ve got 4 tickets spare, anyone interested?”

Occasionally these people will be genuine – maybe they bought a ticket for a friend who cancelled, or they have an important meeting the next morning that cannot be missed.  But more often than not, these people belong to that breed of human known as ticket touts.

Ticket touting, by definition, is where somebody (an individual or an organisation) buys tickets to live events, and then re-sells them later for much higher than their face value.

Now, on the face of it, sometimes people can benefit from touting.  For example, I attended a gig a while ago and my friend decided at the last minute that she wanted to come along.  Lo and behold, there was somebody outside selling a ticket.  Even though it cost her double the face value, the ticket was genuine and she had an awesome time.  In small doses, touting is probably harmless.

However, when large organisations purchase tens, or even hundreds, of tickets for gigs and then go on to re-sell at a much higher value, this is where things start to get dodgy.

As you may have seen on my Twitter earlier in the week, I picked up a ticket to see Foo Fighters on their Sonic Highways tour next year at Wembley Stadium.  Exciting times!  Thankfully we went through the venue’s pre-sale procedures on Wednesday morning, and we got the tickets at face value, £93.50 for Level 2 seating, plus booking fees and transaction fees.

As of the time of writing this blog, there are currently 791 tickets for the same date available on Get Me In!, and these are just from the presale!  Currently the lowest price available there is £103.71, which doesn’t necessarily include transaction and delivery fees, but prices go up to a whopping £412.50.

Obviously, with general sales still to open, tickets at the higher end of the spectrum won’t be selling any time soon.  However, if the venue sells out, desperate fans looking for tickets may have to consider these ridiculously inflated ticket prices.

Another example: my stepdad bought a ticket for him and my mum to see the Foo Fighters play at Wembley Stadium a few years back (our family are massive Foos fans, in case you couldn’t tell) for her birthday gift.  Because he was too late to pick up tickets from the venue directly, he went through a ticket-touting website, and paid well over face value for them.

Skip to the night before the gig, and his tickets still hadn’t arrived.  After doing a bit of online sleuthing, he found that the business he purchased the tickets from had gone into liquidation, and even if it hadn’t, the tickets were likely to have been part of a large-scale fake ticket scam.  In the end, he and my mum had to leave it to chance and turned up at the venue, hoping that someone there would be able to sell them a pair of tickets.  He paid yet another massive sum for legitimate tickets, but never got his money back for the faked ones.  Whilst they enjoyed the gig, the experience was tainted by how much they had paid.

Ticket touting doesn’t necessarily hurt the venue, as they will be happy as long as they continue to sell tickets and make a profit.  Even if their reputation is questioned for allowing touting to continue, venues are well aware that music fans will never simply stop attending gigs in protest.

However, touting does hurt bands – not economically, but imagine being told that your gig has sold out an entire arena, only to turn up on the night and see whole blocks of seats empty?  That has to be disheartening, and wherever touting is involved there will usually be a significant number of tickets that never get resold, usually because the price they ask for is simply too high for most people to consider.

Of course, ticket touting has plagued the live music industry for decades, and even legislation hasn’t prevented its growth.  Occasionally bands will take a stand and limit the amount of tickets purchased per sale to try and discourage touts, but this crime is extremely difficult to regulate and enforcing the law has not had much success.

However, I still live in hope that, some time in the not too distant future ticket touts will be shunned and prosecuted for the crimes they commit.  Let’s hope, as well, that their practices do not kill the live music industry in the process.

Currently listening to: SupersoakerKings Of Leon

#tbt : My first gig went a little like this…

First off, I’d like to apologise for the punny title.  I’m one of those people who speaks in song lyrics rather than actual fully-formed sentences half of the time; something my friends really enjoy.

Anyway, today I’m gonna start up a feature I like to call #tbt, or throwback Thursday.  Before anyone starts, I’m already well aware that #tbt has been floating around Twitter and Instagram for a long time.  Can you blame me for wanting to piggy-back off that success?  Basically, every Thursday I’m gonna travel back in time and talk about something a bit old school.  Hopefully this’ll result in a lot of nostalgia for everyone involved.

Ever since I started this blog I’ve wanted to talk about my origin story.  It might not be as exciting as Wolverine’s, but when I attended my first ever gig in 2010 I was probably adrenaline-fuelled enough to demonstrate one of Hugh Jackman’s trademark angsty, despair-filled cries to the moon.  Kinda like these.

On that fateful evening of the 19th of June, 2010, I made my way to Wembley Arena where I watched the incredible Green Day, supported by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and Frank Turner.  This gig was the catalyst that got me interested in rock, alternative and punk music, so for that Green Day will always hold a special place in my heart.

I even still have my ticket, stuck up on my bedroom wall back at home, as well as the t-shirt I bought at the gig, which I brought to university with me even though it’s far too small.  Sentimental is my middle name, you know.

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(I also had the good fortune of seeing them headline Friday of Reading 2013, and their performance was just as mind-blowing three years on.)

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and Frank Turner were excellent choices for support acts.  Joan Jett got the stadium buzzing with Bad Reputation, and Frank Turner’s The Road was a real anthemic, sing-along moment.  However, as much as I enjoyed the support acts, nothing could have topped the main act for me.

Billy Joe, Mike and Tré performed like a well-oiled machine with limitless enthusiasm.  I could tell that they still love and enjoy performing, even 25 years after the band’s inception in 1987.

Highlights of the gig were East Jesus Nowhere, Are We The Waiting, and their mash-up of Iron Man, Sweet Child o’ Mine and Highway to Hell.  

Now, I’m aware that this blog post, in itself, is nothing new: everybody knows that Green Day are an establishment of pop punk, and put on an amazing show.  For years after this gig I was worried that no other band would ever be able to top their performance.

Even so, I think I’ve made it clear that if I could turn back time and experience that gig again, I would without a second thought.

Currently listening to: Need To BeMemphis May Fire 

Review: Pure Love, Lincoln Engine Rooms

I think I can speak for most Pure Love fans when I say I did not want this tour to happen.  Last night was the opening night of the band’s farewell tour, before going on “indefinite hiatus“.  The band’s first and only album, Anthems, has seen massive popularity since its release in 2013, as well as cult popularity thanks to the band’s presence on Twitter and Instagram.

Unfortunately, the band’s fate is sealed, and all that was left was to see them on their farewell tour, and have an amazing time.  (Spoiler: I had a seriously amazing time.)

Now I, personally, would have loved to see We Are The Ocean as the support act, as I saw them play with Pure Love in support of Lostprophets in 2012.  Well, that’s the line-up I imagined in my dreams anyway.

However, in reality the night started with PUP.  These guys were a lot of fun to listen to, but I didn’t think much of their lead vocalist.  Also, they’re a lot heavier than Pure Love, so they probably would have been better suited to support a heavier band.  Unfortunately my camera ran out of battery pretty quickly, so I only have one photo of their performance, and it’s a little blurry.

A photo of PUP supporting Pure Love at the Lincoln Engine Shed.

And then, on to Pure Love.  These guys were phenomenal.  Their live performance was polished and well-rehearsed, and Frank’s vocals were spot-on throughout the performance.

Performance is the only word I could use to describe this show.  The show was electric, and I think Frank and Jim spent more time in the crowd than on the stage itself.  They were literally hanging from the rafters of the venue at one point, only a couple of feet from where I was stood, which was an awesome sight to see.

During their final song, Riot Song, the entire band moved their kit from the stage to the middle of the crowd, making the performance even more intimate and getting even the most reluctant members of the crowd jumping.

All in all, last night was a concert I’ll probably never forget.  Their last gig was a perfect farewell from a brilliant, if short-lived band.I guarantee that if Pure Love ever get back together, I’ll be buying tickets to their next tour as soon as they go on sale.

Currently listening to: Smells Like Teen SpiritNirvana