Coming in at the tail end of the band’s autumn tour, which itself has bookended a breakout year for the Cambridge quintet of Mallory Knox, a two date stint at Camden’s Electric Ballroom was the perfect way to bring together all the work from the past twenty-four months. There can be no doubt that ‘Signals’ has proved a catalyst, but in a live setting is where the five-piece have really shone, with all the studio time paying off in explosive performances that have built them a reputation as show-stealers. Whether it be this year’s Reading Festival, last summer’s instalment of Y Not, or a sweaty Electric Ballroom on a cold November night, you can be sure that people will have been buzzing about Mallory Knox.
The headline act are amongst strong company in a fantastic arrangement of supports, with FrnkIero and the Cellabration being easily the most eyebrow-raising. There can be no doubt that the booking helped those last few tickets shift, and the ex-MCR man certainly has his fair share of disciples within the Ballroom tonight. There is no question of who’s boss tonight though, and the pop for Mallory Knox’s arrival eclipses everything else in terms of crowd reaction.
Up first though are another band who can look back on a successful 2014, and Fort Hope have certainly impressed with a successful live outing at Sonisphere, as well as support slots for Max Raptor and Blitz Kids earlier this year. (3.5) Moose Blood, meanwhile, have been well-aired on the live circuit, backing up the likes of Nai Harvest, Gunning for Tamar, Funeral for a Friend and TWIABP in the past two years. It’s definitely an impressive resume that the Canterbury four-piece have built up, but the quartet are arguably still the dark horses on the lineup. With a similarity to The Gaslight Anthem working in their favour, the outfit certainly hold their own. The lyrics are central to Moose Blood’s charm, and if anything the band’s short set is a great advertisement for the debut headline tour early next year. (4/5)
Some might argue that FrnkIero and the Cellabration were worthy of a co-headline role on this tour, but the support slot is perfect for introducing the new outfit to British shores in the company of some of this country’s own brightest prospects. Somewhere between The Subways and Weezer sits the Cellabration, and while far from the frenzy of My Chemical Romance, the new project certainly plays to Iero’s strengths. It’s a long way too from Frank’s previous project of Leathermouth, though equally as well received, if not even more so on these shores. (4/5)
If the response for Iero’s new venture is strong, however, then the reaction to Mallory Knox’s arrival is simply feral. Rightly so, too, as descending on the Electric Ballroom are a quintet in their finest form to date, and many will have left claiming this was the best they’d seen them so far. From start to finish it’s a set that fully deserves their recent booking to headline Takedown Festival, and you can only imagine it’s onwards and upward from here. The likes of ‘Hello’ and ‘Beggars’ still remain the hottest tracks in the quintet’s repertoire, though ‘Ghost in the Mirror’ and ‘Lighthouse’ land fantastically with a raucous crowd. ‘Lighthouse’ is joined in the encore by ‘She Took Him to the Lake’, and the pair of tracks juxtapose superbly to draw an emphatic line under the band’s latest romp through the UK with the epitome of a grand finale. It is difficult to pick a highlight from such a consistently impressive set, but that’s the exact impression that Mallory Knox are making a living off right now. (4.5/5)
It definitely isn’t going too far to say that the Electric Ballroom may not be big enough to contain the band on their next assault on the capital, even spread over two nights, and maybe it will soon be time for the band to start looking towards Brixton or Shepherd’s Bush for their next field of battle. With the British music scene bidding farewell to Kids in Glass Houses, The Blackout and Canterbury all within a matter of months, however, the demand is certainly there for a new breakout act, and Mallory Knox have thrust themselves right onto the frontline of such a drive. By bringing Moose Blood and Fort Hope along for the ride, though, the quintet have proven that such a drive is far from a one horse race.