DOM BURSTIN bursts onto the scene with his debut review of Mallory Knox, but regrets getting his hair cut first.
Saturday 19th January, The Junction. £8.
I should not have had my hair cut just before going to see Mallory Knox; it left me effectively impotent for what turned out to be a night of gratuitous headbanging. Heavy rockers Mallory Knox were celebrating years of hard work and this, its resultant payoff, their debut album launch. The act’s followers were out in force at The Junction and were given a night of furious energy and bravado which, even if it lacked musical variety and creativity at times, seemed exactly what they were looking for.
The night was kicked off by two support acts. First up was The First which, as it’s my first review and I was worried about messing up the names or order of bands, was helpful. Like Mallory Knox, they were a weighty five piece outfit with two screaming guitarists, (one of whom was excellent and one of whom looked like a thumb – and, I think, wanted to be in Megadeath), pounding drums, distorted bass and some angry nods towards metal.
They were a solid, if slightly uninspiring act whose rare quiet moments revealed a great singer and technically proficient drummer. The thirteen year olds at the front of the pit loved them though and began moshing in earnest, fuelled only by their musical passion and what, I assume, were their first ever beers.
The next act was Blitz Kids who went on stage, bizarrely, to X Factor-esque dramatic build up music and enough strobe lighting to neutralise most epileptics. Interesting, angular guitar melodies and galloping drums didn’t quite hide the fact that the frontman, for all his arrogance, couldn’t really sing. He pushed the thirteen year olds onto even higher levels of chaos though and was so keen to interact with them, rushing towards them and even taking off his shirt, that he may soon face a hefty jail sentence.
Suddenly, however, before the headliners’ appearance, the place was rammed. Knox’s entrance was met with heady excitement and, in something you wouldn’t guess from their piercings and tattoos, female fans bizarrely reduced to shrill, screaming girls.
The band showed their intent for the night with a strong opener filled with howling vocals and furious drum fills. The song’s choruses were big, helped by three simultaneous vocal lines that showed off some impressive harmonies without descending into Beach Boys territory. The frontman was fantastic. He was confident but still warm and engaging and his eager gratitude for the fans and solid stage banter got the whole crowd going.
Standout tracks were definitely ‘Lighthouse’, which has a great military-style drum shuffle and lovely vocal melody, and ‘Ocean’, with its moody, chromatic riffs, effective jumps in dynamic, and glittering guitar coda.
However, too often I found the choruses big but vacuous, while impressive guitar work was lost in excess distortion. Variety was rare but sorely needed as I started to struggle to distinguish between songs. By the time the band came on for an encore, energetic as it was, I had had enough. Live performance great, music…less so.
Overall, amusing as the foray into long haired pop-metaldom was, I’ll stick with the short back and sides, thanks.