Gig Review by Kirsty Hillyer with Gig Photos by Lee Allen

Mallory Knox

With a four-band line up on a Sunday evening the early doors of 6:30pm were to be expected, however this soon became a 7pm doors opening for this first night on the tour. As we walk through the door into the main room, tonight’s opening act, Moose Blood have just started their set whilst the rest of the huge queue of MCR and Knox fan girls are still waiting to enter the building.

Moose Blood

Moose Blood are the band I am most excited to see tonight. I first saw these guys back in May supporting I Am the Avalanche when their nervous, awkward energy and passionate performance bowled me over in a sea of goose bumps. To a barely quarterly full room it is clear to see that after a summer of shows and consistently great reviews for their recently released debut album ‘I’ll Keep You in Mind From Time to Time’, these guys have grown in confidence.

Moose Blood

Opening with ‘My Own Boat’ from the Moving Home EP they receive a decent cheer and applause from the tiny crowd. This was followed up with album tracks ‘Pups’ and ‘Bukowski’ which is a firm favourite that made it from their last EP to the album. It is easy to see why this track gets a second release as the goose bumps rise again and it makes its nods to early Brand New’s ‘Mixtape’ as it is littered with musical references and literary ones too.

Moose Blood

Moose Blood

It isn’t until they play ‘Hope You’re Miserable’ that singer Eddy Brewerton really brings home the passion on this grungier outpouring, bawling his vocals into the mic. I am a sucker for Moose Blood and their intensely personal and honest lyrics; so maybe I’m always going to be biased but they were the band of the night for me, just needed a longer set and I’ll hold out hope to hear my favourite track on the Birmingham date.

Fort Hope

I hold out little hope for Fort Hope. They brought my prejudicial noose on stage with them and it’s in the shape of logo banner stands. Just because banners are affordable doesn’t mean its band brand appropriate.

Fort Hope

The next nail in their coffin is provided by lead singer Jon Gaskin screaming “Wassup Birmingham?”; sadly this will not be the first and last location fail of the night and as it’s the first night of the tour there can be no forgiveness on this one.

Fort Hope

So, they strike up the music and my hysterical laughter ensues. Nu-metal has returned and it sounds like Brandon Boyd singing a Disney movie soundtrack. Lyrics about flying tonight are completely at odds with the straightforward storytelling of Moose Blood.

Fort Hope

As they play their big single, that has been doing the rounds on the alternative music channels, it is clear the crowd and sadly therefore myself are familiar with ‘The Rapture’. Whilst I find them too amusing to take seriously they are out to put on a show with an engaging front man and guitar swinging action.

Frank Iero and the Cellabration

Next up is big draw of the tour, Frank Iero and The Cellabration. It was clear from the front-runners in the queue that there would be a lot of young My Chemical Romance fans eager to get in close proximity to the band’s former guitarist.

Frank Iero and the Cellabration

As I glance across the crowd through changeover the girls next to me are watching the ‘Joyriding’ video to brush up on what the band looks like and another super fan has drawn a portrait and written a letter to Frank. The former makes me despair, the latter tugs at my heartstrings on the cuteness factor.

Frank Iero and the Cellabration

With a piece of Jazz as their entrance music the expected screams ensue when Frank walks on the stage. Opening with an instrumental track they are a band that leads with a driving bass throughout providing a grunge sound to their often Weezer-esque harmonies on the chorus. Wearing double knitwear action I’m surprised Frank isn’t melting on the stage, whilst he and the second guitarist throw themselves around the stage.

Frank Iero and the Cellabration

It isn’t until the photographers have left the pit that Frank makes eye contact and acknowledges the crowd. Always with a polite thank you and support for all the bands on the bill I imagine it’s hard to balance the expectations of a crowd hoping to hear you play MCR songs whilst wanting to win them over to where you are now. Thankfully none of the crowd actually heckled any MCR track names.

Frank Iero and the Cellabration

They cram as many songs as possible into their set time, with pocket drumming carrying you through from one song to the next. With a late 80s punk and grunge sound they are a band I’m excited to see what the next album will produce.

Frank Iero and the Cellabration

A good chunk of the crowd disperse at this point in order to start the signing queue at The Cellabration’s merch table ; whilst the age demographic is proven by the remaining crowd sincerely singing along to one of the worst Fall Out Boy tracks ‘Light ‘em up’, followed by Paramore and Falling in Reverse but no voice could be found for Jimmy Eat World’s ‘Bleed American’ or the Foo Fighters’ ‘Everlong’. It is for this reason I fear Moose Blood may have fallen on a fair few deaf ears at this show.

Mallory Knox

And it’s headliner time, now I know I haven’t been kind to Mallory Knox in the past but I was prepared for an open mind with this being their own headline tour rather than a festival. In preparation I even let their music videos play through rather than auto skip music channels. Sadly I still feared the worst as they entered on stage to Tony Brittan’s UEFA Champions league theme going into ‘Shout the Moon’ off their new album ‘Asymmetry’, but not before singer Mikey Chapman asks “How’s it going Wolverhampton?”. FAIL!

Mallory Knox

But with the jumping commencing from the off there was little time for the crowd to correct Mikey as his encouragement of the adulation fest saw the hands go straight to the ears in anticipation of the scream. The crowd promptly responded with raucous screaming, jumping and singing.

Mallory Knox

The set list tonight is split equally between their two albums, including the crowd-pleasing singles of ‘Hello’, ‘Ghost in the Mirror’, ‘Wake Up’, ‘Beggars’ and ‘Death Rattle’. Unfortunately they just aren’t a dynamic band to watch live. Lighting is used to create movement on stage that matches the carefully written breaks for that bounce moment that the band don’t heighten with their own actions.

Mallory Knox

I only ever come away from seeing Mallory Knox with a feeling of disillusionment. There is a primary reason for this and its called Mikey Chapman, the rest of the band members are a blur of instrument playing and swaying.

Mallory Knox

When a band has drawn such a following as these guys have I look for the common denominator as to why, so that I can recognise it, even if it doesn’t appeal to me. It enables me to understand the reason behind the adoration. However all I see are a band basking in the hero worship and little reward to being in the audience other than them bringing along good supports on this tour.

Mallory Knox

Mikey Chapman exudes a smugness that leaves me cold. From the finger wiggle to the ear shield as he beckons the crowd to shower him in love; the fact that he once again asks the crowd “Wolverhampton are you having a good time?” and upon being corrected responds with “Do I give a fuck?” shows the character of the man and it isn’t one I like. I fear he could do with some lessons in humility off tour front men Frank Iero and Moose Blood’s Eddy, or entertainment off Fort Hope’s Jon.

Mallory Knox

They end the show with an encore of ‘She Took Him To The Lake’ and ‘Lighthouse’. Whilst I recognise that they aren’t a band for me what I will say is, if you are a fan then the show will sound just like you are listening to them on record and maybe they sacrifice performance for consistent playing.

See the complete photo set on Flickr.

2 Responses to “Mallory Knox + Frank Iero and the Cellabration + Fort Hope + Moose Blood at The Kasbah, Coventry, UK – 9th November 2014”

  1. Gig Reviews | Gig Photography | Interviews | Competitions from Gig Junkies » Blog Archive » Moose Blood at The Institute, Birmingham, UK – 22nd November 2014 Says:

    […] Moose Blood are a band to watch for 2015 and this is why we are back to see them at the Institute on their support stint for Mallory Knox. […]

  2. Gig Reviews | Gig Photography | Interviews | Competitions from Gig Junkies » Blog Archive » Moose Blood + Creeper + The Muskets + Dead End Dreams at The Kasbah, Coventry, UK – 7th September 2015 Says:

    […] year and it feels right for it to be at the Kasbah as the first time I reviewed them was supporting Mallory Knox here at the end of last year. These boys have certainly worked their arses off after going from […]

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