On the fourteenth leg of their sixteen-date UK headline tour, Cambridge rockers Mallory Knox travelled to the south coast to play the Portsmouth Pyramids stage on the 25th November.
2014 has been a massive year for the band, with huge shows supporting A Day To Remember at the beginning of the year, going on to play Reading and Leeds Festivals and then dropping their highly anticipated second studio album, Asymmetry, on the 27th October. Asymmetry gave the quintet their first ever UK top 20 album in the official charts. It has also been revealed in the last week that they will be headlining Takedown Festival in March at the University of Southampton.
Considering how good their new album is, it was very exciting to have the chance to go and see them perform it live in Portsmouth. They were supported by rock trio Fort Hope, emo youngsters Moose Blood, and former My Chemical Romance lead guitarist Frank Iero, accompanied by his band The Cellabration. Fort Hope opened up to modestly small crowd. On a drizzly November evening, it was likely that people were hoping the rain would pass before they queued to see Mallory Knox. They did a good job of warming up the small crowd though! Lead vocalist Jon Gaskin has a great voice but enjoys ruining it in the middle of their songs with unwanted screams. Moose Blood came on next to the distant cheers of some of their diehard fans. The five youngsters had some great tracks but really need to work on their stage presence as all of them were just completely static throughout. Frank Iero then graced the stage from huge roars from the now much bigger crowd, clearly a testament to his days in one of the biggest rock bands of the last ten years. Thrashing his guitar around in a way only Iero can, he got the crowd going with waves of jumping and moshing in the middle of the floor. It turns out that it may not be just Gerard Way who has a successful solo career off the back of the Black Parade band!
The floor was now packed, filled to the rim with loyal, dedicated Knox fans donning their idols t-shirts and hoodies dating back to their debut album Signals and some even further back to their debut EP, Pilot. They walked onto the stage to the UEFA Champions League anthem (all five members are huge football fans) to screams and roars from their fans below. Once the anthem faded, there was a huge flash of light before jumping straight into ‘QOD II’, a bonus track from the deluxe version of Asymmetry, and then straight into their most recent released single, ‘Shout At The Moon’. From the very first note it was obvious that this was going to be an immense night. Frontman Mikey Chapman has clearly got a lot more confidence now than he did even back in the summer at Reading and Leeds, as his stage presence is now authoritative and powerful, whereas before it was slightly hesitant. Couple this with bassist and backing vocalist Sam Douglas prowling the stage at every given opportunity, it would be hard to believe that there was an inch of the stage left untouched.
It is extremely rare in this day and age of auto-tune that an artist sounds just like they do on the record when they perform live – but this was one of those rare occasions. As I mentioned in my review of Asymmetry, Chapman’s voice has an incredible range in the way that he is able to transition from silky soft tones, to hard, rough rock vocals and he proved to everyone in Portsmouth that the voice on the record is purely his and not a computer enhancement. His ability to hit every note and to maintain his vocal performance for the whole evening was admirable and it just went to further prove that my hasty comparisons between him and some of stadium rock’s greatest vocalists may not be too far fetched at all.
This is a band who are only going to go on to bigger and better things, there is nothing stood in their way. Their live performances live up to the high critical acclaim they receive for their records. The energy that these boys provide on stage really gets you going and all you can do is admire them. Every person in the crowd that evening sang along at the top of the lungs to the best of their ability, and I can not imagine that it will long until they will be hearing thousands chant back at them instead of hundreds.
Asymmetry is out now on Search and Destroy Records. Tickets are now available for Takedown Festival, at which Mallory Knox will be headlining, here.