Gig Review

Mallory Knox
Plymouth - White Rabbit
24th November 2013

Mallory Knox  

The Cambridge alt-rock quintet Mallory Knox graced Plymouth's White Rabbit tonight. Having listened to their Debut album "Signals" quite a few times. If you've listened to it as well (and it would be odd reading this if you hadn't) you'll probably agree that it's got a very polished sound and some mature song writing. Needless to say the clean and refined sound puts a lot of pressure on a live performance.

Normally you'd expect a much larger stage with a lot more equipment to help an older band secure such a sound. With high expectations I struggled to get near the stage of the sold out venue, more packed than I've ever seen it. There was a massive cheer as the band took to the stage, eliminated only by a small red light. Opening the set with "Hello" it was immediately obvious this wasn't going to be one of those gigs where the vocals were turned down and buried. In fact Mikey Chapman seemed to get his vocals to climb above the band and the crowd with ease.

The sound seemed pretty spot on, even off to the side well away from the sound desk. "Wake Up" followed with its beefy opening guitar riff coming off far more powerfully than in the CD. With the crowd clapping along and the sound close to that of the CD with a bit more umpf and a bit more character, it was off to a flying start. "Misdemeanour" kicked in big, with Guitarist James Gillett standing up to the crowd on one of the speakers at the front. The set slowed down for a moment as they played "Maps" off the deluxe version of "Signals", as the guitars where a bit quieter it was then that I noticed just how hard Dave Rawling was smashing away at the back of the stage. "Beggars" picked up the pace again and got the crowd attempting to jump up and down, however there wasn't enough room so it was more like a sporadic Mexican wave of heads. Mikey unleashed a bit more of a scratchy vocal tone remising of Dave Ghrol. The set carried on in a pixies style "Quite, Loud, Quite" with "1949" and "Wolves" following.

The energy continued on and off stage, and it was clear to see the band were enjoying it with the grins on their faces. A friend of mine always calls Mallory Knox "Average" whenever I'm listening to them, but if I had to pick one person to be at the gig with me it would have been him over all the friends of mine that are big fans. Simply because I know after the gig he wouldn't refer to them as "Average" again. The sheer force of Joe and James guitars shocked me, with a beasty tone like that and the anthems vocals of Mikey reminds me of Not Advised's gig at SlamDunk 2011, or Young Guns. Each with clean yet forceful vocals over a wall of sound, and no top of that each is impeccable live. Throughout the set Mikey's control over the crowd was simply effortless, getting the crowd to wave along with tracks and put their arms round the people they most love to sing songs with them, throwing in a few words between tracks maintaining a good flow through the set.

Taking a step back to the bands 2011 EP "Pilot" for the next two tracks kicking the set up a notch. Mikey swivelling his finger round and saying "I want you guys in the pit to go around and around" was enough to get a circle pit going wall to wall in the middle of the room. Prompting the rest of the crowd to sing the "Woah Woah" found in the latter part of "Oceans". The lights dropped as "Resuscitate" followed with its heavy guitar and dominating bass, not to mention having the entire band jumping around in a more lunatic fashion than before, in a show that was far from short of energy on the stage. The lights mimicked strobes further emphasising the flurrying on stage. Sam threw in some fantastic harmonies in the backing vocals in-between bouncing around the stage or standing on the speakers.

"Signals" followed with its scratchier vocals before the band performed the new track "Ghost in the Mirror" with its heavy drums and roaring guitar. The set finished in the intimate and energetic manner it had all the way through, with James hi-fiving crowd members a faultless sound and the crowd singing there heart out. The vast crowd cheered for more with a half hearted effort as everyone was aware they were going to come back, especially given "Lighthouse" had yet to be played, but the second the band started to take the stage there were screams that were literally painful to hear. The encore started with the soft "Creeper" featuring another epic blast from Sam's pipes. Not to mention the power and emotion in Mikeys voice as it breaks into the big long notes. No matter wither there playing the softer slower songs or their faster heavier tracks the sound was truly phenomenal. Getting the crowd to hold out lighters or phones up in the air and side to side.

What better way to end the set than with one last explosion of energy for "Lighthouse" which the band were recording a video for. With its catchy bass and peaks and troughs. There were a few crowd surfers being pulled on to the stage and away to safety, with everyone else singing the chorus at the top of their lungs. With the whole band bouncing around the stage, with James and Sam still managing to find something left in the tank in spite of barely being still. Sam dove into the crowd, whilst Mikey stood on a speaker leant right out into the crowd holding himself up using the ceiling overhang.

The show had so much energy, intimacy and a bit of humour as well but above all else exceptional sound. It's hard to find a fault in the set, and having written it out I'm finding it difficult to justify only giving the band four out of five. There have been some great bands in the White Rabbit, and the venue's been much emptier than that, and when asked most of the crowd said they'd seen Mallory Knox before. I will be again. Hopefully before they outgrow that type of venue.

Mallory Knox 4/5

Review By Marc Rich

 Mallory Knox

Mikey Chapman
Joe Savins
Sam Douglas
Dave Rawling
James Gillett

 Band Related Links
Mallory Knox Facebook
 Review Score Code
- Top Cheese
- Brilliant
- Pretty damn good
- Ok I guess
- What Was That?