Mallory Knox at Rebellion, Manchester, 23/04/2018
As far as crazy years go, Cambridge alt rockers Mallory Knox can already pretty definitively take the crown! Following the shock departure of their previous vocalist, the remaining four-piece had to rebuild the entire structure of their band from the ground up, a task many believed to be nigh on impossible after almost a decade cutting their teeth and carving out an esteemed place for themselves as a staple of the British rock scene. But Mallory Knox have pulled off what many thought to be a near miracle, and have been reborn as a rewired, re shaped but infinitely stronger unit, with a renewed record deal and a new album already in the works. A chance to celebrate this triumph with those who had supported them through this transition -their fans- was definitely in order, and so the band set out on a tour of intimate UK venues, packing out each one with legions of fans who never once doubted the commitment of the newly formed quartet.
Kicking off proceedings following hearty support sets from indie punks Judas and rising alt rock stars Dead!, Mallory Knox launched straight into their latest single ‘Black Holes’- and it went down a storm! The effervescent guitar line provided a welcome compliment to the dark melancholy of the lyrics that perfectly captured the spirit of the restructured four piece- the past year’s events had affected them and their music, but they had become a base on which to rebuild, not something that held them down. The passion and ferocity of the crashing tsunami of a chorus that adorns ‘Ghost in the Mirror’ displayed the vocal talents of bassist-turned-frontman Sam Douglas, proving that he could more than handle the soaring vocal melodies of the band’s older tracks. Indeed, many of the older songs on the setlist sounded revitalised- the multi-layered ‘Shout at the Moon’ had a sense of vitality re-injected into it in the intricate noodling guitars that led into the second verse and the soaring melodic chorus, while the tumultuous rumbling shockwave that is ‘Wake Up’ hit you like a bowling ball to the guts, such was the fire and passion with which it exploded from the amps, blasting through the intimate space with the force of rocket fuel!
The smouldering crunch and groove of ‘Sugar’ and the squalling guitars and surging melody on ‘Better Off Without You’ cemented Mallory Knox’s genuine rock star calibre, and when, at long last, a mosh pit opened up for the band’s landmark single ‘Lighthouse’, a forest of waving arms and strained voices accompanied the fist-pumping arena-ready anthem of hope and salvation that resonated more poignantly than ever that night. A beautiful moment of camaraderie came when the entire crowd sung a surprisingly melodic rendition of Happy Birthday in honour of the bashful guitarist Joe Savins, and the chorus of voices that rose up during the spine-tingling ‘Getaway’ was a poignant reminder of the spirit of the fans that have buoyed the band through their rocky patch and given them the fire to keep making music and playing shows and sharing such magical moments with their adoring fanbase.
One thing is for certain- Mallory Knox have undergone a phoenix-like transformation, reborn from the ashes of a potential collapse, full of a renewed fight and ready to take the world by storm! If the taste we received of their new material is anything to go by- a frustration filled middle finger to their ex-frontman, titled ‘Psycho Killer’, and the more restrained but no less impactful ‘Livewire’- this is a Mallory Knox who are set on proving that sometimes, less is more, and they’re not tapping out for a long while yet!
Mallory Knox have a host of festival appearances lined up for this summer, including sets at Teddy Rocks Festival and Y Not Festival. Full details can be found on their website at www.malloryknox.com
Connect with Mallory Knox on Twitter: @malloryknoxband