For the first, and almost certainly last, time Cambridge indie rockers Mallory Knox performed at The Booking Hall in Dover. Playing the penultimate gig of their 'Final Tour', the four piece band, that have only just recently released their new eponymous album, made the trip down to the ever topical sea port to say a fond farewell to their fans.
After a decade of making music together, Mallory Knox have made the tough decision to call it a day. "After ten years, four albums and countless tours it's time to announce that Mallory Knox has come to the end of the road", said a statement from the band on 9th September. So, with the hum of HS1 beside them and within a (great) stone's throw of the sea, the four men rocked up to say thank you and goodbye.
Before Mallory Knox there were two support slots from local boys The Alchemy, and secondly Brum's Led By Lanterns. The Alchemy's lead singer Rhys Taylor knocked over his mic stand before he'd even played a note but things went a lot smoother as soon as they'd found their groove. With their new album 'Chemical Daydream' due out next month, the Canterbury quartet were out to make some new friends.
Rhys and fellow guitarist Luke Welch made for an entertaining watch even without the music. With a nod from Strictly the pair continually honed their co-ordinated 'kicks and flicks' as they both swung out vigorously on each key percussive beat (I'm sure even CRH would have been impressed). They played loud and proud as they tore through 'Diamond Bones', 'We're All Just Criminals', a very impassioned 'Give Me The Sky' and finally the imminent album's title track in a succinct seven track set.
Led By Lanterns followed The Alchemy onto stage shortly afterwards and did a great job of enlivening the audience. Lead singer Shaun Hill cavorted about the stage and continually encouraged the crowd to "jump, jump". Guitarist Chris Lanterns gave enthusiastic support, even wearing the band's merch onto stage. "You can keep it, for mates rates, £!4" Shaun quipped. They entertained the gathering crowd with their biggest single yet, 'Alive', 'Smokescreen', 'Composure', and mid-set, a definite surprise. Led By Lanterns inspired version of Dua Lipa's 'New Rules' was a cover worthy of a 'Live-Lounge' airing.
With the time fast approaching for Mallory Knox to make their way to the stage, the atmosphere within the tight confines of The Booking Hall grew with anticipation. Almost as if a heavyweight boxer were about to enter the ring for his title decider, Europe's 'The Final Countdown' played out to announce the arrival of the headline act. Mallory Knox took to the stage and took no time at all in getting about their business.
2017's single 'Sugar' opened the 12-track setlist that included both old and new material. The first sing-a-long of the night was provided by 'Shout At The Moon' and the first explosive performance provided by one of the bands earlier tracks, 'Beggars'. Sam Douglas confessed that he was "still ill"; the band having had to cancel dates on their final tour due to sickness, but unlike Guildford where he'd only managed seven songs he played the entire set.
Mallory Knox celebrated the evening with tracks from their fourth, and last, album playing out a thumping 'Wherever', a fully-charged 'The World I Know' and finally the anthemic 'White Lies'. Throughout the evening, Dave Rawling's drumming was mesmeric, a man possessed, a whirling dervish of controlled mania driving the time perfect beat. Sam stood solid at the front despite his malady and more than once took time out to thank all before him for their support over the years, for giving the band the opportunity they've had and for coming out tonight for their 'Final Tour'.
The night was brought to a climax and a close with two tracks from Mallory Knox's debut album 'Signals' with a whipped up, pulsating and punishing, 'Wake Up' a more considered but just as penetrating, 'Lighthouse' and finally, as a parting gift, the venomous 'Better Off Without You'.
There was no encore, no gushing farewell speech and little sign of any emotion from the band themselves as they left The Booking Hall stage. There were a few tears shed by some of the more devoted fans and there were pleas, in vain, for "One last song" but the show had ended and so nearly, with the exceptions of their Bedford gig to come, had the life of Mallory Knox.
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