Opening the night are Glasgow four piece rock act ‘Fatherson’ as frontman Ross Leighton emerges alone instantly grabbing the room’s attention with a gently strummed guitar and belting vocals before soaring through a set of powerful emotive rock. They are a band I have championed since discovering as the opening act of Enter Shikari’s tour in 2015; and fortunately they seem to have made an impression on Norwich this evening with an even more honed offering than previous with their brand of commanding radio rock. The set is built of tracks from their two impressive releases 2014’s ‘I Am an Island’ and 2016’s ‘Open Book’ and absorb the room with punchy drums, clear yet gritty guitar tones and perhaps one of the finest falsetto vocals you will hear within the genre. Tracks such as ‘Hometown’ and ‘Always’ sound truly huge and capable of filling far larger venues however; it is the closer ‘Lost Little Boys’ which feels like a statement of intent – ‘we’re just lost little boys making a name for ourselves’. This is a fitting closing line as it capsules their integrity and humble approach perfectly; this is band with no gimmicks, just brilliant songs that will inevitably see them reach headline status as they continue with their hard working ethic.
Continuing with the theme of powerful emotive rock, Cambridge natives ‘Lonely the Brave’ take to the stage to deliver a set that is less about performance, but prominently on the power of the songs that carry cohesion and immersion. The band open with a bang with the dirty Thrice esque ‘Black Mire’ and follow it with another recent cut from 2016’s ‘Thing’s Will Matter’ with ‘Dust & Bones’ – a prevailing rock anthem blending ethereal verses with a charging chorus. It is a testament to the value of great song writing that lead vocalist David Jakes resides behind the guitarists and does not utter a word to the crowd, yet the audience become further absorbed in their shoe-gazed sound that comes from the heart, the emotion of these songs truly pour from the stage from his phenomenal voice. Aside from the energetic ‘Radar’, it is inspiring that their performance becomes furthermore powerful whilst keeping a continuous pace throughout; as the set builds to the crescendo of ‘Backroads’, and closer ‘The Blue, The Green’, it is clear that they have well and truly converted any of those in the room who had not previously witnessed their prowess.
Certain bands are truly made for a live setting, and whilst this is already a coherent theme of the evening, Mallory Knox arrives to cement this sentiment. If you were ever of the concern that their brand of radio pop rock may be targeted at a more youthful demographic, their live sound puts this ideal to bed immediately as they tear through an energetic set that is rock n’ roll by definition: loud! This is a pristine performance with a sense of clarity and sheen, from the large MK light up stage scrims, to the use of space consumed by each band member clearly having the time of their lives.
New tracks from their fresh release ‘Wired’ are a confident addition, being placed early in the set and receiving a response as if these have been tour tested for years – ‘Giving it Up’, ‘Wired’ and ‘California’ are surely to remain in their set for the long term. ‘You are on it this evening Norwich!’ – front man Mikey Chapman addresses the audience with effortless confidence and charisma after delivering track after track of impassioned performances with his soaring and soulful voice. He is a vocalist clearly at the top of his game who manages to achieve participation from the crowd in a commanding yet humble manner. Classic trademarks of a rock show are here in full effect, such as Mikey asking the crowd to sit down on the floor, before jumping up together in unison during the raunchy ‘Lucky Me’ kicking off James Gillett’s guitar solo.
It is striking how rapidly the band’s set moves ahead, creating an emphasis of how many great singles the band have released across just three records; there are merely brief pauses between these tracks for the audience to catch their breath. Whilst tonight’s set mostly consists of light-hearted fun, moments before the bands closer ‘Saviour’, Mikey addresses the audience with a political speech about unity which is noted as particularly poignant after the events of today’s terror attack in London; it is a sincere and respectable homage as he sings “so won’t you raise your voice, stand up and stamp your feet, we’ll march together ‘til dawn in our new masterpiece”. After guitar feedback resonates across the room and the lights dim for a few short moments, the band return to the popular encore of ‘Lighthouse’ and current single ‘Better Off Without You’ to a wild response of crowd dancing and singing – these are arguably the biggest choruses of the night.
The quality of all bands who performed tonight were stellar and gave everyone great value for their money. It is further proof that the UK is currently producing some fine rock bands capable of long careers that will undoubtedly span nationwide.
Three British rock bands showcase their fine musicianship and songwriting skills.