Date: September 24th, 2019
Venue: Gorilla, Manchester
Support: In The Cards / Led By Lanterns
Though undoubtedly new bands are popping up to the forefront more often than ever, thanks in large part to the internet and streaming popularity, it also seems like we’re hearing news of bands calling it a day more often too.
Unfortunately, one of the more recent acts who’ve decided to throw in the towel are Cambridge outfit Mallory Knox, who after an uncertain year or so following a line-up change seemed like they were lit with a new burst of life with the recent release of their self-titled fourth (and now final) record. In turn, their UK tour to promote the album has also turned into a farewell stint.
Before it’s time to mourn the impending loss of another band, however, we’re greeted with some fresh faces in alternative rock. Opening up are Stoke-on-Trent’s In The Cards  who have just a few songs to their name, but a debut EP is just a few weeks from release. After a subtle build-up, the band burst in with ‘Thoughts Colliding’, a song which showcases nice and early vocalist Amy Colclough‘s impressive range and powerful delivery.
As the set progresses, the quartet steadily find their feet and seem to feel more confident on the stage, which admittedly is a little bit encumbered with equipment from the acts to follow. Still, that doesn’t stop ‘The Only Thing’, ‘Mazes’, and recent single ‘Disguise’ from standing as evidence then there’s some true promise and potential here.
Led By Lanterns  are a lot more energetic and outgoing with the growing crowd before them, but though their pop-rock tunes are catchy, they mostly lack the bite or hooks sharp enough to reel you in wanting for more. Still, you’ve got to give them credit for making every effort to get the crowd jumping and singing along to songs that a lot of the room don’t know just yet.
That’s not a worry for the whole set though, as they bring out a cover of Dua Lipa‘s chart invading single ‘New Rules’ that could easily find its place on a Punk Goes Pop compilation. Though you could argue that it comes off a little cheesy and a by-the-numbers pop-rock/pop-punk cover, you’d be hard pressed not to find someone singing or smiling during it.
With a whole decade under their belts, Mallory Knox  take to the stage for one final performance in Manchester. This could very easily be a set that’s full of gloom and misery, but instead it’s a cause for celebration for the career that they’ve created and built for themselves for the past ten years, which the fans have created fond memories to cherish for as long as they wish.
Of course, plenty of cuts from the new album make their appearance tonight, for the first and likely only time for the fans before them. ‘Black Holes’ and ‘White Lies’ both carry the organic rock swagger that they emanate on record, and despite it not going to be given the time to grow and flourish going forward, it’s easy to see that ‘Heartbreak Lover’ could’ve become a set staple and live favourite.
‘Shout At The Moon’ gets the room shouting back its chorus refrain, and it’s at this point in the set that the die-hards and more dedicated fans open up a pit in front of the stage, which whacks a grin on frontman Sam Douglas‘ face. We eventually go way back to their 2011 EP ‘Pilots’ when they bring ‘Oceans’ out of the bag, which doesn’t seem to have aged one bit – in fact, if anything, Douglas‘ voice over ex-vocalist Mikey Chapman‘s gives it a new lease of life.
It’s the one-two closer of ‘Lighthouse’ and their chart-bothering number ‘Better Off Without You’ that brings the last burst of life from the crowd, and, from the start right up until these closing moments, the band don’t once appear that they’re going through the motions. They don’t once look like a band who are saying farewell because it’s what’s expected of them, but that it’s what they want to do.
Whether you were ever onboard with Mallory Knox at all during their career or not, what can’t be argued is their presence will be missed, and that it’s a shame to see them join their also defunct peers We Are The Ocean and Lower Than Atlantis – all of whom burst to the forefront and were some of the biggest names in alt rock in the early to mid-2010s. Thanks for everything, boys.