Live Review: Chasing Dragons @ Key Club Leeds

Support: Pulverise, Sertraline

Date: 29/02/20

Take it all in, for this is the final show of the story of Chasing Dragons. This would be possibly the great show of their careers, it was rowdy, energetic and downright crazy (some might say a touch clumsy from Adam, but that’s because when he came back on stage from the crowd, he immediately crashed into Kate’s drumkit and destroyed it) but enough of the spoilers, this last night, their farewell Leeds show was a triumphant look back into just what makes Chasing Dragons such a great band to experience live and from this, a celebration of just what the independent Hard Rockers have been able to achieve over the last decade together as a band.

Turning things up to eleven from the very start of things were Rap Metal Partycore (at least this is what they go by on their bio) heavy hitters, Pulverise. This was my first time experiencing this band live and wow, they were just a joy to watch! Everything just seemed to flow naturally for this band but it did look as if you were tripping through half their set because that’s why it was so great to watch. You just never really know what you’re going to get from some bands you see for the first time. High energy riffs and headbanging all around, what more could you want to get things going in the Key Club?

Moving onto the main support of the evening was the Progressive Mettalers; Sertraline. I did have a quick chat with another attendee on the evening, saying that this band were probably the more technical band on the evening and I do have to say that description was fairly accurate. Still, though, the rhythm sections of the band were perfection where the solos cut in to delve into the mix very well. In this, Lizzie’s vocals were tuned almost to perfection where some of the changes from the scream vocals to the clean were lacking as they weren’t as smooth as others in the set. Apart from this though, my only complaint is that their set wasn’t longer because they were pretty fun to watch but I think maybe they gear towards a younger crowd as I think they could’ve gotten a little more out of the audience, especially with their energy output. Still, I’ll be happy to attend a headlining set in the future which I can’t wait to see.

Now after an anxious wait, Chasing Dragons came onto one smoky but thunderous applause, especially with the appropriately named, ‘How The World Went Black’, to open up their set. Powering through some energetic riffs we’ve all come to know and love, especially where ‘Bare Knuckle Lover’ and ‘Parasite’ (Not at all connected with the Oscar-winning 2020 film of the same name) are concerned. All of this is made captivating by a mix of things; Tank’s vocals which just sound absolutely pristine as she leads the fold, which then goes into Kate erupting behind on the drums where you can just see her slamming away and enjoying every moment, then you have riff master Adam who looks as if he’s about to go ballistic tucked away onto the left hand of the stage but from here, it’s as if he’s cooking something truly spine-tingling and last but not least the deep grumble of the one and only man (but not the only one with facial hair on stage tonight) with some glistening facial hair and even more badass on bass; Murf moving into some slyly duotastic moments with everyone on stage.

Switching things over (into an out of tune guitar at first) to an acoustic part of the show, where Tank did dedicate ‘Bravery, Honestly’ to her wife was just so touching and amazing to witness where you could see her stage presence is unmatched, even if a larger band playing on this stage. Not only did she perform that track, but she also performed Shinedown’s ‘How Did You Love’ and you just can’t imagine anything better right now. The intimacy that came with the timing of these tracks in the set is something that’s really lost on a lot of bands but here, Chasing Dragons deliver a gut-punching few acoustic treatments that just beats anything I’ve seen this year so far and quite possibly, within the last few years.

That wasn’t the end though as they kept pulsating through some crowd-pleasers, ‘For Kingdom, For Glory’, Throw Down For King’ just blow everyone away and surpass the expectations that have come to be expected from this band tonight. There was some crowd surfing going on (This is where I said enough of the spoilers so apologies for the repetition in advance) with Tank and Adam but with him, he immediately loses his balance and crashes into Kate’s drumkit, where she just has the most shocked face on in the world and you have to wonder, the look she has on, is it one of ‘Oh no, not again’!, as if he did it on the previous night as well. But nevertheless, Adam soldiers on and marches straight back to his feet, as if he’s Kyle Reece sent back to protect the bands set if this was a musical Terminator film (which would be interesting to watch, now that I think about.)

The last two tracks Chasing Dragons would ever play you ask? Well, that could only be ‘Spawn Of The Succubus’ and ‘Devil In Her Eyes’. I think it dawned on everyone there, no matter what the energy was during these last two tracks (both were high octane, as it should be) is that they have gone above and beyond throughout this set and lived past expectations of an unsigned band as they should be but now, this will live in the bands memory, or at least Tank’s as she declared, (and I can’t remember the exact word for words she used so don’t hold me to this) that ‘This is my favourite show ever’. And it’s not hard to see why; it’s a packed house, some moshing, high energy and right at the end of the set they bring out the Champagne, of which they got me good! And when I say they got me good, they hit me right in the face with it! It’s a good feeling right there I do have to say. Hopefully, all the band members will spin off into some different musical projects because the talent every individual member has, it would be a shame if they didn’t.

Rating 9/10

Live Review: New Years Day @ Key Club, Leeds

Support: Call Me Amour, Lowlives

Date: 18/02/20

New Years Day, February 18th 2020. The date of the first international band I saw this year and my first (of what I’m hoping will be quite a few appearances of mine) the Key Club in Leeds. I was so happy this was my first Leeds show of the year because it was honestly; near perfect! I’d been waiting a few years to see New Years Day, the first being Slam Dunk Festival a few years ago, the other a few months ago but other commitments held myself back from being in attendance on the dates closest to myself. I’ll say this, they didn’t disappoint!

First up on the bill are the dark electronica with distorted guitars and iconic melodies, this can only be Call Me Amour. Cards on the table, I was roughly five minutes late for their set because it took a while to get everyone in but straight in and straight to the point with the bands for gigs, that’s what you want right? Well, that’s exactly what Call Me Amour did, get everyone up and moving slightly, venturing out to communicate with the audience but they only possibly hit about half their capabilities with everything. Their energy though, there’s no doubt that they were infused with it.

Heading into the faster grooves on the night, Lowlives describe themselves as in your face and you can certainly see why. From the point of the inception of their set and they go a little crazy, enough to see that they do mean business here yet give a fresh perspective into the scene. Looking from my perspective, the audience did take to Lowlives a little better than Call Me Amour but I think its because part of their whole look is genre-defining and bending to rekindle the flame and get you truly warmed up for what’s coming next. Nevertheless, what you can see is this band just gaining a legion of followers, even though they’re not the headlining band… yet.

Now, New Years Day. They were formed in 2005, and hail from Anaheim, California. The band consists of Ash Costello on vocals, Nikki Misery on rhythm guitar, Frankie Sil on bass, Max Georgiev on lead guitar, and Zac Morris on drums. They started on Myspace and released their self-titled EP in 2006, then their first full length My Dear in 2007. Since then, they’ve released three EP’s and two full-length albums. Straight away, the audience roars and you can tell this set is going to be a success unless it just blew up in their face via Instagram (where they were streaming the performance on the evening). Also, this is the very first UK headlining tour the band have ever done, so you can expect things to get a little crazy, such as the band moving into the audience to gain a better perspective of everyone.

What’s more, is that tit’s hard to believe that this is the bands first ever UK headlining tour. I mean sure they’ve supported but they play as if they’ve been made for headlining shows. ‘Kill Or Be Killed’, ‘Fucking Hostile’ and ‘Shut Up’ all play key roles in their setlist whether it’s to get everyone moving, their horns in the air (for which everyone kept them all in the air for at least one track). The band have been around for now what will be fifteen years by the end of 2020 and now they’ve headlined the UK, we’ll be begging them to come back for more and just like with every other Post-Hardcore band, we won’t let them go that easily.

Above all else, Ash Costello and co made everyone feel welcome. This wasn’t your usual crazy output of things but this is where you have a sense of belonging within the scene and that’s just a beautiful thing to be feeling and massive well done to New Years Day for making everyone feel loved and included on the night because it felt more personal when Ash Costello shouted it but it’s more than that as if a family was coming together out of all of this.

Rating: 8/10