Live Reviews

Review: Boston Manor, Microwave, Drug Church + Wallflower at The Key Club, Leeds

Boston Manor have been labelled a pop-punk band, but placing them in a bracket that’s typically been declining in quality and originality for the past five or so years just doesn’t seem fair; the Blackpool quintet are absolutely at the top of the scene by a mile, and their show at The Key Club proves it.

The band have taken three fantastic punk bands on tour with them, and it’s a testament to fans of this style of music that the venue is packed out as Wallflower, the first support, take to the stage. The crowd is riveted by their atmospheric, intense rock, and Drug Church get everyone moving with their energetic punk and hilarious stage banter. Microwave are up next, and they have plenty of fans in the audience; they lead many sing-a-longs and the excitement for when Boston Manor take the stage is palpable.

Dramatic red lighting descends upon the room, signalling the band’s entrance to the stage – it perfectly fits the aesthetic of their recently released album, Welcome To The Neighbourhood, and they begin their set with the title track. It’s a gloomy, atmospheric number that somehow manages to remain incredibly catchy, with a chorus impossible not to sing along to – as proven by the crowd, who instantly surge towards the stage with raised hands, welcoming this band who have been hailed as “saviours of the pop-punk scene”.

Every single song, old or new, sees the entire room turned into a mosh pit; the front portion of the venue is full of bouncing, energetic fans and the middle sees wave after wave of crashing bodies and crowd surfers. This is typical for The Key Club, which is well-renowned for brilliant audiences since it’s the home of Slam Dunk, but Boston Manor’s crowd has a fervour, intensity and excitement that’s difficult to beat. The band’s fans are undoubtedly dedicated and genuinely find joy and something to relate to in their music.

Standouts from their latest album are ‘Stick Up’, ‘Bad Machine’ and ‘Funeral Party’, all of which are received with such fierce enthusiasm that they may as well have been old favourites from twenty years back. Frontman Henry Cox is incredibly charismatic; his vocals are perfect throughout the whole set and during ‘Funeral Party’ he stirs the room into a complete frenzy, encouraging everyone to form a huge circle pit and then jumping along with everyone.

Drummer Jordan Pugh is truly the backbone of the band and their beating heart; he shines the most during old numbers such as ‘Lead Feet’ and ‘Burn You Up’, pounding through each song as the audience sing-along particularly emotionally. The Blackpudlians finish their gargantuan set with fan favourite ‘Laika’, and the emotional yet addictive ‘Halo’, before exiting the stage to the usual cries of “one more song!” but amplified tenfold due to the audience’s ardour. Boston Manor have demonstrated tonight that they’re a band who seem to have experience and stage presence far beyond their years – there are undoubtedly great things ahead for them.

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