+ Bloody Knees
@ The Deaf Institute, Manchester
Black Foxxes have become incredibly well known in a very short amount of time, releasing their debut EP ‘Pines’, in 2014, after only a few months of playing together as a band. It received amazing feedback and Black Foxxes have since gone on to play at Reading and Leeds and Download Festival. They are now on their headline tour, beginning in Manchester, following the release of second album Reiði, which was named as one of Kerrang! Magazine’s ‘Album’s Of The Week’ in March.
Black Foxxes main support tonight is Bloody Knees, an indie-rock band with punk undertones who look as though they’ve been plucked straight out of the 90’s. Very much guitar led, they’re delivering some good, grungy songs. I like how they are all relaxed whilst performing, almost taking on this Nirvana-esque persona, especially on ‘I Want It All’. Lead singer Bradley Griffiths acts very much like Kurt Cobain during that track, and even the bass riff if reminding me of ‘Lithium’ or ‘In Bloom’. It’s not a complete rip off though, which is what makes it work. Bloody Knees do it just enough so that it sounds familiar and welcoming. As their sets gone on, they’ve definitely grown on me. There’s too many indie bands in today’s music scene that they’re all starting to sound very much the same. But, by injecting a bit of punk here, some sprinkling on grunge there, Bloody Knees have managed to define themselves from the rest.
Opening with ‘Breathe’, Black Foxxes kick off the first gig of the tour with such attitude and force. The Deaf Institute is packed out, with people even spilling out of the door. Black Foxxes are here to play loud and fast, to give everyone an injection of good old rock music. I find Mark Holley’s vocals strange and hard to get used to at first. He adds this shake onto each word that he sings, sounding almost strangled and out of breath- similar to Frank Iero. However, during ‘I’m Not Well’, this effect fits perfectly.
‘We’ve only ever ended with that song, so it could be anti-climactic’, jokes Mark Holley. That’s definitely not the case. Black Foxxes are showing everyone tonight why they have blown up so quickly. Usually it takes rock bands years to get to where these guys are, but Black Foxxes made their move at the right time. I can definitely see them lasting a good while as a band. Their show tonight is incredibly good. The first show of the tour can always be the most nerve-wracking to play and to watch. But playing a mix of already loved songs and a handful off the new album means that everyone is having a good time.
‘This song is just chaos, so enjoy’, says Mark, as the teeth chattering drone of Tristan’s bass fills the room, introducing ‘Joy’. Chaos it is, as halfway through the song, Mark whips out a megaphone and starts shouting the lyrics into the crowd.
Black Foxxes have delivered a gig tonight that has incorporated so many great elements. Hit songs? Check. New songs to promote the album? Check. Funny jokes and banter interspersed throughout the set? Crazy strobe lighting? Crowd interaction? Check, check and check. They could not have started their tour off in any better way than to lead with a fantastic, powerful first gig.
Thank you for blessing our little ears in Manchester guys, you should be very proud of what you are achieving.
Words: Victoria Hicks
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