The Mine venue, right in the bowels of the Leeds University Student Union, is the ideal place for an intimate show. Amongst the warren of different sized venues in the same building, this is the smallest with wood panelled low ceilings and a barrier within jumping distance of the stage. It’s perfect for tonight’s plethora of American alternative bands on the Rise Of The Runaways Tour; something which is rare, believe it or not on the touring circuits these days, where venues are either too empty or too over-crowded, cramped and sweaty.
Alive Like Me bring boyband charm mixed up with saccharine pop-punk riffs in equal measures; the reaction toward this- the first of three support bands, is a compliment to the energy they begin with despite the fact it’s still early in the evening.
In the same way the first band could easily have been the little brothers of All Time Low, Dangerkids are perhaps a more sprightly version of Linkin Park for the younger generation. With something a little different going on compared to most newer bands around at the moment, their electro infused rock/rap undoubtedly showcases their influences, however Dangerkids have put enough of a stamp on things to make it their own- and they do it well. Paper Thin is the track that sticks, straight in from the drum beat intro, it sends the small crowd all kinds of crazy. Frontman Tyler Smyth wastes no time in telling the crowd this is the band’s first time in Europe, and judging by the reactions of the majority during their short set, it definitely won’t be their last.
Set It Off are in a league of their own completely and have experienced their fair share of hype since the release of their second full length album, Duality, in October last year. Cody Carson (vocals) is full of charm, and their catchy, dance-driven rock beats even appeal to just a small aspect of the most sceptical audience members’ music tastes, no matter how extraneous. Kicking off with the theatrical The Haunting, before songs like Ancient History and the bitter Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing (which very much makes some well-known children’s nursery rhymes no longer child friendly) later in the set, these are the high points right until the end… In the way that the band who penned it are in a league of their own, Set It Off’s final song, Why Worry carries the same torch; from start to finish this R&B/rock/gospel-esque mash up has the crowd jiving around, clapping along and in their absolute element.
The opening clicks of Oh, Catastrophe permeate the dark as the lights go down, and vocalist Andrew Velasquez starts singing before he has even made an appearance on the stage. This is the last moment of serenity until Crown The Empire have finished up doing their thing. The band plunge into the title track of the tour and their album, Rise Of The Runaways, before taking on all three parts of their Johnny trilogy; the rapturous Johnny Ringo, Johnny’s Revenge and Johnny’s Rebellion tumble over the crowd one after the other, with barely a breath from the instigators. There may be six people on this tiny stage, but it definitely doesn’t feel that way, with each person turning the lack of space into an energy rather than making into the issue it could so easily be. Machines is the epitome of Crown The Empire musically, before even factoring in the lyrics that make for the biggest crowd sing along of the night. Makeshift Chemistry is a fitting encore and the band can then leave, confident in the knowledge they’ve left Leeds reeling on this frosty Sunday night. Next UK stop for Crown The Empire: Download!