Live Review: His Lordship – Key Club, Leeds 12/11/23

It’s an early start for us. Whilst The Key Club is a fantastic venue with a brilliant atmosphere it’s small, narrow and there’s no pit so for a band as incendiary as His Lordship there’s a need to be at the front.

Local band Jejune open procedings and deliver a great set of energetic rock n roll. New on the scene and with just one single released for streaming they’re songs come with a distinct twist of americana and subtle guitar inspiration from the likes of Hendrix amongst others. It’s hard to pin this band down to any specific genre which, judging by the response from those who’ve made the effort to catch them, is a good thing as every song receives an enthusiastic response.

By the time His Lordship walk on stage the venue has filled significantly. James Walbourne (guitar/vocals) has been a long time guitarist in The Pretenders, drummer Kristoffer Sonne and bass player Dave Page are also now members of The Pretenders. However, together as His Lordship, the energy, noise and atmosphere this band produce is on another level altogether (and I love The Pretenders). Opening with the grinding, garage rock assault of ‘All Cranked Up’ from this point on anyone who might not have seen this band before quickly realises that they are about to witness something special. His Lordship don’t let up for a single minute. Regardless of whether it’s the scorching rock ‘n’ roll that brings together the rawest attitude of bands like The Cramps with a whole heap of Elvis swagger and the absolute best bits of 1950’s hard hitting rock n roll – songs such as ‘Buzzkill’, ‘I Live In The City’, ‘Jackie Works For The NHS’ and ‘Rock, Fall, Echo, Dust’ are relentless slices of what a pure, no frills rock ‘n’ roll gig should be. Whilst Sonne and Page burst with energy it’s the presence of Walbourne that is completely mesmorising. His doesn’t merely sing and play guitar he simply can’t let up. Walbourne is all over the place knocking out riffs that gnaw right through you. His vocals seeth with an attitude rarely seen on stage. Backed by some completely manic bass rhythms and frenetic drums this whole gig is a masterclass in the delivery of brilliant rock n roll. Within a few songs Walbourne is dripping, sweat running down his face and off his chin. He’s completely gripped in his own world of guitar riffs and swaggering moves. Even the slower numbers – a cover of Jack Scott’s 1959 song ‘The Way I Walk’, ‘The Repenter’ and instrumental ‘Sleepwalk’ have no let-up. The pace slows but not the energy with Walbourne stage front, guitar stock inches above our heads as that swaggering guitar solo engulfs the room. Page takes over drums, Sonne takes over vocal duties and absolutely dominates the stage for ‘My Brother is An Only Child’. He’s climbing over Page to stand on the bass drum, microphone swirling through the air. He’s stage front eyeballing the crown. It’s completely insane. It’s hard to imagine what else could make this a perfect gig. Add in a blistering cover of Johnny O’Keefe’s ‘Wild One’ / ‘Real Wild Child’ – probably better known as a song by Iggy Pop and there is nothing, absolutely zilch that can be said to criticise this show. Closing the night with Billy ‘The Kid’ Emerson’s 1955 song ‘Red Hot’ it’s hard to believe 75 minutes have passed and it’s all over. A lesson in what a concert should be from possibly the greatest live band around at the moment.

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