To Kill a King return to where it all started this evening. The band are no less than alumni of Leeds University and Leeds local frontman Ralph Pelleymounter begins the gig by reminiscing about earlier days when they would have to drag along all their friends to watch them play. However, tonight could not be further away from a slightly reluctant going-out-of-friendship crowd. Since then – of course – the songs have become louder, the band have become more confident and the shows’ supportive friend to true fan ratio has taken a plummet.
Most strikingly, the band look genuinely happy to be onstage. They play a varied set ranging from the deep ends of their discography while turning an amp or two up for their most recent record, The Spiritual Dark Age. All go down well regardless of the ranging style, although To Kill A King are arguably at their best during the faster paced moments. The album’s title track (the “one about religion”) is a highlight with its candid lyrics and generous dose of band harmonies, along with a heartfelt cover of ‘Zombie’ in a homage to the rock stars gone before them.
Despite the modest venue, an enthusiastic gaggle of loyal fans more than makes up for the lacking numbers. They find a way to dance through every song which I didn’t think before possible considering the band’s heavy folk sound. Watching the band and the front row of ardent fans reminds me of how music and bands can resonate with us in ways that we simply cannot explain. This feeling reaches its pinnacle at the end of the show when half the band decides to jump down from the stage into the pit of people. They stroll around half singing, half reaching out to people for a friendly embrace. It’s clear that this here is a people’s band. The crowd respond joyously to the interaction and do not hesitate to join in with the borderline moshing efforts of the band. It’s a fitting end for a band that radiate so much warmth; To Kill A King sure know how to win a crowd.