On the 5th November we were at the O2 Academy in Oxford to see a great line up of talented bands, boasting rock, indie and pop genres. Amongst those bands, headliner and one of Spilt Milk favourites ‘Leader’, for us to be seeing these guys at the O2 Oxford, where we’ve seen some of our favourite bands, was so exciting!! These guys have been working hard for years and we couldn’t wait to see them perform!
To start off the night, first support act to take to the stage was 4-piece rock band, Delirium. Great start to their set with catchy sounds, in particular their second song which had the audience engaged, with that demanding beat, energised rhythm and catchy lyrics “higher higher; my hearts on fire” making this their standout track. Their set consisted of new material like ‘Sometimes’ and a cover of ‘Deadliest Catch’ by Lower Than Atlantis, great song choice but maybe not the sing along these boys has hoped for, with the lead singer even forgetting part of the first verse. The rocky edge to his voice was well suited although distracting at points when he’d be constantly changing the texture of his voice throughout the song. Their sound was good and mostly masked the unfortunate fact that their on stage presence was lacking. Towards the end of the set they played ‘6 Past 2’ which showcased their rocky vibes and re-engaged the crowd.
It’s obvious these boys are passionate about their music but I do feel thy have a long way to go to polish up their act. Hope these guys stick with it; it’ll be good to see how they progress and mature their sound.
Up next were the 4-piece indie Additives, bringing in the crowds these guys raised high expectations. Starting their set with an upbeat track with catchy lyrics ‘break your heart’ that got stuck in your head and had the crowds attention. These guys as a whole were a lot more energized and their on stage chemistry made these guys a good band to catch live! Flowing into their next song, a track with a similar bouncy sound and indie beat that had you involuntarily tapping your foot. Continuing to engage with their crowd these guys were making topical jokes about bonfire night with a snippet of Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’ that had the crowd in a good mood for the rest of their set. Some of the songs that followed really boasted the range of the leads vocals, matched with catchy lyrics, although their sound did feel slightly repetitive. Ending on the strong ‘Too High To Come Down’ ended their set with distinctive guitar and with the lyrics ‘didn’t you notice me’ resounding in your head.
The last act before Leader was the incredibly talented Club Drive, and boy are these guys what it says on the tin! With a stage presence and energy that had you dancing from the go, their infectious pop-y sound had the whole crowd moving and singing along to each track. Catchy upbeat tracks, that reminded us of other bands like Walk The Moon, got a great response and even had the crowd clapping along from the first song!
Tracks like ‘Dangerous had you head bopping to that refreshing beat, blended with stunning harmonies that highlighted these guys would sound just as good stripped back. ‘Overthrown’ started off slower building up from that rocky edge, perfectly layering their sound and topping it off with catchy “ooooh oohs” that fuelled the crowd. This was definitely one of my favoite tracks. Ending their set on a high, these guys got that massive applause they deserved. These guys were so charismatic and that reflected on the crowd who were having an absolute blast! I don’t know what I expected from these guys but I was so impressed, and these guys were perfectly placed on the line-up to introduce that high energy that set the tone for the rest of the night.
To no surprise local band, Leader had the floor packed out with the crowds wooing eagerly in anticipation for them to take to the stage!
These guys kicked off the show perfectly, hooking your attention with enticing guitar and a great on stage presence that mirrored their catchy sound with hints of influence from Lonely The Brave. Flowing into their second track with strong vocals and catchy lyrics “take it back” that were lifted by their full sound. Other tracks slowed the pace slightly with softer vocals that made for a good sing-along, whilst up keeping those energetic slices that emphasized the tight chemistry the band have. A set full of tracks that boasted just how good these guys are, layered sound with some additions of keyboard and harmonised vocals to add depth to that already well balanced sound. ‘The Way You Do’ bought something different to the set with softer acoustic guitar that had every inch of my attention on that beautiful rhythm; a sing along to the chorus that proved how big their fan base already is, and a guitar breakdown made this a standout track for me. Up next was thier new single, ‘Chasing You’, catchy guitar and a dance-ier beat had the crowds going crazy and they weren’t the only ones, with the band pogo-jumping non-stop! After a leaving the stage for a couple of minutes, the crowd were religiously chanting for Leader to re-join the stage for their encore the track that started up with instant clapping and a sing-along throughout! What a strong way to end their set.
Leader are hitting the scene hard this time and with a fanbase this big already it can only grow with their touring and new infectious tracks.
Overall these guys were incredible! A well polished delivery and upbeat set that hooked the crowd’s attention from the start, I enjoyed every second of their it and will definitely be seeing them live again!
AUTHOR: BECKY WOODS// PHOTOS: COURTNEY BROCK