Music Critic Hannah Vernon reviews the K’s Birmingham show at the O2 Academy on the 11th March, describing it as having ‘an infectious crowd and exuberant environment’

Written by Hannah Vernon
Awkward bibliophile and complicated wreck. I panic! in every conceivable location, especially in Second Year English Literature - what a shame my mother hates my prose ;)

Pushed right to the barrier as the lights flicker, all you can hear is ‘Up the K’s! Up the K’s!’ Chanted throughout the show, this is an apt way to summarise my post-gig thoughts, and reflect on one of the liveliest atmospheres I have experienced. Audience attention was increased tenfold throughout as the band encouraged the most infectious – at times raucous –participation, and the crowd complied during every song. Immense credit is due here to The K’s for achieving this level of consistent engagement without encountering a single lull moment.

Beer explosions and a surge forward from the crowd began immediately

Preceded by The Kairos and Seb Lowe, with a rendition of ‘Rolling in the Deep’ from the latter offering a particularly memorable pre-show moment, opening track ‘Got a Feeling’ set the tone for the rest of the set. Beer explosions and a surge forward from the crowd began immediately. The band certainly matched this enthusiasm onstage. Hardly two songs in and bassist Dexter was dared to drop his trousers. Frontman Jamie and guitarist Ryan meanwhile enjoyed frequent departures from the stage whilst playing, much to the delight of fans who claimed photos with them. ‘Glass Towns’ was played shortly after this first visit to the barricade, and coincided with the appearance of a sizeable moshpit; this reopened periodically throughout the show.

Despite not having released an album yet, support from the audience was incomparable. Jamie remarked on how incredible it felt to play for a crowd, miles away from their home in Earlestown, who are so committed to their music. This resonated most, I believe, whilst playing ‘Hometown.’ Despite being written specifically about their home, these specific highs and lows felt particularly relatable. The same can be said of ‘TV,’ a very accessible reflection on the people we dreamed we would grow up to be, and the impact of television on our self-identity. Lyrically, The K’s are striking in their moments of profoundness. ‘TV’ I found to be a welcome surprise in its insightfulness and self awareness. Latest single ‘Hoping Maybe’ evoked similar emotions, a sense of longing for someone that we do not yet know but yearn for their love and support. Reactions to this song being introduced offered insight into just how many people might empathise with the sense of loneliness described. I found this to
be a beautiful example of how, despite the energy of the crowd failing to decrease at all, many people relate very strongly to these lyrics.

Despite not having released an album yet, support from the audience was incomparable

‘Valley One,’ the only song where the band were less active on stage and in rallying the audience, is another highlight lyrically. More akin to a ballad, only Jamie and Ryan occupied the stage to sing and play the keyboard respectively. This was the first of the encore to be played, followed by a shift back to their more upbeat sound with breakout song ‘Sarajevo.’ Once more the moshpit gathered, and ‘Sarajevo’ provided the perfect anthem to close the show. Preceded by another descent to the barricade, this final song perfectly encapsulated the energy of the band as matched by the crowd, and their commitment to audience interaction.

I think that the genuine joy visible from each member of the band at being able to perform with such an infectious crowd is what I will take away most from this show. With a new single on the horizon, I am excited to see what is in store for them in the future, and hope to see them again in an environment that is just as exuberant.

I will be repeating ‘up the K’s!’ for the foreseeable future. ‘Up the K’s! Up the K’s! Up the K’s!’

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