The first time Mallory Knox headlined Cardiff was back in 2012; the venue was a cafe-turned-club and no more than 50 people turned up. In 2014 they returned, and they played to about 150 people. Now, in 2015, they play to an almost sold out 1,200 capacity venue in Y Plas, Cardiff. It was about time the Cambridge five-piece returned from their summer playing Warped Tour in the US, and Cardiff gives nothing less than a warm reception. Welcome home, lads.

Scottish group, The Xcerts, can be described with two juxtaposing words: huge and underrated. Huge in the sense that songs like ‘Slackerpop’ and ‘Shaking in the Water’ undeniably belong on headlining shows and in larger venues, and underrated because of the lack of participation in the crowd. The Xcerts are far from home and this is clear from the audience, but their stillness doesn’t stop the band from exerting energy and passion into their performance.

Next up are US pop rockers Set It Off, and their return to Cardiff is greeted with waving arms and high pitched screams. Their existing fans are enthusiastic from the onset, giving the band enough fuel to be the perfect amount of American cheery and cheesiness. This shouldn’t be taken the wrong way though. Their demeanour is endearing and most people seem to be won over by the end.

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The anticipation for Mallory Knox builds quickly. The wait is long, but worth it. The projection of the countdown begins, ten, nine, eight, seven – the backing track starts. Six, five, four, three – the pronounced patriotic British lights illuminate. Two, one, and the curtains fall. Nothing says a homecoming tour more than these visuals.

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If Mallory Knox could warrant a greatest hits, tonight’s setlist would be it. It’s paced perfectly, starting with inevitable crowd pleasers ‘Shout at the Moon’ and ‘Wake Up’, and soothing down the energy ever so slightly with ‘Getaway’. The fans are up for a fun night, varying from young girls to university lads and parents, everyone seems set on moshing and jumping and the way the set has been thought through, it’s not surprising why. Even ‘Oceans’ is thrown in towards the end, the track that is arguably the catalyst of their success to date, apparent from the roars delivered by the crowd when they beginning is played.

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Their performance needs no criticism. It’s tight. They’re talented and the cherry on top of the cake is that they still seem as humble and grateful as they did back in 2012. It seems unfitting that all these visuals are played in university venues. Mallory Knox need to be in arenas, stadiums even. Because, myGod, from tonight’s performance alone, do they deserve it.

Photos by Natalie Lam.