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We are Kings - Cockpit, Leeds, 16/9/2009

  by Kelly Smith

published: 21 / 9 / 2008

We are Kings - Cockpit, Leeds, 16/9/2009


At the Cockpit in Leeds, Kelly Smith finds We The Kings' enthusiastic blend of punk pop infectious and compelling

The evening started as so many others have before, I’m sure you’ll all agree. A girl in the toilets yelled to Tanya that she was going to be sick, then asked if Tanya wanted to come and watch. Tanya declined, and I think she made the right decision. I didn’t hang around to offer her my support in the matter though, since the first support band, the Maine, had apparently been and done their set whilst 90% of us were still queuing around the block. The moral of that story – get places on time. And bring a hat, because it was raining. Once we were out of the rain, and had stopped going “these drinks were only four quid! Brilliant!” we only had a few minutes before We The Kings danced their way out on stage… Literally, with guitarist Hunter Thomsen clearly loving the chance to express himself in Yorkshire’s direction. First track ‘Skyway Avenue’ started a frenzy on the dance floor, with frontman Travis Clark displaying a kind of energy that never fails to be infectious, like a really happy disease. Every time the lights flicked round the crowd, every person there was smiling. The music was fast, and tight, and nothing was lost in translation from record to live music. A cover of ‘Feel Good Inc’ by Gorillaz was an unexpected but seriously well received intermission in their set. Probably surprising given their own style of music, but We The Kings are clearly a band who take music very seriously, and interpret and appreciate genres way beyond the usual pigeonholes. Hunter took to the mic (inexplicably stealing his guitar tech’s baseball cap in order to perform) and rapped his heart out – it’s clearly a direction they should explore in the future, because it was probably the highlight of the whole evening. Travis knows how to work a crowd up, probably something he’s learnt from touring with bands such as the Academy Is and Cobra Starship, and We The Kings have the potential to become every bit as successful. Album tracks such as ‘Whoa’ and ‘Secret Valentine’ (apparently the “sexiest song ever written” according to Travis) caused mayhem, arms raised and drinks thrown in careless enthusiasm as the band put on an ultimately brilliant performance of what they do best; pop music with bouncy riffs and passionate vocals. On the lethargic sounding ‘This Is Our Town’, however, most people appeared to migrate towards the bar, showing We The Kings haven’t quite earned the credentials necessary to slow an evening down when people came to dance. As is customary, the last song was the one everyone had been waiting for. ‘Check Yes Juliet’ didn’t disappoint, everyone in the room being under an unspoken agreement to retain their energy for the last three-minute burst of sound. Drums nearly drowned out by teenage screams (I’d guess that I was about four years older than anyone else there. Depressing times) the final track exploded at speed, reminding everyone that whilst this time they may have paid to see the Academy Is, We The Kings have designs on being headliners next time around. Travis mentioned halfway through that “each and every one of us is having the best night of our lives”, and it didn’t matter that he was lying, or that he’d said it to Manchester and Cardiff as well. We The Kings are the kind of band you believe are having the best night of their lives, every single night, and who are we to argue with that ?

Picture Gallery:-
We are Kings - Cockpit, Leeds, 16/9/2009

We are Kings - Cockpit, Leeds, 16/9/2009

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Interview (2008)
We are Kings - Interview
Kelly Smith speaks to Travis Clark, lead singer of excitable Florida-based pop punksters We The Kings, about touring and his band's just-released and self-titled debut album

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