Review + Photos: KONG @ O2 Academy – Sheffield

It’s been over a year now since upcoming Sheffield locals, KONG, released their first EP titled ‘Fake Tan and Desperation’, and things are looking up and up for the four piece.  In 2016 they’ve won Exposed Awards best unsigned act, been chosen to perform at the allusive Sheffield ‘Tramlines Festival’ and now they’ve played at Sheffield’s 02 Academy, supported by fellow local bands The Mayfairs, Oddity Road and Inner State.

The theme of the night was youth, and at 18 years of age, I can very rarely say that I’ve felt old at a gig. Yet here I felt like a teacher at a school disco, especially for the supporting acts who all blasted out a similar blend of indie-punk to a very young looking crowd, with Alex Turner’s influence upon his hometown being made very clear in the sound and aesthetic of these acts, clad in leather, brogues, and mod haircuts. Although none of these bands particularly stood out; with some of them looking no older than 15, it was a fairly encouraging sign for the future of local music in Sheffield, with a very passionate crowd who kept dancing and frantically bouncing throughout.

The main event, however, was KONG. The band released their usual raw and aggressive sound on the, by this point, much older crowd, and the crowd returned that feeling, and a youthful, yet more mature energy filled the room. Particularly impressive was their frontman Connor Lindsey who brought liveliness, passion and irrefutable charisma to the stage, and it was clear to see why this band has been receiving a lot of hype recently. The hype which had, of course, brought the band their Exposed Award for best unsigned act, which Lindsey very humbly showed off halfway through the set. The trophy had been very proudly placed by the drum kit for all to see, a token of their recent successes. A highlight of the set was when the band brought out a guy in a gorilla costume they named ‘Little Kong’, who then proceeded to jump into the crowd and cause havoc for the rest of the show.

Another treat to be had, was the four piece debuting songs from their new EP ‘8 Ball Pool’, and the progression they have made as a band was paralleled through the fantastic reception for the new tracks. ‘The big KONG’ was how Lindsey referred to his band, amidst a plethora of expletives, and ‘the big KONG’ packed a big punch. Their sound was perfectly suited to the smaller size of the venue, and not one soundwave got lost, as a wall of volume attacked the crowd. What ensued was racket, sweat, under-age drinking and a gorilla in a high-vis vest that knew how to mosh. The night, a showcase for the bright future of Sheffield’s music scene.

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Review by  Michael Thomas (@MittToTheT) | Photos by Alex Ellis

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