PLUS: A WORLD AWAY CRAUFURD ARMS, MILTON KEYNES. 30.01.16 METEORIC BRIT- ROCKERS HEAD DOWN THEIR LOCAL BOOZER TO CELEBRATE THE VENUES THAT MADE THEM
WORDS: JAMES MACKINNON
PHOTO: IAN COLLINS
■ LOOK AT a map of the area, and Milton Keynes National Bowl stands as an imposingly huge space, where legends worldwide have slayed thousands on its stage. Metallica, Green Day, Foo Fighters, Linkin Park – the list of bands who have trod the Bowl’s stage makes it clear: only the biggest and best need apply. However, it’s not in places like that where legends are formed. It’s in small places like The Craufurd Arms, down the road, where you can see the whites of a crowd’s eyes that greatness is born, something Mikey Chapman is keen to emphasise as his crew tear up their old stomping grounds for Independent Venue Week:“without places like this we would all have very little,” he declares mid-set, sweat dripping from his mop.“let’s keep them alive.”
It’s a point finely illustrated by Milton Keynes natives A World Away.though it’s only their second- ever show, the tight chemistry and impassioned choruses displayed in their emo tunes proves a promising start to their journey.and though Mallory Knox are now used to venues 10 times this size, they’re immediately in their element as the electrifying Wake Up whips the crowd into a frenzy. Even with a basic rig, their visceral energy is more than should fit in the room, and at this distance you can see bassist Sam Douglas’ mile-wide grin as huge sing-alongs fall like rain on Resuscitate and Getaway.
As a surging Lighthouse closes the evening, with Mikey leaning headfirst into the heaving throng, it’s clear Mallory Knox have long outgrown small places like this. But it’s bittersweet, transformative moments like this which these walls are built for. And it’s what makes them so special.