Live Review: The Hara / Jason Allan / Wolforna – Key Club, Leeds 23/04/2022
Key Club is the host this evening for The Hara’s UK Headline 2022 tour. The Hara are an alt rock band who, in spite of the pandemic, have gone on to increase their listeners and profile dramatically over the last few years, securing radio plays and also getting that blue tick on social media. They are currently in the middle of a 16 date headline tour, with several festival appearances booked over the summer including Download and they have recently announced their slot at ‘Rock For People’ in the Czech Republic this June.
First band of the evening is Wolforna, a Leeds based four piece rock band made up of Jack Crabtree (Vocals/Guitar), Adam Whittaker (Lead Guitar/Vocals), Alex Waite (Guitar/Bass) and Theo Fieldhouse (Drums). With the venue already pretty full, it was a decent crowd for them to perform to and they definitely held their own. Performing a range of style tracks with strong vocals, guitar riffs and drums they showcased their ability to perform up beat hard rock tracks with mid level tempo tunes. Before their last song the lights went out completely, ensuring they had their own mini encore and they ended their set throwing drum sticks into the crowd with them taking time out to thank fans personally as they left the stage.
With Wolforna’s set now complete it is time for the main support, the entertaining Jason Allan, who has supported The Hara throughout this UK tour. Entering from the rear of the room in a bright jumpsuit, Jason commands the room whilst remaining self-deprecating throughout claiming it’s OK if fans don’t know the words. As part of his set, there was a cover of Sam Fenders hit ‘Seventeen Going Under’ which was well received and he managed to blend a high energy set with lots of bouncing around the stage, with a stripped back slower paced song during which he sat on the edge of the stage. Towards the end of the set he started a mosh pit in the middle of the crowd – a sure-fire way to really get them going!
So now we await The Hara, comprising singer Josh Taylor, guitarist Zack Breen and drummer Jack Kennedy. The crowd are loud in their appreciation as Zack and Jack enter stage first, followed by lead singer Josh. I’ll be honest and admit their new EP ‘We All Wear Black’ has been on my playlist since its release at the beginning of this month, so this was a gig I was very much looking forward to. Listening to it in the car full blast, it’s definitely something that would sound great on the radio, but I knew it would sound immense live and I was in no way disappointed. The Hara claim to be genre-fluid (their own words) but I’d definitely say they have a sound of early Panic!, vibes of My Chemical Romance and then some Bring Me The Horizon thrown in for good measure. Starting with the strong ‘Black Soul Ceremony’ the crowd are enthusiastic in their noise and singer Josh from the very start has the crowd in the palm of his hand.
Josh is a true showman, commanding both the stage and the audience, managing to make full use of the venue with stage presence, crowd surfing, mosh pits, standing on the bar and swinging from anything that is within reach. But The Hara is not just about the frontman, both Zack and Jack support fully and are extremely competent musicians – there were times when both drums and guitar erred on the side of drowning out Josh’s vocals, but it didn’t feel like a negative thing, it merely gave them chance to shine as individual musicians and shine they very much did. There is a true camaraderie between the three when they are on stage which really comes across, even Jack who is somewhat stuck behind the drum kit!
With a 12 song set, they played all songs from the new EP – ‘Fool & The Thief’, ‘Die In The City’, ‘Domino’, ‘Black Soul Ceremony’, ‘We All Wear Black’ and ‘Afterlife’ scattered with a few of their older hits. For me, ‘Domino’ was a highlight – the emotive lyrics coupled with the almost anthemic chorus was truly a pleasure to hear live, but equally I can see all songs from their EP being hugely popular. With an outfit change for Josh in the middle and a quick lipstick application for good measure, before I knew it we were into the closing songs of the night. The night finished on a high with the last song of the encore being the hit ‘Animals’ – with a bouncing crowd, rowdy mosh pit and strobes aplenty, what a way to end a great night!
There’s only a few more gigs left on this particular tour (tickets here) but with several festival slots lined up and an almost certainty of a bigger tour next year, this band are definitely going places.
Black Soul Ceremony
Until It Happens
Die In The City
Fool & The Thief
We All Wear Black
Off The Edge