Not every gig begins by interviewing the headliner, so from 6pm, the night was on a special trajectory. I’d chatted to Joe, the frontman of Beauty School, who had butterflies in his stomach (the happy kind) ahead of this huge hometown show at The Key Club.
It was due to be noisy, colossal and sweaty in equally-enjoyable measure, with four bands on the well-curated billing. The first of which was Coping, a local screamo outfit that gave me huge Parkway Drive vibes. They belonged on a stage in such a rock-oriented venue, and their hit track, ‘Chapters’, was immense. That scorching guitar solo alone was something else.
But if Coping weren’t enough of an appetiser before the main event, Frank Grimes and The Disasters were second support. They have more available to stream, and announced too that a new EP was fairly imminent. They’re absolutely for fans of Alkaline Trio, so they brought another layer of harsh-riff feistiness.
Despite having interviewed them over email and voicenotes during the pandemic, the last time I saw Artio perform was October 2019, when they supported POLO at Belgrave. But wow, they were captivating then but they’ve levelled up. They now perform as a four-piece and know how to deliver eardrum-blistering, high-voltage electro-rock. It’s thrashing, thudding and floor-shaking, yet they’re up there, full of beans, having a blast and engaging with a crowd that couldn’t be relishing every second more.
Their set included some very important and relevant messages about the devastating impacts of transphobia. As vocalist Rae put it, “Getting people’s names and pronouns right is suicide prevention”. While this band can seriously shred and served us biblical bangers like ‘Queen Cobra’ and ‘I Can’t Sleep’, they speak to fans with pure kindness and respect. You need to get tickets to their next spellbinding show ASAP.
With a Shania Twain segue on the speakers, Beauty School came on at a grand time indeed. The room was heaving and buzzing, and the very commanding band members were just delighted to be there. You could tell. They’d earned their place at The Key Club tenfold.
They unveiled lots of killer tracks from the upcoming debut album, ‘Happiness’ (out 9th September), while ‘Silver’, apparently the first record they wrote together under their current moniker, was such a tune! ‘Taking It Slow’ was still my highlight though, and the room was positively bouncing. Energy by the bucketload.
Beauty School are very much the new kids on the pop-punk block; the hot topic. And they’re the ones you want to befriend, too, as they’re fronted by charismatic, smiles-all-round Joe.
Ultimately, the five-piece were visibly grateful to be there and have the support of the packed-out Leeds venue. And they grinned as they announced that the closing bop, ‘Pawn Shop Jewels’, was their storming outro. The path is very much laid out in front of this band and they’re on course for a momentous career…
With special thanks to Siobhan Connor of Public City PR for the press entry