On a sweaty Saturday night, The Key Club as literally steaming as THE HARA and their two support acts took to the stage (the bar, the ceiling…) to put on one massive show. It was the black-soul ceremony they’ve always promised fans…
As I entered the room, you could feel this magnetic energy even from 7:30pm as Leeds locals, Wolforna, hooked the crowd and got everyone’s energy levels soaring. There was screaming, a lot of heavy riffs and even drumsticks tossed into the hands of beaming faces after their set.
It was hard to get deep into the thick of things because it was packed. The band had done a stellar job of bringing people out for the night and getting them bouncing around to their tracks. I’ve generally ranked ‘Harlequin’ my favourite of all their songs, but ‘In His Dreams’ was seriously impressive live. ‘Writing On The Walls’, which came out at the beginning of April, was a clear winner, too. If you’re searching for the next up-and-coming Leeds outfit to check out, jot Wolforna down and place them at the very top of your must-see list. Pure fire.
Jason Allan, who played with a touring band, was the main support. This is a rising individual who’s garnered a growing following through social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram. And after playing smaller venues, including The Poetry Club at Glasgow’s SWG 3, this is a far heftier crowd to entertain.
Through a Sam Fender cover, us spectators became more in sync with the performance and you could hear uproar as new, on-the-cusp-of-being-released material was delivered in bop-along-to-it style. There was even a phone-torch-in-the-air moment. Jason Allan was eager to meet people afterwards at the merch stand, and it painted a picture of how the fanbase has been increasingly building — especially with the slightly younger demographic who are very much enjoying resurgent emo phases that were around in the early 2000s.
Tunes between sets never fail to keep everyone pumped and excited at The Key Club. From Audioslave to Enter Shikari, Slipknot to Alien Ant Farm — what a mix.
9:20pm came around and there I was, in white boots for THE HARA’s Leeds leg of the ‘We All Wear Black’ tour. Why not? Over the past two years in particular, despite the pandemic’s relentless taunting of the music industry, the trio has seen an incredible skyrocket in popularity. THE HARA now have more festivals on the billing for 2022, both in the UK and Europe.
Josh, Jack and Zack put on a frantic performance. The drum kit changed position on stage, there was palpable anticipation in the air and then demonic, almost possessed dancing and movement ensued as they rolled out all the bangers. ‘Black Soul Ceremony’ fittingly came first, then ‘Die in the City’, ‘Fool & The Thief’, ‘Circus’, ‘Bite Down’ and ‘We All Wear Black’ were total hell-raisers throughout. The reactions from ‘Afterlife’ and the newer ‘Domino’ were clear indications that the more thought-provoking pieces really resonate with fans just as much as the chaotic electro-rock anthems they’re so known for.
There’s one thing in common with every rock gig in Leeds: people turn out for a mosh pit. And they got a lot of them on the night. Meanwhile, we saw Josh singing from hunched atop the bar, behind the audience, hanging on the pipes of the precarious ceiling and even sliding across them after crowd-surfacing. Does it get more raucous? Post-clothes-change, we also saw Josh don a leather skirt and apply lipstick and a feather boa for added impact. THE HARA were visibly in their element, and there wasn’t an ambivalent person in the venue.
Drum and guitar solos mixed the dynamic up at different times, then there was a built-in encore ten minutes before the set ended. THE HARA proceeded to thank the crowd and stated that it had undoubtedly been “the sweatiest night of the tour”. They wrapped up with ‘Friends’ and shared some parting words before the mic fizzled and cut out. Sign of a wild one? You bet.
With thanks to Wolforna through Scruff of the Neck/Slam Dunk for the press access