The K's @ O2 Ritz Manchester 02/02/2020

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Pic: Andi Callen Photography

The O2 Ritz Manchester is rammed. I was wondering where the younger rock music fans were these days and tonight I’ve found them. The K’s are from Earlestown, Warrington and I suspect that nobody is getting any baby sitting done there today as all the 14-16 year olds are in Manchester.

Having already been warmed up the excellent SYFTA and Narrow Margin (who set the bar very high with their set) you can smell the Lynx body spray from the photo pit. I’d love to see the bar figures for this show as most of this crowd are drinking water!

The K’s are a hot ticket and widely tipped to be the next break through act from the region, especially now they have the might of Alan McGee and his Creation 23 label and you can see why. Searing guitar driven indie-rock with smatterings of The Libertines, Arctic Monkeys, The Skids and early Jam thrown in.


Jamie Boyle stalks the stage, spitting the lyrics whilst Ryan Breslin carves out vast swathes of guitar, fuelling the fire like a modern day Stuart Adamson, as evidenced on Glass Towns. The rhythm section of Dexter Baker (Bass) and Jordan Holden (Drums) are tighter than a ducks arse, setting down a platform for the twin guitars to layer the melodies wave after wave. This is high octane music and the energy just sweeps the crowd up and deposits them back down, as the drums crash and the bass loops and soars. I’m sweating just watching as the fans just crowd surf and girls are hoisted onto willing shoulders. It’s January but you’d be fooled into thinking that it is Summer festival time, bear chested youths, beach balls and an inflatable rodeo bull all take turns in being bounced around the expectant party crowd.

There is no apparent sign of nerves despite this being their biggest headline show to date. The mere fact that this show has sold out without releasing an album, on the strength of four very strong singles, Glass Towns, Aurora, Got A Feeling and Sarajevo, which all get an airing tonight, is remarkable. The fans greet each unrecorded track with the same fervour, singing the lyrics learnt at previous gigs with gusto. I can’t remember the last time I saw so many happy smiling faces this early in a bands career, except for possibly The Libertines or Arctic Monkeys.


It’s great to hear the Northern grittiness in Jamie’s vocals like Alex Turner’s before and long may it remain so. Encoring with an unreleased song is brave but it’s a necessity when you have so few to choose from and Cry For Me is a great song.

I slip out before the final chords subside as the four take a bow receiving the well deserved adulation of their adoring fans. Part of me wishes I was 18 again as excited faces stream past me outside into the night boarding waiting mini-buses with 01925 area codes. As I head off towards the tram I’m accosted by pirate merch guys selling unofficial K’s t shirts. I think these boys are going to be make it.

Words & Pictures: Andi Callen. All rights reserved.

The K’s headline Manchester Academy on Sat 17th Oct 2020

Buy tickets here