Live Review: City Reign at Kentish Town Bull and Gate – 19th November 2011

By on Monday, 28th November 2011 at 2:00 pm

Editor’s note: I would have gotten this review on the site earlier, had I not succumbed to some sort of cold / lurgy that took me out of commission for a couple gigs and that made me lose my voice (!) so apologies. Photos now on here as of 03/12/2011…

Due to planned engineering works over the weekend (thanks every so much, TFL) I arrived just in time for Manchester-based four-piece City Reign‘s set but missed both the openers. Next time. But no matter: as you probably have guessed if you’ve read my coverage on them, I was really there for the headliner. I feel a bit smug to say that I tipped this band nearly a year before Steve Lamacq did; these days you can hear the band’s single ‘Making Plans’ on his 6music drivetime programme. Firstly though, I want to clear up a few things that were explained to me in detail on this evening. I had thought there were 2 bandmates from London and two from Manchester: false. Singer/guitarist Chris Bull and guitarist Michael Grice are from London, that is true. Bass player Michael Glaze is from Brum and not Manchester; their new drummer Duncan Bolton is not English at all, he’s Scottish! This all came down to me as a startling revelation, but I suppose if you consider that Manchester is a hotbed of creative musical energy drawing young, eager musicians like moths to a flame, it’s not surprising they ended up in Manchester and quite happily so.

City Reign have a new EP out called ‘Numbers for Street Names’, released this past Monday (21 November) so essentially this show was the London launch party. ‘Making Plans’ is the most recognisable tune by far on this night (not surprising with the plays it’s gotten so far on 6) and it goes down a treat (watch it below). Being a ‘young’ band they haven’t been around all that long, so their set, while sounding great, is too short. Here’s to hoping to more songs being written, recorded and released to the general public very shortly.


After ‘Daybreak’ received a rapturous reception, the band paused. That was all that was on their original set list. But then Bull quipped, “since you were all so well behaved and you’re nice to your mothers”, they were going to give us another song. Called ‘Tired Eyes’ (I think that is the name; I didn’t recognise the title), it was a nice way to end a rousing and spirited night.

It was obvious that this London hometown crowd have adopted “City Reign! La la la!” as their fight anthem. I don’t think you really have arrived until you have your own football chant. Maybe “arrived” is the wrong word. City Reign are here and I hope they will be around for a long, long time.

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