Sitting discretely between Paddy Power and a Barclays bank, you’d expect Headrow House to be a hotspot for washed up gambling addicts, crying into their Tetley’s (we are in Yorkshire after all) because the accumulator they bet their mortgage on didn’t come in. Once you walk through the archway, and into the bar, the experience becomes very different very quickly. Being new to Leeds, we didn’t quite know what to expect. The venue is perfect for a gig though; with Amstels at £3, and a luxury terrace area, which would have been lovely if it wasn’t hammering it down with rain, we found it hard to believe that House Of Pharaohs were playing here.
Even when you’re enjoying your drinks though, you can hear the rambunctious bass pulsating through the walls of the space; the vibrations send your beers flying down the tables you sit at, but this all only adds to the anticipation of the gig. Nestled between the two unapologetically hipster bars Headrow House has, is the venue room, and as you stumble in there, it all becomes clear to why so many bands, djs and rappers want to play here. Low ceilings, dingy walls, and dimly lit lights all contribute to a restless and apprehensive atmosphere - perfect for such a group as House Of Pharaohs. Before any of them even came on the stage, you knew this would be an environment they’d thrive in - their shows in the Capital have been riotous, offering a punk attitude that many acts fail to embrace when their music so effortlessly does.
‘Magic City’ kicked off the proceedings, with the 6 piece bopping on individually as their verses came in; Sam Wise sneaked on in a wavy pair of glasses and a towel over his head - which sent roars from fans, and instantly instigated a mosh to open. The energy that effervesced from the crowd channeled straight into the Londoners, who gave back the same level of passion. All throughout the show, Kevin Taylor and Bandana launched themselves into the crowd, who held them up in biblical fashion; everyone there was fully immersed and evidently worshipped the group.
HOP have been so prolific since the ‘Real Faces’ mixtape that Its easy to forget how many bangers they have. It quickly became apparent on Thursday though that they have a back-catalogue fit for every occasion. Chopping between remorseless tunes like ‘1:11’, and firecrackers like ‘Gang’, both the new and old were celebrated by fans with equal joy. By the time ‘RWM (Run With Me)' came on, sweat was dripping from the ceiling, people were helplessly falling over the speakers and Danny, one of HOP, was out conducting the moshes with the same animation as Antonio Conte when he’s on the touch line of a football match.
Arguably the song that went off the most was ‘Whatchamacallit’, House Of Pharaohs’ recent collaboration with JD. Reid. The track barely reaches 3 minutes, but it took a matter of seconds to summon chaos inside the walls of Headrow House. AJ hung from the ceiling, screaming into the mic, whilst Sam Wise and Blaze prowled across the stage, staring out the audience and testing their vitality by encouraging pits to widen. Despite all the gas, HOP still showed their versatility though a diverse setlist, ‘Cigarette’ managed to initiate a singalong despite only coming out last week, which is a testament to the loyal following the rappers have.
There aren’t many dates left on their UK tour, but if you are considering seeing them, we thoroughly recommend you get down to a show. With London still to come, the performances are only going to get better.