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Enola Gay @ Key Club

On the 28th of November of last year, I sent a (possibly inebriated) Instagram DM to Irish punk band Enola Gay: ‘Come to Leeds lads’, to which they responded, ‘We’ll come back one day!’. After a series of unfortunate timings, I’ve missed out on seeing them on multiple occurrences. So, nearly a year later in Leeds’ Key Club, I truly meant it when I screamed to my friend Sophie ‘I can’t fucking believe I’m seeing them!’ at least ten times throughout the night. 


Since the release of their first single The Birth of a Nation in 2020, the band have steadily been growing a loyal following; their first EP Gransha gained them recognition from the likes of Rolling Stone, NME and even an endorsement from Iggy Pop as ones to watch. With the release of their latest EP Casement, the quartet, as confrontational as ever, aren’t afraid of the growing number of eyes on them.  


Supported by local Leeds indie band The Colliers, Enola Gay proceeded in their usual fashion to platform local bands from each city they perform at. The band were met with a crowd worthy of them - Key Club’s audience was just as unruly and frenzied as their set. In typical fashion, Enola Gay took the damage to sound equipment by frequent stage invasions and dives throughout the night in their stride, brushing it off simply as “all a bit of craic” on social media.   


Enola Gay wasted no time in warming up the crowd and instead hit the ground running from the moment they stepped on stage with instruments distortedly blaring in that perfect ‘I might have just lost my hearing for a week but it's worth it’ kind of way.  


It's clear that live performance is an integral part of the group’s identity: their passion and emotion are not contained to studio recording. This was particularly evident in their performance of PTS.DUP - a song inspired by a sectarian attack on guitarist Joe McVeigh in which frontman Fionn Reilly loomed over the audience bellowing out the hook, ‘is burning flags meant to be part of your identity?’ with as much of his characteristic ferocity as ever.   


Aside from fan favourites and tracks from the Casement EP, the setlist was half made up of new, unreleased songs. The band made the bold choice of both opening and closing the set with unreleased music – clearly no let down to the audience. A couple of these songs hinted at a shift to some more electronic experimentation in the future, following their collaboration with DJ Mount Palomar on the track tera firma.  


Here’s the part of the article where I admit that the mix of excitement and adrenaline meant I probably wasn’t wearing my most sophisticated reviewer hat - or maybe I was, but it fell off in the pit. I guess that in and of itself is a testament to the gig.   


The band’s flawless blending of rock, shoegaze, rap, punk, and even moments of folk balladry within the span of one set while somehow managing to make it work only further demonstrated their deftness and versatility; proving that the sky really is the limit of how far the quartet can go.  


For me, this gig truly has been a long time coming and has only sharpened my excitement for Enola Gay’s future endeavours, or more so, has cemented that I really never will shut up about them.   


Words and Photography by Ciara Parsons (she/her)


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