Photo by Jen Alvarado
It was a freezing night in late April in Brooklyn last Friday when multinational rock band the Boxer Rebellion
pulled into a packed house at the Music Hall of Williamsburg to wash away our never-ending winter woes. And wash away our woes they did for an hour and forty minutes of pure rock and roll bliss. This band which hails from Tennessee, Australia, and England laid down anthemic sounding rock with shades of Arcade Fire, Fleet Foxes, and the Joy Formidable all while making us forget for just a little while that the unforgiving wind and harsh temperature were waiting us just outside. This band has been growing in recent years, and they had a simply captivating stage presence that should secure them even more fans in the years to come.
I can't quite muster up the same enthusiasm for folktronica trio Canon Blue
. They were technically proficient and impressive with their instruments. It was often very entertaining trying to figure out just how they were generating all of the effects they used to create their enveloping sonic texture. However, unlike say Dustin Wong, their technical wizardry didn't necessarily translate into consistently entertaining music. They often felt like a band grasping for an identity, sliding in and out of folk, electronica, and noise rock without every really emphasizing one aspect or creating a unified whole out of the trio. There were several inspired moments during the set where the band seemed to find its groove and a sound where they were most comfortable. But Canon Blue could use some time to polish their music and find out exactly who they are.
I was front row for the entire evening and not only did The Boxer Rebellion (whose energy didn't flag once the entire set, even during their four song encore) lay out tune after tune of great jams, they had a commanding energy on the stage. Whether it was lead singer Nathan Nicholson (who bears an uncanny resemblance to Zachary Quinto aka the new Spock) making his way into the audience to sing and play his guitar in the crowd or lead guitarist Todd Howe stepping to the very edge of the stage and playing his guitar behind his head or the bassist wailing away on cymbals when he wasn't slapping the bass, this band kept the audience on its feet the whole night (not that you can sit in the Music Hall of Williamsburg anyways). The first song of the encore "No Harm" proved to be the biggest crowd pleaser of the night with the entire audience joining Nicholson to make it a giant sing-along. If you haven't found this London-based band yet, give Boxer Rebellion a few spins. We think you'll be pleased.
We've also got some pretty exciting footage of the band performing at our SXSW show last year.