When you decide you like a band, you usually listen to their music, not swot up on their influences. However, if that’s all I had to go on, I would be fairly confident I’d like Boxed In as lead singer Oli Bayston claims they are influenced by Nirvana’s In Utero, the genre of House music and furthermore Oli Bayston has written songs for The 2 Bears.
When I read this on the Deaf Institute website it makes sense that I like them and have been ‘14 year old girling’ (playing repeatedly) their debut album, Melt. It strikes a fine balance between having a joyous infectious quality to it, while still possessing intelligent lyrics. But can they replicate this live?
I arrive at the Deaf Institute with a great deal of anticipation and excitement and there are few people there to see the support act, Little Cub who are playing similar synthesised indie music that Boxed In purvey. As they reach the end of their set, they live up to the ‘Cub’ part of their name when the lead singer announces that it’s the drummers 21st birthday and a chorus of ‘awww’ goes up in the crowd or maybe that was just me after a couple of pints of Trof cider.
Boxed In arrive fairly late and start their set with the album title track Melt and continue to build the energy in the crowd to the point where, with the House influences showing, most people are on their feet dancing . Down the front there are committed dancers throwing their best shapes but I am more comfortable watching, from the side, which is no less gratifying than sweating it up at the front.
A lot of people seem to be waiting for their big hit, ‘Forget’ which has been played a lot, on BBC 6 music (and by me) this tune most effectively demonstrates their House music affections partly because it has a rousing chorus with the least lyrical complexity. Most of the song repeats the sentiment: If you want to forget yeah, If you want to (i’ll let you) but like most good Dance music it has a euphoric intensity and in true homage to Nirvana, it seems that the band seem less excited about playing this song than other album tracks perhaps, because of its popularity and lack of complexity.
Boxed In, don’t seem very similar to Nirvana : there are too many synthesisers for them to sound the same, but Boxed In are off to a strong start and I see them getting better and better. They leave the stage after performing Forget but the crowd applaud them back on for an encore and it’s then, that they change gear with the melancholy, yet beautiful London Lights which proves they can make downbeat songs that are quietly affirming.
After the gig, support act Little Cub and Boxed In are milling about to sign the merchandise and I get talking to the drummer from Boxed In and tell him he looks like the lead singer of 90’s band Reef. He looks at me blankly so I sing the first few lines of ‘Put your hands up’ to prove my point. He still looks at me blankly. It’s then that I realise Reef were enjoying fame, before he was even born and that makes me feel old, despite ‘fourteen year old girling’ his bands album.