Live Review: Bloxx, Liverpool

Bloxx, APRE, Rivia, and Courting

Phase One, Liverpool, 17 April 2019

Words and Photographs by Gary Lambert

A Bloxx gig is always a reason for celebration, so we were so pleased to be spending Wednesday night with the London four-piece at Phase One in Liverpool. It’s a healthy sign of the constant expansion of the band that when we turned up before the doors had opened in order to say hello to the gang people were already queueing outside. Well loitering more as they lacked in queue discipline somewhat, but they were there well before 7pm regardless.

First of two local support acts was Courting. As well as being named after my favourite term for going on dates, the young band performed admirably with a mix of traditional northern English indie and some more extravagant guitar play that seemed inspired by their parents’ record collections. As you would expect from a young band like this, it was not a polished performance by any means; but there was more than enough to make a few of us in the courtyard during the change over express how impressed we had been by then. I think the odd mis-step actually worked in their favour as it brought to mind the vast majority of the set that they had got spot on. They were even joined by a special guest in Charity Shop Pop who came on stage to play cowbell on the last track.

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The second local support act was Rivia who played like their life depended on it. Their music was a real contrast to that offered by the other three bands as the inspiration for Rivia seemed to be the likes of Foo Fighters and Guns n Roses. There was nothing left in the tank by the end of their set, and they were cheered on by a large following. To be fair to the band, it is quite a balancing act for such a band as they try to be stadium rock without the stadium as there are so many elements that can go wrong. They can seem too pastiche, too comical, full of self-importance, but they handled it well for the most part. It was just as the set progressed and the band grew in confidence, I wanted them to rein themselves in a little bit.

da9adc41-a348-4775-a883-af1bee00ad97It was a definite contrast to APRE and their smooth indie pop. It was sad to see that the fans of the previous support bands preferred to spend the set outside in the courtyard rather than one of the most enjoyable sets possible from a band who are getting better by the day. The two-piece / four-piece have been on tour with Bloxx and their sound has been smoothed and sharpened by regular playing. It was nice to see that it was their bassist’s birthday yet again, but it gets a cheer so I hope he has more birthdays than the Queen. I can’t help but think that quickly this band is going to explode into the consciousness of many, many more music fans as there is something for everybody in their music. They’ve got a massive, massive hit in their near future I’m sure.

 

Now Bloxx are a band going from strength to strength, and you get the impression that they know it too. Ophelia is a consummate frontwoman who never stops enjoying herself and acts as the link between Paul, Taz and Moz throughout sharing guitar battles, grins, laughs and thoroughly makes you wish that you could be up on stage with them. It is more noticeable than ever that Bloxx have a real rock star vibe to them too. Not because of Taz’s sunglasses (he’s not gone Bono wearing shades indoors, he’s just got a poorly eye at the moment), but there is a massive swagger to how they play. Everything is there to create a reaction within their fans. You see them making eye contact with people that makes that person feel like they’ve had their own special moment, and everything is done with the sort of smile you have after a successful date when you’re trying to play it cool, but you can’t control your face.

Whilst we had the likes of Headspace and Coke as you would expect, for me the most symbolic moment of the levels Bloxx are reaching at present was their performance of “a song that’s not a song”. As Fee put it, “we were messing around with this is soundcheck the other day, and it’s become the best sounding joke ever” as the performed a new piece that I didn’t make note of the name of, but the premise is that it is actually a poem set to music rather than a song. Now if that is not the indication of a band who are brimming with swag and self-belief, I don’t know what is.

It’s always a highlight of the week watching Bloxx, but do you know what makes the week even better? When you’re seeing Bloxx on Saturday in Manchester too. *Smug face emoji*

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