London-based quartet, The Boxer Rebellion, have reached their 10,000 hours. For over a decade the band remained the underdog in the U.K. underground indie rock scene, despite their multiple television and movie placements. After a brief cancellation of their North American tour, the band is back in Atlanta and joined us for our 5GB series before their show tonight at Vinyl.
What’s the first gig you ever attended?
I had no contemporary music really going on in my house when I was growing up. My parents are classical musicians so I pretty much had to fend for myself in that regard and was a late starter on a few levels, including live shows. I was already 15 when I went to my first gig. I am not proud of the venue, which was Hyde Park in London. A disastrous mass of Londoners in a field does not make my perfect gig experience. The line up, for a first gig I am slightly more proud of. A massive line up of Alanis Morrisette (it was 1996 – she was everwhere), Jools Holland, The Who (playing the whole of Quadrophenia), Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan. All for £8. This summer Blur will play an Olympic Games closing event accompanied by New Order and The Specials in the same venue. Tickets? £61. I love Blur but that £8 was probably the best bit of value for money I’ve ever experienced.
What is the best gig that you ever played/performed?
We have been lucky enough to have had some pretty special shows over the last few years. Our last show in London at Shepherd’s Bush Empire is up there but it doesn’t always come down to the size of venue – and we were pretty nervous that night which meant I reckon we have performed better. So my favourite would have to be the first time we ever played Bowery Ballroom in New York. It wasn’t the first time we had played New York but it wasn’t far off, despite having been together for a number of years previously. It was a definite step up from the last time we had played there, added to which we are never a band that forget where we’ve come from. To be thousands of miles from my home town and to be sell out a gorgeous venue to hundreds of brilliantly responsive people in one of my favourite cities in the world gave me a feeling that has been like few others.
What is the best gig you have ever seen?
Radiohead @ South Park, Oxford, July 2001. They put this show on themselves in their hometown which not only meant it had a special vibe to it, it also meant that they got to choose the support as well, which was a fantastic bonus. The late Humphrey Littleton’s Jazz Band (who appeared on Amnesiac), followed by local boys Supergrass, then Beck and finally Sigur Ros. A quite brilliant and eclectic choice of support. And the main event was quite astounding. Radiohead, post-Kid A and Amnesiac were at a happy peak it seemed and the set they played that night was extraordinary. If you want to get a feeling for how brilliant they were live at this time then give a listen to their 8 track live album I Might Be Wrong – some of it was recorded that day. The evening finished, not even remotely annoyingly, with a rain shower of epic proportions that drenched everybody to the bone. No-one cared. In fact, it was the icing on the cake.
Gig you would most like to play?
For a band of our size it’s very easy to say a certain festival but then at all festivals there are so many varaibles. I’ll neve forget how glorious it was to see Gomez at their peak on the second stage at Glastonbury in the most wonderful sunset you could imagine. We have also played that stage but I can’t say it lived up to the same billing I’m afraid. So let’s say the second stage at Coachella, but it has to be packed and the sun has to be setting within view of my drum kit. Two big asks there I know. As for the second stage thing, (as long as it’s outdoors) I have been undewhelmed watching main stage acts too many times. The second stage at most festivals of a great size is most definitely where it’s at. You can get to the bar a lot quicker…
What would be the lineup for your dream gig?
This is difficult one. As a band you always have that awkard desire to play with your heroes due to you assuming they will play you off stage. So for the purposes of this question I am going to assume that we will play the gig of their lives and the rest of the acts will wish they had stayed at home. That said, I would love to share the stage with Elbow, a band that have inspired me musically from their first album and in all sorts of ways other than musically in the mean time (we have a lot of time for the underdog, and their achievement in the UK over the last 4-5 years has been nothing short of an everyman success). We would be churlish not to invite Radiohead onto the bill, despite it being a cliche. They have continually raised the bar and their live shows have never disappointed me. And to keep it to a reasonably old man billing I would have to have Wilco play. Engaging, consistent and like very little out there for me. And I reckon they would be a good laugh. I’m not one for destroying my ears before we go on stage so assuming we’d be headlining this self-indulgent evening, I think I’d have to leave it at that -which is a shame for the under-30’s quite frankly.
Catch The Boxer Rebellion tonight at Vinyl