Monday, November 19, 2007

Editors + The Boxer Rebellion@Joy Eslava, Madrid 17th. Nov 07

Nathan Nicholson-The Boxer Rebellion

Last Saturday The Boxer Rebellion played in Madrid supporting Editors for the Wintercase 07.

The Boxer Rebellion is a band I wanted to see live since I heard them mentioned for the first time when my friend Sean from Barnsley told me a while ago. ‘Code Red’ was the 1st song I ever heard and I instantly realized they had something special in their sound.

I always liked to see live bands, I have seen hundreds on last decade, but this days I am not that bothered anymore, more particularly to most of the new music [Must be an age thing ;-) or call it to be selective]. So there are only a few of the current bands I can dedicate my time to.

And The Boxer Rebellion is one of them.

‘Joy Eslava’ was the chosen venue, it is a sort of old theater located right in city center, apparently it was very popular on the 80’s and many bands have played there since, and despite now has become a bit posh I was a bit curious to see finally the mighty place.

Joy Eslava

I was unsure to go at first because normally supporter acts never get much time on stage and with 3 bands on the bill I knew they would only be allowed to play 4 or 5 songs as much.

But what the heck, I had a couple of things to do in Madrid city center so around lunch time I walked to the box office to get my ticket. But soon I realized it was not going to be that easy.

The girl on the desk gave me the bad news. Show is sold out!

I should know that before hand because Editors were touring last summer in major festivals here in Spain and I guess they have become pretty popular already. They also got this ‘sounds like Joy Division’ label [They might do a little bit to be honest] and they have released a couple of successful albums too.

So, what else left to do? Maybe I could go around the venue and have a look if someone had a spare ticket [there is always the last chance], which I did, but when I finally got to ‘Joy Eslava’ I found out it was still too early, about 14 pm to be more precise, therefore there was no one to be seen on the area.

Venue Backstreet

I stayed behind the club about 10 minutes, had a couple of cans of beer and feeling I wasn’t on the mood to wait there until people turned up later that evening, I thought it was better to go home.

I could always see The Boxer Rebellion again when they come back and hopefully headlining!

Therefore I left the place heading home through the narrow streets of city center when suddenly few yards away guess what happened? On the other side of the street there were the lads, the whole band together!

I saw some of their photos before on the internet so I was absolutely sure it was them. I stopped then a bit undecided of what to do, then is when I quickly thought ‘Now or never! I crossed the street and introduced myself to the guys. After a nice and brief chat they asked me if I was going to see the show but told them it was sold out and I didn’t have the chance to buy a ticket. They told me they were going to make sure I was on the guest list.

Nice one!

Adam [Bass player] asked me if I knew were the Royal Palace was because they had their loaded van on the car park and they didn’t know how to get there, so I offered myself to go and give them some directions.

There I was 15 minutes later walking through Madrid city center and chatting with the band members. How things have changed in 5 minutes!

Piers [drums] told me they were playing all around Europe and they traveled about 7.000 km so far visiting France, Poland, Luxembourg, Holland, Denmark, Italy, etc. Although it was a long tour they were very happy to play along ‘Editors’ because that would give them more exposure to new fans. Also told Todd Howe [Lead guitars] how in some songs his delay and echoey guitar sound reminded me Dave & Reg of The Chameleons, which he replied he had heard about before.

As a guitarist I would take that as a compliment.

About an hour later we drove back to the venue and the band proceeds to unload all the gear.

Stagehand unloading equipment

They had sound check and I didn’t have a pass so having my show access guaranteed, I went to get a few ‘warm up’ beers until the gates were open.


About 7 pm people started to gather on the general entrance, there was a long queue already and I could hear how some people were offering 100 € for a ticket.

I waited on the Guest door with few other people and about 7:30 pm told bouncers my name and went in!

Show kicked off about 8 pm. First band were some guys from Nashville named ‘How I became a bomb’ [strange name if you ask me]. The singer looked and performed as a mixture of Jarvis from Pulp and Benny Hill. They all were a bit weird dressed.

How I became a bomb

At some point in between songs I shouted to the singer ‘Wrong tie mate!’. I chatted briefly with them after show and told him so again. He replied laughing ‘Ah, it was you then!'.. he he ….

However, about 45 minutes later it was time for The Boxer Rebellion to came on stage.

Adam bass sound check

Todd and Nathan soundcheck

As I previously thought they only played few songs, new track ‘Soviets’, ‘Watermelon’ and ‘We have this place surrounded’ the ones I remember. Last one a bit of a downer if you ask me. Don’t get me wrong, its one of my favorite tracks ever [Very Chameleonesque guitars indeed] but when you have only such a short time to play you should choose the ‘energy’ songs, if you know what I mean [And they do have plenty]… at least that was the feedback I gathered from some blokes on the crowd.

Adam Harrison

Nathan Nicholson-The Boxer Rebellion

I guess is hard to please everyone, sometimes bands hardly play all the songs you like!

What’s wrong with Code Red anyway? I wonder why it is not on the set list anymore…

Overall the show was great although sound wasn’t at its best; something Nathan [Vox +rhythm guitar] confirmed me after the show.

Despite they weren’t advertised anywhere nor on the leaflets [I only saw the other supporting act mentioned], I think they leaved a pretty good impression as some people around was asking me interested ‘Who were they?’

The club was packed

Then Editors came on stage. I have to say I am not a big fan of this band although they have a couple [or three] of catchy tunes. But it was a great show with top lights too.

Tom Smith-Editors

The singer was highly active and very participative, so was the crowd [The place was packed] singing along some of the tracks.

I think they played near an hour, and this was the set list [Or almost all of it].

Their sound has this undeniably 80’s essence, or that’s what it seems to me maybe because the high presence of the bass driven sound on their music, something I am pretty glad about if you ask me.

After a couple of encores around midnight the show was finished, and there wasn’t much backstage time either as ‘Joy Eslava’ opens after midnight as a dance club [So was told the band before the show].

Top lights

Then after the classical photo& autographs fans session [I had a poster to get it signed, but during the show someone nicked it from me], like I said when Club was shut down we agreed, along with another good Spanish fan [Pirruko] and some of his friends to go for a drink and get food somewhere.
Todd Howe [Lead guitars] loading the van

The place we went to was a bar called ‘The Dungeon’ near the ‘Plaza Mayor’.

Plaza Mayor

So there we were at 2 am in the morning with the guys from the band eating Spanish ‘tapas’ and drinking Sangria!

At this stage there is not much I remember to be honest, what I recall is that I got home about 5 Am and that I had a pretty good hang over Sunday morning.

But it was well worth!

They were going to Valencia and playing in Barcelona on Tuesday and then back to other European dates.

It was a fantastic night and also ace to meet personally the lads. I can say they are down to earth people, far from any arrogant Rock n Roll star attitude.

I really wish them all the best in the future and also a great success with the next album release. I also hope they sign to a proper label soon.

I believe The Boxer Rebellion should make it through and go to bigger things, as my other friends Exit Calm too. Both have a special ‘thing’ to make it, so far they are on the right lane….and I am rarely wrong with these unsigned acts.

Time will say.

See you next one lads but next time Headlining!

The Boxer Rebellion Myspace

Editors Myspace

Todd Howe Myspace

Nathan Myspace

Adam Myspace

Piers Myspace

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