Boxed In

Boxed In


When you decide you like a band, you listen to their music and decide, “I like that”. You don’t need their influences listed and what they’ve done previously to decide if you like them. However if that was all I had to go on without listening to Boxed In, I would be intrigued to know that lead singer Oli Bayston’s influences are Nirvana’s In Utero and house music, and that he has written for the producers The 2 Bears.

When I read this on the Deaf Institute website I feel vindicated that I have been ‘14 year old girling’ the Boxed In album Melt – as in, listening to it on a daily basis. That’s partly because it’s the only vinyl I bought last year, but also because it has a joyous infectious quality to it, while still possessing intelligent lyrics.

Of course the proof is in the proverbial pudding and I arrive at the Deaf Institute with a great deal of anticipation and excitement. There are few people there to welcome support act Little Cub who are playing a similar combination of synthesised 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 most people are on their feet showing their appreciation of the house influences, especially down the front where some committed dancers are throwing their best shapes. I am less committed and settle to watch 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 does most effectively demonstrate their house music affections. It has a rousing chorus which has the least amount of lyrical complexity but the most amount of euphoric intensity. In true homage to Nirvana it seems that the band seem less excited about playing this song than the others perhaps because of its popularity yet lack of complexity.

I would never go as far to say that Boxed In are set on the same course of fame and genius that Nirvana were: 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. It’s then that they change gear with the melancholy yet beautiful ‘London Lights’, proving they can elicit emotions other than euphoria, while always remaining 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 birthday boy and I 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 ‘Place Your Hands’ to prove my point. He still looks at me blankly. It’s then that I realise it’s reasonable to expect that a 21 year old hasn’t heard of a band that were enjoying fame when he was born and that I’m old.

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When people ask me what music I am in to, I find it very hard to give a definitive answer because, throughout my life I have been in to all kinds of music from House to Heavy Metal. So I can safely say I am open to most things however, I would say that overall my allegiances lie with Electronic music because it covers so many genres and is constantly developing and changing. Having grown up in Manchester my musical tastes have been influenced by nights such as Electric Chair and Mr Scruff which encompasses the sounds of House, Detroit Techno, Disco, Soul, Funk and Hip Hop. As far as bands are concerned, I particularly like bands that are melodic and have a hook and a heart such as Wild Beasts. While living in London in the early noughties, I was also listening to music that didn’t really have a heart, more of a pacemaker. I was listening to Electroclash at nights such as Erol Alkan’s, Trash. I love writing about music and believe you can be honest about why you don’t like something without being disrespectful, a skill I am still learning in real life! But ultimately I understand that music needs to be experienced first, rather than intellectualised but why do one, when you can do both?