The Boxers choose the final track of Ocean by Ocean as the opener. It’s perfect. ‘Let it Go’ is a very, very simple song, with really just one refrain throughout. However it perfectly summarises everything the Boxer Rebellion do well; cooled electronics, pretty guitar licks, and Nathan Nicholson’s ability to infuse every word with soul and empathy. But the Boxers are only getting started.
Their set delves heavily into new album Ocean by Ocean, as well as Promises. ‘New York’ is an early highlight, a soaring ballad with a crashing drum-heavy outro. ‘Big Ideas’ too fills the packed main room of the Brude with shimmering eighties verve.
Then front man and guitarist descend from the stage, stand in the middle of the packed floor, and sing an acoustic of ‘Always’ (a track they re-recorded to celebrate said guitarists’ recent entry into the band). It’s a moment of pure showmanship, and reminds the viewer that the Boxers have serious chops, ending on the biggest cheer of the night. Then the double whammy of the funky ‘Weapon’ and their signature song ‘Diamonds’ blow out a tremendous middle section.
There isn’t a great deal of banter, but Nathan has obvious, genuine warmth for all who have came out to see him on this chilly December night. The encore opens with the dank, bass-infused ‘Keep Me Close’, before closing on an extended improvisational jam.
And so the Brude dispenses it’s capacity into a frosty Friday night. The Boxer Rebellion may never get their due. But they’ve carved for themselves a path through indie rock that’s matched smarts with emotive punch, and as a live act they are completely magnetic.