[sic] Magazine

The Boxer Rebellion – Lotto Club, Mons.

Lotto Mons Expo is a colossal new development for this unassuming Belgian city. In the future people may well look back at tonight as something of a coup, the fact that the exhibition centre’s inaugural concert was performed by The Boxer Rebellion. It’s less of a surprise for me though, as I was lucky enough to witness the band when they were last in town at La Chapelle Club (link below). The Boxer Rebellion love Mons apparently, and the feeling is certainly mutual.

This band is about as unpretentious as I’ve ever witnessed. Content to mingle with the crowd at the merchandising – happy to be observed before their stage entrance. It is hardly a surprise that they don’t employ any walk-on music. I once saw British Sea Power project a full ten minutes of the movie classic Great Expectations before they were revealed from behind a white veil. The Boxers simply amble on with a wave. At least someone remembered to dim the lights. It’s far cooler though. The music stands out. There’s no need for gimmickry. They’re branding it, simply by being The Boxer Rebellion. It’s fresh and honest and real. Heaven knows music needs that right now. Music needs this band.


Before the Boxers, support was provided by veteran Belgian art-rockers Joy. With only guitar, drums and cello, Joy fabricate an eerie, baroque atmosphere putting everything into their challenging performance. They won’t be for everyone, but they are certainly unique.

‘These Walls Are Thin’ is The Boxer Rebellion’s opening track of preference these days. That choice cut from Union. You know it, the one with the chorus that out-plays Coldplay. “So here we are” . ‘Evacuate’ is like a punch to the solar plexus, an early knockout blow to send opponent reeling. Interpol used to make songs as stylish as this, but never as intense. ‘Semi-automatic’ is anything but. These guys may not understand pre-show hype and tension but they’ve got the classic ‘good start’ nailed down.


As The Boxer Rebellion go through the gears we’re treated to that rarity – a gig that never dips. No ‘toilet break’ track from this group, rather a wise and faultless selection that emphasises Union but sprinkles in some tantalising new songs, songs showcasing the bands forthcoming third album, The Cold Still. ‘Step Out Of The Car’ is the jaunty, potential single whilst ‘Memo’ is a proverbial stunner . Watch out too for ‘The Runner’, a track that reveals itself both with repeated listens and the further you venture into it. With its superb climax, ‘The Runner’ could become a live favourite. Speaking of running, ‘If You Run’, the beautiful song from the movie soundtrack, Going The Distance, is aired tonight, but won’t be on the album. Something of a shame, I think, but if it doesn’t belong, I guess it doesn’t belong.


Although their music will always take centre stage, the band themselves a fascinating to watch and strike some iconic TBR poses. Nathan’s special move is to spring into the air from the toes, eyes closed whilst clapping his wrists together. Adam is undefeated champion of holding his bass outstretched in front like a jousting Knight. Drummer Piers is a powerhouse throughout. And then there’s Todd Howe, never far away from his signature pose, stooped over a low slung axe like a titan.


Fear not diehard fans, Exits, the bands cult debut isn’t ignored. Hard to imagine a TBR gig without ‘Watermelon’ (now the encore) and ’We have this place surrounded’. Luckily we don’t have to imagine. They’re here, intact, with ‘Cowboys and Engines’ to boot. Amazing set, thrilling show, The Boxer Rebellion are calibrated to become my favourite band going. Mine and plenty others too. Roll on February.

The Runner

Join the Rebellion

Mons, La Chapelle