There is nothing more inspiring than seeing a young band grow this much in just two albums.
When a band changes their sound it usually doesn’t go down well with their fans, and sometimes even the critics. Most of the time this is only the case with establish bands, like Arctic Monkeys or Fall Out Boy, where people are used to what they think is a certain sound. However, when you have a dedicated core fanbase like Boston Manor do, then the release of their sophomore album Welcome To The Neighbourhood must have been a bit of a nail-biter.
But if you’ve listened to it, you’ll know they had nothing to worry about (if you haven’t then you better go check it out). Not only have the Blackpool rockers delivered one of THE best British rock albums of the year, but they’ve also shown that sometimes changing your sound and experimenting with new things, can create a masterpiece of a record.
Lead singer Henry Cox refers to their older tracks as “shitty pop-punk”, and although we would beg to differ on the shitty part of that description, we get what he means. With so many up and coming pop-punk bands, it’s hard to stand out. Boston Manor have done just that – with a new album that is less pop and more alt, more mature and just, well, more.
Kicking off their set at Birmingham’s Mama Roux with the title track to their new release in a room entirely illuminated in just red, the band have the crowd in a frenzy in no time. The extremely anthemic Flowers In Your Dustbin follows and gets the first of many mosh pits of the night going.
England’s Dreaming follows the moody and eerie feel of all of Welcome To The Neighbourhood and translates extremely well into a live setting. “Last night was insane, you have a lot to live up to!” Cox animates the crowd, referring to their biggest ever headline show at London’s Electric Ballroom the day before. The band launch into Lead Feet off their debut album Be Nothing.
“Every album theres a song about that special person in your life that you hate .. I want you to think about them when you scream this back at me.” Cox demands as the first riffs of Hate You echo through the speakers. The mosh pit follows almost instantly in the ca. 400-cap venue.
Tunnel Vision is another absolute treat of the night – its addictive vocals and fast-paced riffs showcase some of Boston Manor’s best songwriting work. Before launching into the epic Bad Machine, Henry Cox takes a moment to thank the fans for welcoming their new sound with open arms.
“We took some risks writing this album, we always knew our fans were fucking sick, and surprisingly no one seemed to be mad at us that we weren’t writing shitty pop-punk music anymore. Thank you so much for giving us the benefit of the doubt, we appreciate that. This one goes out to you, it’s a song off that record. If you know the words, sing ’em nice and loud.”
There isn’t a single track played tonight that isn’t on point, the crowd are eating every single minute up like it’s free ice cream on a 40C summer day in London. Whether it’s songs off their previous records such as Laika or Trapped Nerve, or new favourites like the face-melting Funeral Party or the anthemic Halo, it all goes down an absolute treat.
“Punk rock is alive and fucking well, and it’s not going anywhere, let me tell you that.” Cox says at one point during the show and he hits the nail on the head. This band are the very bright future of British rock music, so you better get a piece of them before these intimate shows are a thing of the past because Boston Manor will be headlining British arenas in no time.