Live Review: BLOXX at Sneaky Pete’s

Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh
2nd November 2018

It’s an odd night at Sneaky’s. The atmosphere has been left a bit flat after an uninspiring local supporting troupe bored everyone with some cookie-cutter indie rock. As a result, the excitement of the crowd is deflated as BLOXX set up in the compact staple of the Edinburgh music scene. But as the lead vocalist Ophelia gives the thumbs up to the sound desk and the music starts, the group prove that they aren’t here for a bad time on the Scottish leg of their UK tour. The juvenile 4-piece play grunge-like indie rock, with all the noisy guitar riffs and angsty teen vibes you’d expect from a band of youths dressed in the typical dark clothing and Vans skateboard shoes.

Although perhaps a little inexperienced, Ophelia is commanding as the leader of the crew. Her voice steals the spotlight on most numbers throughout the night, adapting well to changes in mood. From the pained shouts on ‘Curtains’ to the harder groove lines on songs like ‘Novocain’, she stays dominant and in control. Her audience ad-libs can be sharp too, once stopping during the intro of a song and saying: “Oh, I forgot I actually have to play guitar on this one!”.

Unfortunately, the rest of the band can’t match the energy of this superb frontrunner. The bassist Paul never seems to get his moment to shine as the distorted guitar drowns out all the basslines, and the guitarist Taz comes across as completely void of personality whilst hardly being visible through overly frizzy hair. It’s also hard to see Moz on drums since his spot is barely lit throughout the entire gig.

But despite the lack of general stage presence, BLOXX come armed with a solid setlist. Heads start to bop throughout the opening few songs of the concert, with ‘Second Opinion’ going down a treat. They soon bring out some of their heavy-hitters, encouraging everyone to push to the front and fight for dance space. Towards the end, we hear a new single called ‘Lay Down’, an extraordinarily dance-y bit of rock which came with mention of the band’s upcoming EP Headspace.

BLOXX choose the song ’You’ to play them out. Its steady, pensive chord progression gives the gig a hopeful ending. Here we are seeing an exceptionally young band – each of the members being between the ages of 18 and 20 – who potentially have a long road ahead of them. The fact that they can put on this fantastic of a show now bodes well for their future once they are stage veterans with a more diverse discography.

Image: _abbiharris via Flickr

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