The Rifles, Cambridge Junction – Live Review

live reviews "no signs of slowing down"

Looking round the Cambridge Junction tonight, the venue is far from teaming with life. It’s a shame especially when we are treated to the likes of The Gallerys. A very new band – active for a year and a half – James Wood, Crag Barden and Dan Maggs entertained us with their easy listening songs, some of which screamed The Beatles. Their new song My Heart is Sold is a prime example. Imperfect Perception was sung really well by Wood, as was You Don’t Really Love Her.

Young new bands pop up all the time, but The Gallerys are different in the way that they have picked a style of music which is very hard to pinpoint. It is difficult to determine what type of audience this would appeal to the most. They have a good mixture of vibrancy and classic notes with snippets Jake Bugg, especially with Paisley.

Touring for their acoustic album, The Rifles arrive and a younger Noel Gallagher walks on stage. Joel Stoker with his ‘Oasis’ look and London accent makes the Cambridge crowd chuckle easily. The way he swigs his beer and makes the audience wait while he re-tunes his guitar during music intervals is a little off-putting but he knows how to dilute the tension with a sassy smile and his ability to strike up a conversation with any member of the audience.

The show starts with a collection of memorable songs from the past like The Great Escape and Local Boy and even when they introduce their new song In Key, it propels you back to the Britpop days. There is no doubt Stoker knows how to sing, but for those who have seen him with his full band, you can’t help thinking this could be so much better. Some songs that are usually really peppy like Winter Calls fall flat in this instance. That said, this tour works for The Rifles in its own way compared to other bands who have tried, but reverting back to their original style is always the preferred option. However, Heebie Jeebies was chosen well for this occasion as there was no need for it to be altered in any way.

The highlight of the night was the point where perhaps their biggest fan in the room had a chance to come up on stage with the band. Billy knew every word to his favourite song Tangled Up In Love and the most humbling part of this whole experience was that he was only aged ten. His proud Dad watched on and the smile never left Billy’s face.

Stoker finished off with Romeo and Juliet, followed by their encore song Under and Over which had everyone jumping up and down.

This just goes to show how much these guys love making music and it appears to be very easy for them too. They churn out songs at such a pace, they hardly know where to put them; their 2016 album Big Life consists of a very long list of songs, all of which are very tasteful.

Amongst other tour dates lined up, The Rifles are set to appear at Camden Rocks Festival in June, a mere twelve miles from their home town in Chingford. This exciting Indie band are showing no signs of slowing down and their continued on-stage antics will stand them in good stead for further success and popularity.

Words from Catherine Verrechia
Images from Matt Thrope

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