Every town has that one neighbourhood. It is murky, somewhat grim, and if you can help it you avoid it. Boston Manor this month welcomed the world into their neighbourhood and extended the invite to eight cities across the UK.
Commandeering a line-up of Microwave, Drug Church and previous tour-mates Wallflower, the Blackpool punks proved once again why they are one of the finest live bands around at the moment with a headline show at Nottingham‘s Rescue Rooms.
Kicking things off with the title track from LP 2, the red pole-lights on stage added sinister and uneasy vibes throughout. It took frontman Henry Cox to express that he’s seen “livelier fucking morgues” for the packed crowd to get going, but as soon as the likes of Bad Machine and Stick Up were pulled out it was like fluid in the 400 strong capacity.
Welcome to the Neighbourhood is no doubt a huge development from Be Nothing, much like Be Nothing was different to Saudade and Driftwood, but the tracks from it were executed with grace. A much more wholesome and atmospheric soundscape smothers the second album and the bigger, less-DIY venues are already seeming too small to host such a mature sound. On previous tours, venues without barriers have hosted Boston Manor, but this time around the barriers and railings are present, but the ferocious beast of England’s Dreaming could not be contained. Cox yelling Bury Me in unison with the crowd was a highlight, as was observing the other members being immersed in the music they have created that it did not matter if there was 40, 400, or 4 million people at the show, it would have been performed in the exact same manner.
It is passion like that makes bands like Boston Manor so appreciated. There are no gimmicks. There are no hand-outs from the industry. They have grafted for years to get where they are now and an anecdote about playing at Red Rooms (100 capacity) from Cox proved their rise has not been an overnight process. A 300 increase in ticket sales does not sound a lot, but after touring last year at the likes of Liverpool Buyers Club (200 capacity) and Newcastle Think Tank? (250 capacity), the venue sizes are increasing in correlation with Boston Manor‘s sound development.
Delving back to debut full length Be Nothing was rare as Welcome to the Neighbourhood rightfully filled the setlist, but modern-classics Lead Feet and Burn You Up were given an outing; and much to delight of the many that have championed Boston Manor since the early days, Saudade gem Trapped Nerve preceded the penultimate Laika. People will no doubt complain about the lack of old-material, but as mentioned, Boston Manor have toured extensively and these shows are an invitation to hear the new material in the neighbourhood the Blackpool punks have formed. They are NOT looking backwards, but instead taking us on a mysterious voyage around the murky underworld of Boston Manor.
Closing with the first single from WTTN, Halo, received the best reception of the night. Sing along choruses, everyone taking the opportunity for one last dance and most importantly a fantastic rendition of the track that foreshadowed what to expect from Welcome to the Neighbourhood was the icing on the cake for those who ventured to Rescue Rooms on that September evening.
No encores. No glitz and glamour to distract from the performance. No signs of Boston Manor playing it safe. After touring Be Nothing extensively; both in the UK and the US, it is fantastic to hear new tracks being integrated effortlessly into the setlist.
Tickets for the remaining shows can be found here.
Order Welcome to the Neighbourhood here.