Indie four-piece Bloxx astound on their return to Nottingham. Alex Duke reports.
With a devoted fanbase and notable discography already, Bloxx have established themselves as an energetic alternative band – mixing an indie-pop inspired sound powered by a hard-hitting rock underbelly.
Having not been to an indoor show post-Covid, I was excited to get back into the gig scene, and there seemed to be no better place to start than watching Fee and co at Rescue Rooms.
''Drawing on acoustic and folk influences, McGrath’s repertoire of music was carefully constructed''
The band and the venue intertwined perfectly. Rescue Rooms’ intimate space provides a platform for a variety of artists, but I have found in the past that it works particularly well for alternative rock artists. Yet the show was already glistening long before Bloxx took the stage.
Emma McGrath impressed with an emotive set. Drawing on acoustic and folk influences, McGrath’s repertoire of music was carefully constructed – and the intricate style could be compared to the likes of Beabadoobee and Freya Ridings before The Rills continued to warm up the crowd with an explosive, high-tempo set. The drumming was both thrashing and impeccable, and they radiated a comfortable stage presence that was gratefully reciprocated by the Rescue Rooms' faithful crowd.
A short break commenced and finally, it was time for Bloxx to begin. This was the second time that I’ve seen them, with the first being a small-scale set that they played at the Bodega, back in 2019. Both sets were thoroughly enjoyable, but this time round, Bloxx’s larger discography, greater experience and sound post full album release was outstanding to watch. The set showcased everything that Ophelia and the rest of the band are capable of, alluding subtly to the songs that helped them obtain a presence on the indie scene, alongside album tracks and some of their even newer work.
Lie Out Loud, the bouncing track from the album with the same name, set the pace for the show. Bloxx’s long-running tour around the country would seldom slow them down on this night. As the show progressed, they would go on to play on of their staple tracks, Sea Blue, before going back into some of their album tracks and the new Pop Culture Radio EP.
Bloxx’s sound can be defined by these three eras: the pre-album tracks, Lie Out Loud and the Pop Culture Radio. Not only do they differ chronologically, they also represent how Bloxx’s sound has changed over the last few years. A number of the earlier tracks, like Sea Blue, You and Curtains, possess this more sinister, aggressive tone that can almost be considered grunge-like. Moving into the album, lead singer Ophelia Booth began to explore more pop-like melodies alongside the forceful riffs – and Pop Culture Radio really focuses on the guitars leading the songs, and incorporates the pop-like sound that was so successful on Lie Out Loud.
''Another example of this fascinating four-piece’s ever-increasing momentum''
Bloxx’s energy and momentum did not shift throughout the entire performance. Bar one slower song What You Needed, where Ophelia was accompanied by opening act Emma McGrath, the set was mostly fast-paced and thrived with its intensity.
In terms of individual tracks, Pop Culture Radio’s Magnet really translated well live. A thumping, almost funk-like bassline complimented Ophelia’s vocals, and the song, like many of the others, benefitted from the added intensity of the live performance.
Closing brilliantly with Coming Up Short and Everything I’ve Ever Learned, Bloxx marked their return to Nottingham with an emphatic performance. With the band already announced for Y Not Festival next year, it’s another example of this fascinating four-piece’s ever-increasing momentum.
Written by: Alex Duke
Edited by: Amrit Virdi