I always keep an eye out for this lot. Seems like they’ve bee around for donkeys years, but still have a massive following. True, the majority of the crowd were possibly spending the money left over from their Weller tickets. Still, it’s a big turnout.
Local lads The Last Party and Daystar support. Nice bit of exposure in a decent venue. Not had much contact with the former, but Daystar have come on leaps since I last saw them. The newer songs had a bit more edge and sounded less lad rock, doing themselves a favour i’d say.
Having released third album Freedom Run back in September, The Rifles hammered through a set drawing equally from all. Launching straight into fan favourite ‘Local Boy’, it’s a non-stop hour and a half of footy chanting. Whether it’s the mod Dads at the back, or the overly desperate fanboys at the front, everyone seemed chuffed.
Have they suffered from third album syndrome? Possibly, but it’s not a disaster. Maybe looking towards the elder audience, or you could say they’ve matured. Either way, people are still well on it, in a venue I was surprised they filled. Another slight disappointment is the tone of voice. Even though i’m no cockney fan, it’s all part of the charm and it’s faded.
Songwriting pair Joel and Lucas still know how to write a tune though. ‘Tangled Up In Love’ shows how much they’ve come on, albeit sounding similar to many of their predecessors. A couple of acoustic numbers split things up, although personal favourite ‘Robin Hood’ is disappointingly nowhere to be seen.
Minor faults aside, it’s a decent gig from a band still drawing punters. ‘The General’ is a monster of a live tune, and ‘Romeo and Julie’ sparks waves at the end. Although maybe 15 minutes too long in a sweaty Ritz, it’s still a top performance. Fair play to them.
Photo: Matt Higgins