Straight Shooting The Rifles Defy Lad Rock Clutches
For a band enjoying a career of such longevity, The Rifles don’t quite have the broad recognition that other artists of their age do. There’s no hotly anticipated festival slots, repugnant Daily Mail interest, or Radio One endorsed new singles (with glitter and gold and all things shiny).
There was however a(nother) sold out UK tour, which concluded at the impressive Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Here, before a swarm of Lambretta shirts and raining beer, the Chingford four-piece were lauded as heroes and played cheerleader to tracks from their four albums. The notion of ‘lad rock’ is something that’s as British as August rain and crap graffiti, and it’s enjoyed previous prevalence through bands such as Boy Kill Boy, The Enemy and The Ordinary Boys. What separates The Rifles from these groups however is that they’re still about, and not simply for nostalgic reasons. 2014’s
None the Wiser was critically acclaimed, and tracks from the album were entwined within the solid set-list performed in Shepherd’s Bush. ‘All I Need’, a soulful indie number, was the highlight, with a set-opener ‘Go Lucky’ another fantastic addition to the group’s roster.
‘Local Boy’ was the best-received track of the evening, as frantic and punchy as it was all those years ago on
No Love Lost. Unfortunately ‘Repeated Offender’, The Rifles’ biggest hit to date, wasn’t performed, which was the only real let down of the evening. An acoustic break in proceedings saw Joel Stoker deliver working men’s club ballads ‘Spend A Lifetime’ and ‘The Hardest Place To Find Me’, before reuniting with the band on closers ‘Romeo and Julie’ and ‘Under and Over’. Even with the modest visuals it was a fantastic show from The Rifles, who easily quashed the reputation that they’re a one-dimensional band. Next time they’re in town, dust off the DMs and get yourself along.