London based producer Ollie Bayston’s moody electro-pop project, Boxed In played at Thekla on Thursday night.
Arriving during the set of support act, Brighton’s up and coming Max Pope I was greeted by the kind of music that makes you just want to shut your eyes, smile and let it all wash over you. With jangly, jazzy guitar and mellow, soulful vocals he played a laid-back set accompanied by his bass guitarist who between them had a playful camaraderie that was lovely to watch. Having seen Pope play headline slots to packed out rooms in London before, I knew that he would put on a great show. Although the audience was a lot smaller for him in Bristol, everyone there was on his side, won over by his authenticity and easy effervescence, left swaying along to his own brand of summery blues infused, dreamy pop. Think Mac DeMarco & Will Joseph Cook meets Sam Cooke on a beautiful beach somewhere.
This song is a personal fave that came out on his EP last year;
The mood changed dramatically as Boxed In started their set with the startling sound of feedback and effects combined with atmospheric purple and red lights, creating a spooky, synthy soundscape. From where I was standing on the top deck, it became apparent that the audience of Thekla tonight was a far cry from the usual demographic of drunken Freshers come to confess their sins and dance the night away at Pop Con on a Saturday. The many light beams reflecting off of the many bald heads reflected that the crowd was made up of many definitely grown up men.
When speaking to the band after the gig they said their goal was to create ‘dance music with live instruments’, giving them a similar sort of vibe to groups like LCD Soundsystem, M83 and Hot Chip. This goal was definitely achieved as at certain points of the evening they had the whole crowd dancing, the song ‘Forget’ being one of those moments.
The band was tight and made up of very talented musicians, but the high point for me would have to be the use of the cowbell, hit periodically by the guitarist throughout their set. It was very enjoyable to watch, as he looked like he was having the time of his life, definitely adding an element of originality to their sound.
Having had a lot of press off the back of their second album, Thekla was very busy. However, the success of the moody indie-electro-pop project might not be the only reason that Bayston’s name could ring a bell to you. Having penned songs with Lily Allen and produced some of Lianne La Havas’ album, he’s a very in demand producer, currently surrounded by a lot of buzz.
Listen to the title track, ‘Melt’ off their second album;