Having not released an album since 2014 and the venue being arguably the biggest on their entire 2016 tour, The Rifles ran the risk of playing to a half empty main hall at Nottingham’s Rock City. However, this was clearly not the case as the gathered crowd filled the venue almost to capacity and the rock band played out a set containing a mix of songs both new and old.
The opening song ‘Heebie Jeebies’ set the pace for the night. The energetic anthem is constantly referred to as one of the best loved Rifles songs, which was made obvious through the excitement which the fans greeted it with. This was followed by ‘She’s Got Standards’, taken from the bands recently re-released first album No Love Lost.
The Essex based band are currently embarked on a UK wide tour in anticipation of their 5th studio album release, which is due later this year. It is hard to fault the work ethic of the band which has gained them so much support up and down the country. This became apparent through well known acoustically led songs such as ‘Rock The Boat’ and ‘Toe Rag’.
Arguably, their most successful album to date is 2009’s Great Escape. It won The Rifles their second highest chart success and is heralded as an album of great influence. The setlist composed of six songs from the album, one of the most famous being ‘Winter Calls’. The Great Escape was also met with great joy from the gathered crowd, its slick bass line and relatable chorus is a reason for such anticipation.
“It is hard to fault the work ethic of the band which has gained them so much support up and down the country”
It has to be said that most of the crowd was made up of middle aged men, sporting classic haircuts and wearing a mix of Fred Perry and Paisley. You can conclude that this comes as a result of the famous influences that band constantly reference, the most famous of these being The Clash, The Jam and Oasis. In fact, Paul Weller is a big fan and friend of the band; he has performed beside them multiple times. The Rifles’ name even takes clear influence from The Jam’s famous song, ‘Eton Rifles’.
The band’s fifth album is set to be released in the not to distant future. At just over 11 years since the release of debut album No Love Lost you have to admire the long standing continuity and lasting work ethic which the band emit. Their entire setlist is an intricate and well focused form of indie rock. Such continuity mimics band such as The Cribs and The Courteeners, they have developed a devoted, loving fan base as a result of such effort.
The highlight of the night came in the encore, throughout the gig fans chanted the riff to 2009 ‘Romeo and Julie’. The song came with no disappointment, many rose to shoulders and the chants of the famous riff grew louder. The set closed with ‘Under and Over’ and all in all the encore capped of a night of great excitement, an articulate mix of songs new and old.
With the release of their fifth album coming imminently and a tour covering the entirety of the UK, this year could be the band’s most successful yet.
Co-Editor of the Music Section at University of Nottingham’s IMPACT Magazine.