As we all know, I am a huge fan of Black Foxxes, however, as a legendary music journalist , I never let my heart rule my head, so please believe me when I say that their show at O2 Academy Islington last night proved that they have the mettle and the music to become monolithic.
I also saw them on Tuesday at Mama Roux’s in Birmingham, which was a fantastic gig, and if you bump into Loz from While She Sleeps, you know that you’ve come to the right gig. However, as soon as the band took to the stage in Islington and the first bars of Breathe were strummed, you just knew that they were going to come out, all guns blazing. My oh my, Mark Holley’s tortured vocals at the end allowed you to feel such pain, but immense pleasure at the quality. Whilst Mark, Tristan and Ant work together as a well-oiled machine, one of the best members of that band is their sound engineer.
The O2 was full of fantastic Foxxes fans, as the bulging London crowd was able to take the lead during, can we call them classics(?), like Maple Summer and River, lifting the band and contributing to an all-round electric vibe. That being said, there were certain groups who just wouldn’t shut the fuck UP all night, talking about the price of fish during emotional sing songs like Take Me Home. I know they’ve paid their ticket fee and the band still make cash, but if you’re gonna just chunter on throughout the set, just stay in Spoons and get a Black Foxxes playlist on the go. A word on Take Me Home as well; I said in my review that it was a toss up between Flowers and Oh, It Had To Be You off Reiði for the best song, but after many listens and a few tears shot out, it’s Take Me Home. Apologies to anyone affected by this, please note that I am a talentless hack.
Foxxes have massively upped their game when it comes to production and stage presence. The ominous intro to Oh, It Had To Be You is incredible, whilst tracks like Sæla and Manic In Me are proper dancey pop bangers. Manic In Me was a huge sing along, whilst Sæla can’t help but plaster a smile on your face. There’s a lot of confidence on stage as well; not cockiness or overconfidence, but a band that’s found their groove, Mark is becoming more and more of an electric frontman, and laces every vocal with emotion, allowing you to feel what contributed to the writing of these songs.
Closing out the set, JOY is absolutely huge live, those big riffs and the screams of “COME CALL ME ERASABLE” fill out any space they’re in like some kind of rock n roll builder’s foam. Pines is the perfect way to end a set though; allowing for plenty of thunder to bring the night to an apocalyptic finish. The only complaint here is that the setlist wasn’t long enough, but, if they’d played the whole two albums and written a song on the night, I’d still be stood there at the end chanting “We want more!”. Again, whilst I might fawn over this band like they’re my first love, it’s with good reason; they’re one of Britain’s hottest and most enterprising bands. Stop what you’re doing, stop listening to me and listen to me when I say that you need to just go and listen to the records. Buy them (good!) stream them (also, good!) steal them (naughty!) or even Limewire them (lmao), just listen to the goddamn records.
Big shout out to Emily Isherwood and Bloody Knees for supporting as well, I’ve never enjoyed two support bands so much.