For a young band who play dance-rock tunes that conjure up energy and summer love, what better audience than an excited underage crowd? Nightbox have all cards in their hands tonight, opening for Canadian emo-electro-pop artist Lights, in the warm and cosy basement of the Academy 2. They don’t beat around the bush: the opener ‘Utopia’ sounds huge, so huge that some kids have to cover their ears. The extremely loud drums and ear-piercing bass kind of turn the exotic synths and exhilarating vocals into mash potatoes. Part of the audience starts dancing and the rest is overwhelmed by a band literally making a bang.
On stage, everything is fine: good-looking guys with nice haircuts, bouncing their bodies as the melodies reach their high-points (and they do really quickly). Singer Jake Bitove plays on his charms and tells the audience not to be “too shy to dance” and asks if “anyone’s sweaty?”.
Not that Nightbox are heartless male models hired by some genius producer, but tonight it feels like they’re on automatic pilot mode. The urge to shake the audience inside out, like on the hormone-drenched Paul Simon cover ‘You Can Call Me Al’, is so strong that you’re already tired of jumping around when they finally get to the point. Still the material from their first EP brings back a bit of subtlety in the whole “arena-conquering” show, and the trio of infectious hits ‘Pyramids’, ‘Fumes’, and ‘Relocate You’, close the gig and save it from being an insubstantial performance.
If Nightbox could translate their joyful, catchy and sun-dazed pop into more human and thoughtful live performances, they wouldn’t lose their teenage fans and they could get the attention of a mature audience. It’s what we call a “win-win”.
Photo from Nightbox’s Photo Blog.