Live: The Rifles @ Electric Ballroom.

“I’ve got Joel’s autograph tattooed on my bum” is one of the strangest openings to a conversation I’ve had from within the photo pit. However, it’s this devotion and loyalty in their fans that sums up why The Rifles can sell out the Electric Ballroom three nights in a row, and why this series of 10th anniversary concerts is so special. There’s a real sense of history and experiences shared by the crowd who seem like a big “Rifles family”. And the lady with the tattoo wasn’t alone; I met people who’d travelled across Europe to be there and a couple who got engaged to Spend a Lifetime at the bands Boogaloo gig in 2013.

The Rifles (Andy Sampson/RockShot)

The Rifles (Andy Sampson/RockShot)

They were supported tonight by The Swiines a 3 piece from Nottingham, who have supported Jake Bugg in the past. Listening to lead singer Scott’s vocals you can see the synergy. Slightly edgy and snarly there’s a real attitude to their performance not unlike early Oasis which was hugely enjoyable. Standout tracks were Show it All and Stonefaced where the interplay between Rory’s bass and Taylors drumming really drives the track along and gives a vehicle for the guitar line to swirl along above. The Swiines could end up headlining some big venues in their own right and from tonight’s performance they’d manage that step up perfectly.

The Rifles (Andy Sampson/RockShot)

The Rifles (Andy Sampson/RockShot)

A short break and then it was time for Rifles. Coming on stage backlit by a wall of blue lights, Lucas gives a raised fist to the crowd before launching in to the fast pace of Repeated Offender which instantly has the crowd going wild, a state that remains for the next 90 minutes. As an anniversary concert, tonight was always going to be about the crowd pleasers, rather than songs off a new album, and the crowd got exactly what they wanted.

The Rifles (Andy Sampson/RockShot)

The Rifles (Andy Sampson/RockShot)

Every song is someone’s favourite and requires full sing-a-long participation and chanting in between. The pace is relentless, like most of their songs and they rattle through the first part of the set hardly pausing for breath. Lost in London gets a huge roar of approval, but this is topped when they roll straight into Peace And Quiet which has the whole venue in full voice. It’s a poignant song about relationships and break-ups and it felt like every person in the room was singing it from experience and empathy.

The Rifles (Andy Sampson/RockShot)

The Rifles (Andy Sampson/RockShot)

After all this energy, it was time to get their breath back, with Joel and Lucas on stage for a nicely paced acoustic mid section including an awesome version of Spend A Lifetime.
“Its not over yet!” shouts Lucas to the crowd, raising a glass and launching into the blistering third part of a set of more favourites including a properly rocked up version of The Cure’s Inbetween Days before closing the set with the strangely ironic When I’m Alone. After tonight’s performance with 1,100 of the Rifles family, I don’t think loneliness is going to be an issue lads.

The Rifles (Andy Sampson/RockShot)

The Rifles (Andy Sampson/RockShot)

Photography and Review by Andy Sampson at the Electric Ballroom 5th June 2015
Andy has his own great site here:

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