There are several things in life I will never understand: tax forms, the metric system, and why The Rifles aren’t the biggest band in the world. Hailing from the East of London and having only released two full studio albums, The Rifles don’t exactly come to the States too often. Having been a fan of theirs from the beginning, when I was presented with the opportunity to see them three nights in a row, I took it. While that might sound just a little insane, not only was I not the only person doing it, but also there was a group of people from England who flew in just to see the same three gigs!
Hot off their US release of their sophomore effort, The Great Escape, The Rifles came to the US for a brief jaunt, half of those dates being the New York shows. While the album was just released here, everyone at both Mercury Lounge shows and the Union Hall show knew all the words, pogo-ing along to just about every song.
While all three nights had pretty similar set lists, each night had its differences. The first night, because it was an early show, people were still warming up to their favorite band performing in front of them. While the majority of the audience was British, the select Americans there kept looking around and smiling, thinking the exact same thing as everyone around them: “Am I really seeing The Rifles”?
Each night, lead singer Joel Stoker invited the audience to sing the chorus for “Local Boy.” While the first two nights at Mercury Lounge the audience was unable to do it, I guess third time really is a charm as fans triumphantly chanted, “Now he don’t need anyone, there’s no one there for him/ Now he don’t feel anymore, cause Jimmy’s so thick skinned,” much to the delight of all of the Rifles.
As the Rifles brief tour of New York came to an end on Saturday night at Brooklyn’s Union Hall, the energy from both the band and the audience was at an all time high, and the camaraderie was more than apparent by the end of the night. The Rifles are, without question, inspired by The Jam, having even played with Paul Weller last year in New York. After the show ended, and Union Hall turned into a karaoke bar, two Rifles fans appropriately chose The Jam’s “Town Called Malice,” and Joel affectionately joined them on stage to end the night with a bang!
Find out more on the band here: http://www.myspace.com/therifles