Nightbox stopped by the Phoenix Concert Theatre on Sunday night to end their tour with Albert Hammond Jr. It was apparent from the patches of fans littered throughout the crowd that the Toronto natives (who originally formed in Ireland in 2009) have been growing a fan base over the last few years. Much of this owes to their big electronic rock sound that’s taken them on tour with the likes of Death From Above 1979, Ellie Goulding, and Lights. Not bad for a band that’s still in the process of releasing their debut.
Instrumentally, the five-piece is strong and fun to watch on stage. When they play, they all look very involved – and also very happy to be playing to an appreciative audience. “Relocate You” showed Nightbox at their best: four of the members pounding away on the drum kit to end the song.
It’s the vocals that still need work, however. Jacob Bitove isn’t quite there on the microphone, at least in comparison to the band’s dense instrumental approach that relies heavily on percussion and bass. I’m fairly certain he’ll get better with time and experience though – and to his credit, the vocals certainly improved over the course of the set. In fact, maybe all he needs is just a better vocal warm-up.
I’m also fairly confident that the band’s going to find an audience. They’ll undoubtedly appeal to those looking for a more rock n’ roll Two Door Cinema Club or Phoenix, even drifting into Daft Punk territory partway through the show.
If your final verdict is on audience reaction, Nightbox shouldn’t have much to worry about. As an opening band, you know you’ve done well when – after your 35 minute set – you return to pack up your equipment and the audience is still clapping.