A few things you can come to rely on each December – Crap weather, a massive hole in your bank account, annoying Christmas TV adverts and The Rifles annual Boogaloo Acoustic gigs. Whilst most of these things are not welcome, it’s safe to say, the last definitely is! Every year The Rifles strip back their tracks and play an acoustic set of all their crowd-pleasers with a few festive ditty’s chucked in for good measure.
Luke, Joel and “Deeeeeeanooo” look so relaxed and at home in this setting, that they should have donned dressing gowns, pipes and slippers. Lets face it, why should there be any need for nerves, they are among friends and are armed with an arsenal of catchy, tried and tested tunes that have led the faithful fans along tonight and for the last five years. The nights are normally always sell outs – so something special keeps the band and fans returning and why should tonight be any different? Luckily, it’s not any different and the band take to the stage (well, pub floor) in good spirits. The atmosphere has a feeling of a private exclusive party, as the band bounce off each other and the crowd alike. Chuck a log fire in the mix and I reckon most people were hoping to be snowed in!
A rowdy crowd in high spirits as well as voices, constantly heckle during quite periods, but it’s all good banter. The band don’t mind it and it seems, almost thrive off it. They snow-plough through the hits with The Great Escape getting the biggest sing-a-long so far tonight.
“Stay up get drunk with all your best friends..” seems like a challenge tonight! Chants of “Deano, Deano…” are bellowed out early on as the crafty cockney pianist swaps the ivory’s for his trademark Melodica (mouth operated keyboard) to blow his way through the fabulously heartfelt “Spend A lifetime” – tracks like this were made for intimate nights like this! In-fact it’s hard to pick out one song tonight in which the band were not accompanied by the jam packed crowd.
History, The General and Local Boy are highlights and show that these songs work on so many levels. Be it in a large theater gig or a small back street pub, The Rifles need not worry as good songs, are exactly that, no matter where they are heard. The very apt Winter Calls gets a good reaction from the crowd, as this is maybe one of the less guaranteed set numbers. The band play some newer material as Luke takes the lead vocals on Sweetest Thing. Penultimate track Sleigh Ride, as you can imagine, probably steals the show tonight. It’s become the annual Boogaloo theme song and the lads seem to enjoy playing it. “This is the last tune of 2012” The band announce and with that Romeo and Julie gets the usual crowd participation which continues on long after the boys leave the stage
The Rfiles seem to really connect with their fans. Whether it’s the honest working class lyrics or the way the band tirelessly keep on going despite an underrated reputation, the fans seem as enthusiastic now as they were all those years ago when the band first burst onto the scene. It’s a compliment in itself to The Rifles, that they are gearing up to record their 4th studio album with the funds raised from Pledge Music. Fans donated in their numbers to keep their favorite band going and in the mean time snap up some exclusive band merchandise. Hand written lyric sheets and signed albums were traded – now how many bands can you say that happens with?