Live Review: Boyce Avenue – 6th September 2014 – Enmore Theatre, Sydney, Australia
Puerto-Rican-American 3-piece sibling rock outfit Boyce Avenue may not be a familiar name to many mainstream music fans down under but that is certainly about to change. Boyce Avenue are an act that don’t follow the traditional rules of the fickle recording industry, as their story of self-promotion and a ’nose-to-the-grindstone’ work ethic has shown us over the years.
The spritely rockers, brothers Alejandro, Fabian and Daniel Manzano, formed Boyce Avenue back in the early noughties and have been on a successful incline, particularly over the last few years with the release of a handful of successful singles, a line of acoustic EP’s and a pair of weighty studio albums – 2009’s All You’re Meant to Be and 2010’s major label debut All We Have Left. These have been lapped up by a rapidly expanding fan base who have helped Boyce Avenue rack up over a billion YouTube views with over 5 million subscribers – the most of any artist in the world – through the collectives numerous uploads of acoustic performances and covers. When it comes to fan following and statistics, this band doesn’t mess around, that’s for damn sure!
The band’s latest No Limits EP was released earlier in the year and with a new record rumored to be on the horizon and released through the bands very own record label, 3 Peace Records, the Manzano brothers are riding on the crest of a very successful and long overdue mainstream wave as they bring their foot-stomping live show down under this month for a series of performances that have set the Australian live scene alight with excitement.
It’s been a while since the band played in Australia but last night the threesome emerged to a very eager crowd at Sydney’s Enmore Theatre to deliver a fine and meaty set-list to their patient fans as they played their first shows here in 3 years. Seeing pictures of the bands performance earlier this week following their Brisbane’s Tivoli Theatre gig, I expected the venue to be heaving with fans – and that was exactly what I was greeted with when I arrived in Newtown’s intimate staple venue.
With a brief but memorable and acoustically complimenting support slot provided by The Voice 2012 semi-finalist Fatai, anticipation was ubiquitous within the Enmore by the time the lads of Boyce Avenue took to the stage at just after 8.30pm. As soon as the lights dimmed, the trio were met with a deafening applause from fans within the sold out crowd who had taken to the Enmore to see the band plug their recent EP.
Cracking the lid on the 90 minute performance was the No Limits EP hit Speed Limits which effortlessly lit the wick on a cracker of a show with front-man Alejandro’s vocals delivered with a pristine execution and a sort of delicate force, soaring above the crowd. The track opened the gates for other self-penned numbers like the following Hear Me Now and I Had To Try, a number written from bass playing member Fabian and met with adulation from the audience.
A stripped back, acoustic segment gave sentiment to the opening half of the set with the band offering beautiful performances of Change Your Mind and the sombre Briane – the latter being dedicated to the bands uncle who had recently passed away.
The bands own pennings were tied together with some pretty spectacular and memorable covers. The crowd gave their stamp of approval to a flawless rendition of the Bruno Mars hit, Locked Out Of Heaven which was delivered with as much energy and charisma as the tracks original form and made way for a colourful light show but the nights highlight moment was easily granted to their exquisite and tender cover of the Tracy Chapman hit, Fast Car.
There aren’t too many bands out there that are so effortlessly able to make some of music’s most iconic hits like Fast Car sound like they were written just for them but Boyce Avenue turned out a cover of the track with a level of eloquence and conviction that would bring a tear to Chapman’s eyes. The tune gave the night an injection of nineties nostalgia and an opportunity for the Enmore to be lit by the glowing lights of camera phones being aimed at the band by the crowd who were mesmerized by front man Alejandro’s good looks, sharp dress style and soaring vocals as they filled the venue.
Other covers that got the crowd working up a sweat included an early nod to the club scene with a reworking of the Avicii hit Wake Me Up with guitarist Fabian turning out the tracks catchy hook and a note perfect rendition of the Kings of Leon single Use Somebody which was the obvious encore favourite going by the screams and wails of the female audience members who blatantly swooned over the band from the moment they found their footing on the Enmore’s stage. It was another key moment for the audiences camera phones to add further extension to the bands YouTube phenomena.
Boyce Avenue’s success comes from working hard at a passion and delivering rawness and integrity to music. They have carved a career for themselves, by themselves. There has been next to no industry influence within their journey yet they have pulled themselves forward through perseverance and a fan-base that stands firmly beside the sibling outfit and has done over the last several years. With vocals that ring with power and conviction and showmanship from all 3 members that could easily challenge the very best of stadium rock artists, Boyce Avenue are the real deal!
Hear Me Now
Wake Me Up (Avicii cover)
I Had To Try
Because Of You (Ne-Yo cover)
Change Your Mind
Fast Car (Tracy Chapman cover)
On My Way
Locked Out Of Heaven (Bruno Mars cover)
I’ll Be The One
Use Somebody (Kings of Leon cover)
Boyce Avenue will be playing their final Australian show tonight at Perth’s Astor Theatre. Tickets are available at www.livenation.com.au.