2014 has been a massive year for Rixton. These four lads from Manchester have gone from virtually unknown to a debut number one UK single and top twenty US Billboard 100 hit with ‘Me And My Broken Heart‘ in just twelve months. In 2013, the band were “discovered” by talent scout and manager Scooter Braun, the man behind such finds as Carly Rae Jepson, Ariana Grande, Psy, and most notably Justin Bieber, and were subsequently signed to Interscope Records by Braun and songwriter/producer Benny Blanco. October brought about their first headline UK tour.
Rixton descended on The Brook, Southampton on the eleventh leg of their thirteen date tour. To those who are aware of the band’s high profile performances this year on shows such as The Voice USA and Ellen, it may come as a surprise that they are only playing in a small venue the size of The Brook. That’s not to say that the boys were unable to work the stage though. With an overlooking balcony and a stage raised to shoulder level from the main floor, this intimate venue gave fans an amazing opportunity to be up close to their idols.
Doors opened at 19:00 and by 19:30 the floor was rammed and the balcony was full. Understandably, the crowd consisted of probably 85% 14-18 year old girls (who did not stop screaming the whole way through Rixton’s set), with 10% being their mums and the remaining 5% being dad’s and boyfriend’s. At 20:00 the supporting band, Young Kato, came on to warm up and electrify the crowd. They did a good job too! Usually the supporting bands in these small venues are, how to put this, a bit naff. But this young six-piece from Cheltenham showed that they have a very bright future by performing some very catchy, upbeat tracks. Their set was only twenty minutes long, so very short and sweet, but it was long enough for people to stand and take notice.
Then, at 20:50, half an hour after Young Kato left the stage, came the main event – Rixton. Greeted by an amass of ear splitting screams from young, teenage girls, the lads ran on to perform one of the tracks from their upcoming debut album, Let The Road, ‘Speakerphone‘. Previously the band have only ever released acoustic versions of this song via YouTube, so seeing it performed as it will be on the record was enlightening. Their natural talent and ability shone through from the offset, with on-point three-way harmonies from beginning to end. Frontman Jake Roche was on form all night, getting the crowd involved during every song and entertaining all with his smooth dancing during the more upbeat tracks.
Anyone who has followed Rixton since the beginning will know that they got themselves noticed by covering songs such as ‘Don’t Wake Me Up‘ and ‘Ignition (Remix)‘, so it was great to see them perform a few covers of their favourite tracks out at the moment, including ‘All About That Bass’, ‘Sing’, and ‘Bang Bang’. They also treated the crowd to a beautifully delicate cover of Maroon 5‘s ‘She Will Be Loved’, as the band explained that the Adam Levine-fronted pop band were a huge inspiration to them in the beginning.
After the “cover section” of the show, Roche, Charley Bagnell (guitar) and Lewi Morgan (drums) left the stage to quickly freshen up and rehydrate, allowing keyboard player Danny Wilkin to have a few minutes to perform by himself and show off just how phenomenal he is on the keys. His solo section probably received the biggest and most respectful round of applause of the evening. Wilson’s three bandmates soon returned to familiar ear-splitting screams in order to close the show with their final few songs.
The Mancunians finished the show with their aforementioned number one single, ‘Me And My Broken Heart’, after thanking the crowd for their amazing support throughout the show and during their young careers thus far.
The energy, professionalism, and entertainment that Rixton provided during the whole evening was quite inspirational. Considering the short amount of time the band have been playing these kind of shows, they performed as if they were seasoned, multi-award winning, world-renowned artists. All I can say is that I wish they had been on stage for longer than just an hour! Saying that though, it won’t be long until these four lads will be selling out arenas around the world. Watch this space.