Preview: The Boxer Rebellion
Having overcome major obstacles along the way, indie band's tunes come to Lucerna
Posted: September 18, 2013
Todd Howe, Nathan Nicholson, Adam Harrison and Piers Hewitt have been together for a decade as The Boxer Rebellion and play at Lucerna Music Bar Sept. 23.
The four-man British indie-rock band The Boxer Rebellion will take to the stage at Lucerna Music Bar Monday, Sept. 23, returning to perform in the Czech Republic for the first time in more than four years.
The Boxer Rebellion last played in the country at the Planet Festival in Tábor, south Bohemia, at the beginning of June, 2009. The gig came shortly after the release of their second studio album, Union, for a time even outselling much more well-known bands like Kings of Leon, The Killers and fellow British rock band Coldplay.
With the release of Union in January 2009 and its subsequent success, they became the first unsigned band ever to enter the Billboard Top 100 Albums Chart on a digital-only release; not just that, but they broke into the Top 5 on the chart as well.
This extraordinary achievement and the ensuing publicity frenzy opened many doors for the band: Besides embarking on their first tour of the United States, the band's songs were also noticed by producers in Hollywood, and their work has subsequently been used in several episodes of television series, from CSI: New York to Grey's Anatomy, as well as television commercials and even motion pictures (like the 2010 romantic comedy Going the Distance, starring Drew Barrymore, in which they even appeared as themselves).
The Boxer Rebellion
When: Monday, Sept. 23 at 8 p.m.
Where: Lucerna Music Bar
Tickets: 300 Kč in advance; 400 Kč on the day of
The band was formed at the beginning of the 2000s, when singer Nathan Nicholson moved from his native Tennessee to London. He met up with Australian guitar player Todd Howe and UK drummer Piers Hewitt and they started jamming together, first forming Slippermen before re-branding as The Boxer Rebellion with another Brit, Adam Harrison, on bass.
After releasing their first EP and performing at Glastonbury, they were signed by the Poptones label, which would release their first single, "Watermelon," in October 2003 and the band's first studio album, Exits, in May 2005, before going under just a few short weeks later.
After the success of their second album on iTunes and their third album, The Cold Still, which was released on CD and again hit it big on the U.S. iTunes chart, the band started work on their fourth album, but their outlook changed completely while they were on tour promoting The Cold Still, and when they came back they wanted to start again from scratch.
"We wanted this album [their 2013 release, Promises] to fill the room with a different type of energy," says Nicholson, the band's vocalist and guitarist, "still emotional and provocative, but at the same time uplifting, ambitious, positive, and far bigger than the sum of its parts."
They also spent some time with drum technician Mike Fasano, whom Nicholson refers to as "a drum alchemist," and record producer Billy Bush, who has worked with Garbage, Snow Patrol and Muse, to name a few, to bring out the best sound.
"Our previous albums were written without the luxury of time to really explore and finesse the songs," says drummer Piers Hewitt. "We were determined to not let that happen this time."
The result was Promises, released in May, which the band will promote on its appearance at the Lucerna Music Bar, part of a much wider tour across Europe in the coming weeks - the previous evening they are performing in Warsaw, two nights after Prague they will be in Leipzig, before moving on to Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, two weeks in the U.S. Midwest and the South, before taking a hiatus and picking up their tour schedule again in the United Kingdom in February.
André Crous can be reached at
Tags: Boxer Rebellion, Glastonbury, Coldplay, Kings of Leon.