Saturday 30 June 2012

Boyce Avenue // Live Review, Leeds O2 Academy

Brother trio, Boyce Avenue are the YouTube sensation who paved a way for their own hits by first posting videos of cover songs. Millions of YouTube hits and a support slot alongside One Direction later, Boyce Avenue are back in the UK and bigger than ever.

Est.1987 headed down to Leeds O2 Academy to see what the Florida three-piece had to offer.

Leeds Academy is bursting at the seams as the crowd anticipates the on stage arrival of Boyce Avenue. They are the band that have successfully re-invented so many well known songs; from Linkin Park to Bruno Mars the Boyce Avenue boys have worked to re-invigorate these familiar anthems. However, don’t be fooled, the trio are not just a covers band as tonight goes on to prove. Dramatic opening chords play out as the three brothers, Alejandro, Daniel and Fabian Manzano, joined by touring drummer Jason Burrows, bound on stage. “Let me see those hands” shouts lead singer Alejandro and the crowd are clapping straight away as the band burst into “Tonight”. One of Boyce’s original songs, “Tonight” is the perfect example of their ability to write anthemic pop-rock songs that are building and uplifting.

Alejandro on stage in Leeds
 On point with their harmonies and tight instrumentals Boyce Avenue dazzle the crowd: own songs such as the infectious “Not Enough” and ballad “More Things To Say” hold up amongst cover versions of well known pop songs. Of course a Boyce Avenue show would not be Boyce Avenue show if there weren’t a few of their famed covers thrown in for good measure and the boys did not disappoint. Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” is set amidst an impressive medley of covers; One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” merges effortlessly into Rihanna’s “We Found Love” before neatly being capped off with Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite”. 

Boyce Avenue are certainly not a band that could be called predictable. The fact that the audience here tonight spans many generations is testament to the music which they not only choose to cover but which they themselves write. Boyce Avenue show off their musical prowess, Alejandro taking to the piano on the emotional “Broken Angel”.   

Boyce Avenue at Leeds Academy 
“Find Me” (the first song Boyce Avenue ever wrote), sees the set take a more laid back tone as the band sit down to acoustically serenade the Academy. The band’s more melodic slower tracks attract as much enthusiasm as the up-tempo driven numbers, the crowd singing each word back at the stage. Admitting that the last time they played Leeds was at the substantially smaller Cockpit venue, Boyce Avenue appreciate how far they have come and thank the fans for supporting them. Heartfelt ballad “On My Way” slows down the pace of the evening, showcasing what a dynamic band they actually are. Showing their knowledge and passion for music an impressive version of Tracy Champan’s “Fast Car” follows and is undoubtedly the favourite cover tonight as the crowd universally sing line for line back to the trio on stage. Boyce Avenue are engrossed in the music and deliver a fast paced, high energy set. However, they don’t isolate the crowd and pull them in at every opportunity. When the band aren’t getting the audience to sing along then they get right amongst them, Alejandro leaping down within the front row.    

Brothers Daniel and Fabian Manzano on stage in Leeds
Just when the crowd fear that the evening may have finished, Boyce Avenue are back with an eclectic encore; Coldplay’s “Fix You” topped off with the band’s original “Hear Me Now”. 

It’s the perfect finale song with its grandeur of melodies and layered harmonies with an epic quality; the faultlessly infectious pop-rock song. Tonight Boyce Avenue have proved just why they are more than a YouTube sensation.

Photo credit: Danny Peart Graphics