The Boxing Lesson

The Boxing Lesson: weavers of a new drug dreamscape.

By Cara Tillman, 1:06PM, Tue. May. 15, 2012

The Boxing Lesson
photo by Cara Tillman

The Boxing Lesson, an Austin-based power trio fueled by fuzzed out guitar tones and heavy, droning synth work, produces a remarkably huge sound that doesn’t leave the listener wanting anything but a space Cadillac from which to blare more of their monstrous, dreamy jams.

Vocalist and guitarist Paul Waclawsky, who formed the project a decade ago in Los Angeles, knows how to hold the crowd under his thumb with wailing, sweetly milked electric riffs. Synth player Jaylinn Davidson and drummer Matt Bongirno make up the backbone of the outfit, filling in the sound with epic, reverbed loops, moog tones, and hard hitting beats. The pleasure for the listener is one of delayed gratification; songs build slowly with psychedelic repetition and bloom with gigantic, earnest intensity, evoking space rock of the 1970’s, as well as the jammy, progressive sound that grew out of the psychedelic era.

In terms of showmanship, the band embraces the pleasures of good, old-fashioned rock and roll in all of its sweaty, guitar stroking glory. I caught their set at ND Studios last Thursday, as the closing act for Austin metal trio Megafauna, with a threesome of precocious middle school musicians, Residual Kid, also on the bill. The energy from the stage remained high throughout the night, and The Boxing Lesson provided the necessary climax to an already raucous evening. Those attendees who stuck around for the finale were rewarded with seven songs, the last of which was, admittedly, the least nauseating version of “House of the Rising Sun” I have heard from any stage. I don’t know whether its inclusion in the set was at all tongue-in-cheek, but the attitude from the players seemed at once both wry and unabashedly loving. Send us your headiest licks, they seemed to say, and they will be warmly embraced and freshly reimagined.

What rock writers tend to say about The Boxing Lesson is that they’re making music that is quite uncommon these days, that they’re uncommonly good at it, and that their music has been continually interesting throughout the ten year span of their existence as a band. So I won’t be saying anything new in assuring you that you should catch them at their next hometown gig, Sunday May 20th at 29th Street Ballroom. They are slated at 6 pm as a part of Spiderhouse Café’s upcoming “School’s Out Forever Rockaway Beach Party” celebrating both the birth of Joey Ramone and the beginning of the summer season. Tickets are $7 at the door and include access to that warm weather treat of your reckless childhood dreams, the slip’n slide.

See the full line-up for the Spiderhouse Café Beach Party HERE.

Hear more from The Boxing Lesson, including their newest single, “Health is the New Drug,” HERE.

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