Living in a Box emerged on the New-Wave scene a little too late to achieve the massive stardom of some other MTV regulars. The trio is perhaps best known for its titular tune, “Living in a Box” (which peaked at #17 on the Billboard charts) and its follow-up single “So the Story Goes.” They disbanded in 1990, and have fended off offers to reunite ever since.
Living in a Box achieved way more success in their native U.K., which stands to reason why the band—minus original frontman Richard Darbyshire—will reunite there first, beginning June 5 at the Let’s Rock Bristol Festival (which also features the likes of Wang Chung, Cutting Crew, Paul Young and Limahl). In place of Darbyshire who, according to Living in a Box keyboardist Marcus Vere “just didn’t want to continue in the music industry,” will be Kenny Thomas. Thomas, a U.K. soul singer, had a bunch of hit singles in his native U.K. (“Thinking About Your Love” and “Best of You” among them) but is a relative unknown Stateside. (Hear Vere talk about Darbyshire’s decision not to rejoin the band below)
The band will be billed as Living in a Box Featuring Kenny Thomas, and they’ll perform both Living in a Box and Thomas songs. Along with Thomas and Vere will be original drummer Anthony “Tich” Critchlow and three other musicians to round out the six piece.
The June 5 show in Bristol will not only mark the first time Living in a Box Featuring Kenny Thomas have ever performed live, but the first time Living in a Box (with or without Thomas) have played live. “We didn’t do any live tours [in the ‘80s and ‘90s],” Vere says. “A new [music] video was your tour. MTV puts a new video out, why would you go out on tour?” To better illustrate the point, Vere recalls that the first time New-Wave peers Heaven 17 performed live was in 1997, 17 years after they formed, at Vere’s wedding.
In addition to Living in a Box and Thomas classics, fans will be treated to two new songs, that Vere won’t yet name. “Standing there hearing new material is great,” Vere says, “but they’re essentially there to hear the hit records. [We’ll] modernize it a bit but people really want to hear it as it was because they put you in a certain place and time.”
In addition to their June 5 debut, Living in a Box have four more European dates on their calendar (two in July and two in August).
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