Two years ago, I first saw The Blinders play a tiny venue in Bolton, there was 20, maybe 30 people there, the atmosphere was intense, and the performance was in-your-face and unforgettable. I would have never imagined a band like this on a big stage, surely the energy wouldn’t work, how can you create the fierce intimacy between hundreds, possibly thousands of people? But, this weekend, they pulled it off with their biggest headline to date at The Ritz in Manchester, where the energy was even more concentrated in the prodigious room than it was when I first saw them at my little local venue.
It started with a buzz, the venue was packed with fans, some had painted their face to resemble frontman Tom and were eager to jump in a mosh pit, while others happily stood at the back waiting to observe and enjoy the fuelling music. Some people there were seeing the band for the first time, others for the hundredth, but everyone was equally excited.
Before the gig began, the band were introduced with an emergency-style broadcast interspersed with the song Pure Imagination by Gene Wilder (from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), and spoken word, which welcomed the audience to Columbia.
The broadcast broke into the sounds of an air raid siren and the show started with Gotta Get Through. The first song from the band’s debut album rippled through the venue. The aggressive drum beats are layered with resonating basslines and build up to wild guitar riffs, almost taking on a dark surf tone. The opening track was powerful, and the audience instantly started bouncing as the music captured the entire venue. The next song Brave New World talks of a totalitarian state with grinding lyrics, twanging riffs and pounding beats. The Blinders have a very punk attitude, shown by their political outlook and anti-establishment lyrics but their music is much more than that. Their songs are detailed and layered with elements from rock and psychedelic genres with a ferocious punk-esque undertone, lifting the tracks and creating an infectiously unforgettable energy.
Songs Free The Slave, I Can’t Breathe Blues and L’etat C’est Moi continue this theme, the crowd continuing to let the music take hold of the venue while getting soaked in sweat a covered with beer.
Orbit changed the speed of the gig and let the audience cool off before the gig finished. This song is played on piano with subtle drum beats and it shows the vocal talent of Tom which radiated around the room, the message of the music still remaining political as watched, was quiet and admired the show.
Swine closed the night. The old favourite ripped through the venue and created an explosive atmosphere with wailing riffs and ferocious bass lines.
This week the band will be taking to stages in Germany having finished their UK tour but you can be sure to see them again soon- read our interview with them here.