"The gates to Columbia were open, and we, as an audience, were invited to discover what lay the other side of the crumbling walls."
After producing one of the greatest albums of the year, a concept record titled 'Columbia' [READ OUR REVIEW OF THE ALBUM HERE] ("an alternate world informed by reality”), we were craving for the chance to see this stomping audio performed in a visual arena. Even on arrival, it was clear that they were ensuring that the concept of the album ran through the live show as well. Propaganda posters were scattered around the Arts Club walls and huge draping banners provided the backdrop to the stage. Then, after playing an intense soundtrack to this dystopian landscape (featuring screams and the pattering of cobbled streets) and the spoken word intro to the album, The Blinders arrived on stage. The gates to Columbia were open, and we as an audience, were invited to discover what lay the other side of the crumbling walls.
The night opened in the same way as the album. With two full throttle, pummeling tracks of ‘Gotta Get Through’ and ‘L’Etat C’est Moi’. The two songs really set the tone for the rest of the set; relentless expressions of desperate anger and political betrayal. As we have said previously when talking about these guys, the atmosphere they create with only 3 members is incredible. Most notably,‘Brave New World’ and ‘Rat In A Cage’ (below). The rolling versus build to euphoric chorus’ that thrust a wave of sound into the crowd and instill that revolutionary spirit that is currently lacking. The two tracks lifted the roof on the night, creating a frenzy of limbs that the venue floor was struggling to cope with.
After seeing these songs live, you will understand why they are one of the UK’s best Punk artists. Yet to think they’re vibe is similar to the likes of IDLES, Slaves or Cabbage would be a misjudgment. The Blinders emit the same angsty spirit, and the same ferocity in their music, but they also carry a more refined edge. Their songs are not trendily scrappy or the mere products of testosterone fuelled rage as some might expect from a young Punk band. They are carefully crafted doses of relief, packed with technical skill and succinctly sculpted lyrical content, reflecting the state of the world today.
As with the album, the epitome of The Blinders’ sound and of their set, was the the 9+ minute combination of ‘Et Tu’ and ‘Brutus’. The connected tracks drag you on board the Columbia concept, placing you in the middle of a scene lavishly painted by thick drums and piercing vocals. You become enthralled in the biblical based tale of brutal power and feel subject to an audible version of the blood stained events. The song slowly gathers more and more momentum before ending in crescendo of screams of “They’re gonna build a Berlin wall” and that chant that echoed around the room long after the they had exited the stage… “Et tu Brute”.
Adorned, as always, in his performance warpaint, lead singer and lyricist Thomas Haywood once again played a vital role in The Blinders experience. Just like their music, he is inescapably captivating; prowling around the stage in an animalistic state, with his glaring eyes fixed on the crowd. This really drew the whole night together and completed their aim of dragging every member of the audience into their dystopian world. He then came out one last time on his own and demonstrated that his skills aren't just in showmanship, by performing the album’s melancholy outro ‘Orbit’. With just him and his guitar, Haywood once more, drew all eyes on him for a final example of his versatile voice and his intricately woven lyrics and provided an apt ending to one hell of an experience. A gig from The Blinders is like no other live show. They suck you into an audible land where the problems of today’s world are amplified, and then eradicated from your mind with an electrifying blast of dystopian Punk.
The Blinders' tour continues at a sold out show in Preston tomorrow night, and then a host more shows in the next 2 weeks including dates in London, Bristol, York and more. - - GRAB YOUR TICKETS HERE - -