On Monday night (29th), The Blinders brought their nationwide headline tour to Liverpool’s Arts Club. The sold out show at the Seel Street venue was opened by supports The K’s and White Room.
A crowd of a respectable size were down early on a freezing cold Monday night to witness The K’s opening the show. The band, hailing from Newton-Le-Willows, played a short but sweet set of indie rock tunes. Recent single ‘Got A Feeling‘ was one of the highlights of a set of impressive songs considering this band is hardly a year old.
Taking things in a different direction was Brighton-based five-piece White Room. By the time they were a couple of wacky alt-rock songs in, the Arts Club loft was full to the brim. The band make a hell of a racket between the five of them but it’s a good kind of racket. Despite this, the songs are well-written and witty, and the vocals from frontman Jake Smallwood and bassist Josie McNamara sounded fantastic. New single ‘Shoot‘, released just last week, was the standout for me.
Despite the sell-out being crammed into the loft for some time already, The Blinders definitely tested their patience. After dimming the lights, they teased with smoke machines and played a looped track of what seemed to be audio recordings from a protest or riot with police sirens.
After what felt like forever but was probably just over 5 minutes, we heard frontman Thomas reciting the aggressive and poetic spoken word that features throughout the band’s debut album ‘Columbia‘.
As the headliners finally emerged from the mist and drummer Matty kicked things off with that powerful opening drum beat in ‘Gotta Get Through‘, all was forgiven. The track made for the perfect opener to the album and it was no different in a live setting.
There’s barely a chance to catch your breath in an energetic crowd as the band blast through high velocity songs – the majority coming from Columbia.
As ‘Hate Song‘ slowly builds up to the chorus, frontman Thomas clambers onto the barrier and leans over the forming circle pit, trying to whip the crowd into a frenzy like a man possessed.
The two pre-debut album tracks ‘Swine‘ and ‘Ramona Flowers‘ went down well with the punters and were delivered with no less vivacity from the Doncaster boys.
‘Free The Slave‘ and ‘I Can’t Breathe Blues‘ give us a real taste of the policitcal themes the album is built on while ‘Et Tu‘ and ‘Brutus‘ take us on a 10 minute trip through ancient Roman history.
Long before this point, Thomas’ now trademark black face paint in the style of Columbia’s cover art is dripping down his neck with sweat.
The Blinders say their thank yous and leave the stage. Just a few seconds into chants of ‘one more song’, Thomas is back, picking up his guitar washed in dim red light. He proceeds to play the final song from the album, and the only mellow, stripped back number, titled ‘Orbit‘. It’s greeted by rapturous applause and cheers right to the back of the packed room.
Columbia is a fantastic album that you should definitely listen to if you haven’t already. It’s sure to make an appearance on my end of year favourites list. The Blinders have also proved themselves already as an excellent live band and one of the most exciting new acts around at the moment.
Gotta Get Through
L’etat C’est Moi
Brave New World
Where No Man Comes
Free The Slave
I Can’t Breathe Blues
Rat In A Cage
Orbit (Salmon Of Alaska)