Venue: The Lexington, London
Across town the Brit Awards took centre stage, still an institution but in many ways now just a worrying insight into the very much closed circle of modern mainstream music. The Lexington boasted the opposite, The Blinders in the form of their lives and a true representation of the DIY, underground scene. Raw, exciting and vicious, they boast identity and relevance in which their more famous counterparts will never be able to comprehend.
Opening with the instantly iconic, instantly raucous “Gotta Get Through” you’d be forgiven that its extended intro was intentional, a breakdown in amp coverage merely creating further excitement for the gathered North London crowd. The venue instantly turns into a frenzy, crowds pushing forward, lyrics being chanted – the Doncaster band are still on the up though any newcomer to their sound would be forgiven for thinking they were an already established arena band, they really are that good!
Tracks such as “L’Etat C’est moi” have the potential to overthrow the state, its confident yet moody guitar riff makes it all the more pleasing in the live setting. “Free The Slave” continues to build upon the dark aura of the latter, entirely relevant and impressive at the same time. This is matched in “ICB Blues” now a beautiful mix of chaotic riff and menacing bass lines courtesy of Charlie McGough. Venomous yet seemingly without a care in the world, McGough truly manages to encapsulate an aura of confidence in which many bassists struggle to ever achieve.
“Ramona Flowers” has some kind of mesmerising swagger to it, now well known and already a venue sing along in its own right. Lead singer Thomas Haywood almost shrieks into the microphone with aggressive, unique intent. However, it was down to lead single “Swine” to provide the highlight of the night, arguably the stand-out Blinders single and the perfect starting point of the new listener.
It was the latter section of the set which was more foreign to the gathered crowd, tunes most likely taken from their upcoming debut album. “Et Tu Brutus” emphasises a sense of togetherness, catchy and echoey around the room. Much like any of their songs, it creates a sense of protest, one day perhaps the soundtrack to a social/spiritual revolution… who knows! The set closed with “Berlin Wall,” arguably one of the most perfect closing songs about. Short and snappy it also manages to build atmosphere and intensity.
Yes, the Brit Awards are in many ways credible, diversity in genre, race, sex were all represented in award winners. Stormzy is one of the most politically relevant figures in the country, Dua Lipa an inspiration to women everywhere. However, the one true negative is the dominance of modern industry: record labels, PR companies, radio stations. In many ways it is an incestuous circle where only the pre selected few break through. Talent rarely comes to nothing, songwriting almost forgotten. This is where bands like The Blinders can be hard done by, true talent ignored and replaced by sales figures and past favours. The DIY music scene is relevant, important and exciting, it boast community attitude in which no Brit Award can ever replace. This is REAL, this is the FUTURE, its only a matter of time before the glass ceiling shatters!
The set was short yet intense, a beautiful chaos in which the Doncaster band only create too effortlessly. They could have mesmerised the mass crowd for hours, everyone in the room urging for more… if you think this tour has been on another level, just wait until the next one! It’s hard to think of the next adjective to use to sum up the trio,they really are astounding!
With The Blinders, their hype and reputation is real, they truly are destined for the top. As one of the best live bands in the country right now you’d be a fool to not catch them as soon as possible, their sound effortlessly transferable to even the biggest of arenas and festival stages.
Check out the video for “Ramona Flowers”:
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