The Blinders are one of the most talked about bands on the unsigned scene at the moment, an excited word of mouth wave rising around them fuelled by the patronage of the likes of Cabbage and This Feeling. They're on a nationwide tour at the moment and we caught the first of two sold out shows at Manchester's newest venue Jimmy's with Saytr Play and Carnival Club supporting.
Carnival Club open up proceedings and set the bar really high for the other two bands. They're full of confidence following their own recent Ruby Lounge headline and the positive buzz around their forthcoming EP Magdalena's Cape. The title track from that record, House Of Cards and Headache make up half their set, but what they do have is another set of songs of equal, if not greater quality, ready to go based on tonight's set. The opening song You're So Hostile is a perfect starter and Mistakes, Troubles and Kisses that follows is delivered with what feels like a casual ease, but which is really down to the fact that they're naturals at this business. In a few short months we've seen Kai grow into the role of the front man, whilst the songs have the space to let Eddie loose on guitar. It's only the second time they've played Follow The Sun but already it feels like an old favourite with a big expansive chorus whilst fellow new song Nomad starts with a driving drum beat that takes the song down a different avenue. They get a deserved great response at the end from both their own fans and those witnessing them for the first time.
Saytr Play are next up and they're here to party. Front man Fred leads the way, his shirt's gone within a couple of songs and for one he comes out into the audience and ends up singing on someone's shoulders. The songs are so infectious themselves in the way they grab you immediately that they don't need this to excite the crowd, but it makes them really memorable to watch as the reaction they get shows despite Fred's protestations. The Game has a brilliant rolling riff to it that starts people dancing, almost involuntarily, their next single Mother's Love has a similar instantaneous effect, a hook that it's impossible to shake off. That theme continues throughout with a surefire future single about dancing with your mates and their last single Don't Go East. By the end their sheer force of will along with the songs has won over everyone in the room adding to the growing groundswell that's building around them. And they're getting better and better each time we see them.
The Blinders appear to be the name on everyone's lips at the moment and it's not hard to see why. Fiercely uncompromising, always seemingly on the edge of the whole thing falling catastrophically apart in a wall of noise, they represent something that's been missing for a long time - angry voices in the musical youth that want to make themselves heard. They might not have the same humour laced through what they do like Cabbage, but their assault in a lot more direct in many ways. Recent debut single Swine is a great marker point as an introduction to what they do and what they stand for, but it's only a starting point. ICB Blues has a feral drumbeat running through it, stark and foreboding, but it's the guitars that come in and threaten to tear your head off whilst Thomas, face smeared in paint, demands "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth."
What's excited so many about them is that they don't deal in traditional song structures. 84 feels like they could be playing three different songs, but it all comes together and that's a theme that runs throughout and part of what makes them so intriguing. Murder At The Ballet moves from a dramatic build to a wild thrash without taking breath and they take the audience with them. Thomas and Charlie both end up amongst us at various points, almost taking people out in their wake, but you'd sense that they'd be forgiven if they did because the front rows are lost in this wild music, in thrall to their spokesmen for a disenchanted culture. The best though are the aforementioned Swine, its incandescent vitriol pouring from every line as a critique of Cameron and now May's Britain and its chorus "there is no hope" already feels like a clarion call as it's sung back to them and the eight minute closing Brutus, which demands answers to the question of "broken shadows in Westminster Hall, does my voice count at all?". There's something brewing with The Blinders, where it'll go no one's quite sure yet
The Blinders are on Facebook and Twitter.
Saytr Play are on Facebook and Twitter.
Carnival Club are on Facebook and Twitter.