Sunday 15 October 2023

The Blinders / Yasmin Coe - Salford White Hotel - 13th October 2023

As they prepare to return with their third album, newly signed to a major label, The Blinders performed two low-key shows at the back end of last week. After a sold-out show in London on Thursday, they headed back to their adopted home for an intimate night amongst friends at The White Hotel in Salford, a venue that made it feel like they were returning to their roots. With five new songs in the set alongside old favourites they delighted an ecstatic crowd that welcomed them back like homecoming heroes. Support came from Yasmin Coe.

Yasmin tells us near the end of her set that when she got the call on Tuesday to do this show she was on her sickbed with tonsillitis. We wouldn't have known if she hadn't told us such is the soothing nature of her voice across a set of mostly unreleased songs with only debut single No Hope out in the world already. She confirms the positive word-of-mouth we've heard about her around town with a half-hour set which she tells us will hope make up an EP in the New Year, "if I can afford it" she half-jokes. She sings about life and relationships and wins over an initially reticent crowd as the set progresses. Her softer style is a counter to the headliners, but the likes of Expected As Much, the stand-out track of her set, have the ability to universally connect and hold the attention.

The Blinders have remained a five-piece since the departure of original drummer Matty and tonight they've got their friend Jordan from Avalanche Party standing in for the absent Eoghan. This gives them a fuller harder edged sound live, as evidenced on the shows supporting last year's interim Electric Kool-Aid EPs. The five new songs they play, spread out throughout the set to ensure each has its own moment and the set doesn't just become a recital of past glories, very much have that feel - in particular the final one Waterfalls and Ceremony, although all five suggest that they might have recorded their strongest and darkest piece of work yet.

That feeling is reflected in the setlist choices - they start with a statement of intent with a long stretched out duo of Et Tu and Brutus that passes the ten minute mark followed by Brakelights, the first of the new songs. Forty Days And Forty Nights is delivered with a raw anger and passion by Tom and Charlie prowls the stage as best he can given the limited stage - they clearly mean this one. A couple of tracks from the Kool Aid EPs - Ritual Of The Crocodile Men and City We Call Love - keep the intensity levels high and push the sound in this old garage to the very limits of its capabilities. 

The middle of the set sees them alternate between new and old, keeping the audience on their toes. I Can't Breathe Blues goes back to their earliest days as a band and still has the freshness and raw power to retain its place in the set alongside the more refined From Nothing To Abundance from their last full length Fantasies Of A Stay At Home Psychopath, their COVID-era album that was recorded and named before the world changed in 2020. Always and Ceremony fit seamlessly in between, very much of The Blinders but also demonstrating that they're not standing still and pushing the boundaries of their sound rather than a radical reinvention in something they're not and never have been.

There's no Brave New World, Gotta Get Through or Circle Song in the set, but that feels like a statement of intent. Signing to a major has given The Blinders a second opportunity that on the basis of tonight they look intent on making the most of with resources that were denied them first time around. L'Etat C'est Moi and Lunatic With A Loaded Gun have a ferocity to them that really get the crowd moving on the lower section of the venue's uneven floor even despite the cramped surroundings. It's in these moments that The Blinders are at their best and most intense, and Waterfalls feels like another new chapter in that book.

They finish with Black Glass, a song that allows them stories stretch themselves out and show the full gamut of their talents and as it blends into a rare treat of early track Ramona Flowers which showcases them at their rawest this feels like a laying down of a marker for a new phase of the band with their expanded line-up and possibilities. 

The Blinders played Et Tu, Brutus, Brakelights, Forty Days And Forty Nights, Ritual Of The Crocodile Men, City We Call Love, Always, I Can't Breathe Blues, Ceremony, From Nothing To Abundance, Swallowing Static, L'Etat C'est Moi, Lunatic With A Loaded Gun, Waterfalls, Black Glass and Ramona Flowers.

The Blinders' website can be found here and they are on Facebook and Twitter

Yasmin Coe is on Facebook and Twitter.

Follow Even The Stars on Twitter at @eventhestarsuk and like our Facebook page for all the latest updates 

No comments:

Post a Comment