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THE BLINDERS LIVE IN MANCHESTER

THE BLINDERS LIVE IN MANCHESTER – WHAT HAPPENED?

Tonight, an eulogy as much as it is a gig review.  After the launch of the new album Beholder, the band announced they were cancelling the European leg for their tour and that they would ” take a step back, to pursue something else for a while, to see where the next road takes us” after tonight, now the final gig of the tour and where better to have it than the Donny boys adopted hometown of Manchester.

This news had come as a bit of a shock to fans, Beholder is their strongest release to date, gaining critical acclaim pretty much across the board with it’s sense that the band had come of age, a selection of songs that contain the angst and anger of the debut release Columbia but with the production values of Fantasies Of A Stay At Home Psychopath,. It’s a compelling listen that sadly had been woefully under marketed by their new label Funhouse Recordings, the new “Indie grassroots” project of EMI Records.

Denver County Council 

Looking not dissimilar to War On Drugs and the sound is of a similar note in points with hints of U2 in the vocals but don’t let that put you off them. Indeed if your bag is mid 80’s Indie rock then get onto them, you won’t be disappointed.

Stanleys.

Surely shouldn’t need an introduction  to RGM readers?

On a Wigan scale they’re more Latham’s than Lilacs. Jangily indie guitar type stuff however unfortunately the vocals a little flat tonight and I don’t think they are the best choice to whip a crowd up for the headliner normally anyway, certainly not a patch on Alien Chicks who did a sterling  job firing up the crowd at  Tuesday nights Wardrobe gig in Leeds.

The Blinders 

The concern that with the New Century only being half full during The Stanleys and the final night isn’t actually a sell out demolishes as the hall rapidly begins to fill as the clock ticks towards the 9.20 final kick off, it seems like half of Manchester’s gig community is here tonight, so many hello’s and hugs from people who know people through meeting people in the places like here.

Walk on song is Sylvester Davis’ The End Of The World as the house lights drop for one last time. “Let gets some fucking lights on in here then!” Thomas screams into the microphone as the crowd cheers them on .

Boyholder opener Ceremony starts the set, it’s a rowser on the album and doesn’t disappoint live, indeed by Et Tu’s opening bars the Century Halls floor is already bouncing from the front to way back to the sound desk where I’m writing this review.

I’ve a feeling this band band will be going out in style tonight, it might be a Thursday but the weekend has definitely fucking arrived! Another new track Always keeps the crowd pumping as does Waterfalls Of Venice with it’s driving tribal drum beat and while the mosh pit is still simmering through both newies it’s another off Beholder Iggy Got Cameo that finally slows it down for a few minutes giving the crowd a chance to catch it’s breath.

Not for long though as Forty Days and Forty Nights is up next and limbs and lungs are called into action yet again as the band conduct them between chanting along and bouncing and as they jump into From Nothing To Abundance when the instrumental breaks beer and bodies are flying and for once very few phones are out filming, the majority are living in the moment and the 1st surfer of the night is up and heading towards the stage as Thomas’ vocals are hitting a new high in power.

Ritual Of The Crocodile Man from the EP Electric Kool-Aid (Pt2) is a bit of a curve ball thrown as I’m not sure I’ve actually heard that done live before and another off the newbie While I’m Still Young dops the moment slightly then it’s back to familiar territory for the crowd as Something Wicked strikes up, as does the pit down the front. Lunatic (With A Loaded Gun) gives them no respite and theres finally a few strugglers red faced, pouring with sweat bailing the mosh pit at this point and those remaining luckily for their sakes the tempo is taken down for Beholders Nocturnal Skies.

Mule and Writer continue the onslaught on the crowd before Thomas addresses them saying he can’t really put it into context so is letting the music continue and All I Need that follows’ lyrics suming up the words he’s struggling to get out tonight.

Encore

Time to take no prisoners, Létat C’est Moi and  Brave New World have surfers heading towards the barrier and bodies bouncing throughout the hall once again before Ramona Flowers takes it down one final time, Charlie taking on a Wilko Johnson pose as he holds his bass like a gun towards the crowd.

Thomas addresses everyone one last time, he’s never been one to speaking much during a gig, preferring the songs to do the talking but as he runs off a list of all the iconic Manchester venues they’ve played there a sadness to his tone before Black Glass wraps it up with people up on shoulders, arms around each other and then that, in the haze of the final moments suddenly it was no more.

The way Thomas controls the crowd while Charlie prowls is one of the greatest gig moments many are going to miss or worse completely miss out on. At times tonight the mood was a little flat rather than the start to end celebration but you have to remind yourself that this gig is the Beholder tour gig not a farewell tour one full of crowd pleasing bangers and besides not all of a wake is full of laughter and joy.

It has been a pleasure and a privilege to see this band grow and get to know them, one of the best bands I have had the joy to see perform now have played their final chords.

The Blinders are dead. Long live The Blinders.

Photo Credit – Hels Millington

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