While The Blinders may have been born in Doncaster the three-piece very much blossomed in Manchester making this their biggest home town headline show to date. The crowd felt similar to a school reunion with greetings and nodding to familiar faces in the crowd from previous gigs. Conversations about when The Blinders were last seen, from hazy recollections of New Year’s Eve at Night People, pop up acoustics sets, headlining in a brewery and when sweat was dripping off the walls at Deaf Institute, with each recollection being met with responses of commiserations if any of the aforementioned gigs were missed.
The set began as it always does with the lights dropping to black and their customary mash up of socially engaged snippets filtering through out Gene Wilders Willy Wonker classic “Pure Imagination” before the band took to the stage blasting straight into ‘Gotta Get Through’ hitting the eager crowd with a wall of sound that bounced the legendary sprung Ritz floor. Next up was the equally firm fan favourite ‘Brave New World’, followed by one of their earliest tracks, ‘Ramona Flowers’.
At this point the crowd was lapping up every chord by singer and guitarist Tom Haywood with his trademark painted black eyes and despite the high ceiling of the theatre the heat was rising along side the ever growing mosh pit which was spreading to the sides of the room. The audience was suitably built up into a frenzy before new tracks “Wither” and‘Forty Days & Forty Nights’. Despite the tracks being less well known the momentum didn’t flicker as they ploughed on into more tracks off debut album “Columbia”; “L’Etat C’est Moi”, “Hate Song” and “Rat in a Cage”. Before bringing the all too brief night to a close with heart wrenching “Brutus” then the more poetic and milder mannered “Orbit”.
Politically provocative, vocally visceral, energetic and enigmatic The Blinders have never failed to disappoint and the definitely did not tonight. This Ritz gig was proof they are more than ready in terms of material and solid support to embrace the next stage of their musical careers.