The Blinders + Saytr Play: Live Review @ Jimmy’s Liverpool
In our current socio-political climate, the country has undoubtedly experienced an inevitable upsurge in angsty, politically-driven punk bands yelling in defiance of Britain’s modern conditions. Amongst this sub-genre lies the likes of highly-acclaimed Interpol and Idles, who have contributed to the revival of punk; shouting its message loud and proud… Doncaster trio The Blinders are no exception, and lie somewhere between these. Having shot to local fame after the release of their debut album Columbia last year, the trio continue to inject the same mercilessly political and pacing manner on stage – perhaps even more prominently so than on their record; which is probably why they remain so popular up north and consider the likes of Manchester their adopted home, as well as the reason for them selling out Jimmy’s Liverpool in advance, making my first time watching the punk-revival northern favourites all the more memorable. Once the first notes of Gotta Get Through were initiated, ripples and moshes were indulged in immediately, and the crowd went fucking crazy. They loved it.
Kicking off the intoxicatingly sweaty night, was Mancunian indie-pop band Saytr Play, who claimed the venue as their own immediately. If a band could take a room and shoot a lightning bolt through the entire crowd which facilitates ungodly amounts of moshing and energy, then these guys are it! It’s probably worth mentioning that they got everyone rockin’ and rollin’; from the 6”4 middle-aged fella next to me to my 5”2 self. If you’d have heard some of their tracks prior to the gig, then you’d be furiously shouting the lyrics to frontman Fred Farrell as he crowd surfed through the seas of people, (seas that mainly consisted of mosh-fuelled pint spills, of course) and if you’ve been unlucky enough to have not stumbled across them before, then you’d certainly have been leaving with the intention of religiously listening to them. Admittedly, I did not know what to expect prior to them owning and firmly establishing the stage as temporarily theirs, and only theirs immediately after taking it, but by the end of their set, I was hooked.
They’ve been compared to the likes of Catfish & The Bottlemen and The Vaccines, and having seen both of these live, it’s safe to say that their stage presence is definitely comparable. Their catchy sound and relatable style can be heard on their first two singles ‘Mother’s Love’ and ‘Don’t Go East’, both of which received incredible responses – you’d be silly not to check them out if you haven’t already!
Finally, following their set was the long awaited The Blinders. The ones which everyone had been amped up for, for the duration of the gig… And rightly so! My first time seeing the Doncaster trio was made special by it being a sold-out, extremely intimate set at Jimmy’s which opened a mere three days ago. However, having chatted to a few people around me, I realised that these guys have a following from all over the place, and for a lot of people who attended, it wasn’t their first time seeing them. I asked a woman if she could see, conscious of my massive barnet blocking her view, to which she replied, “no, it’s okay! This is my fifth time seeing them anyway. Just enjoy.” After walking out of the venue, I understood exactly why they’ve accumulated such a large following. It was electrifying and brilliant; littered with angsty political undertones and blinding lights (no, that wasn’t intended.)
After opening with floor-filling, headbanging inducing Gotta Get Through It; the psych undertones riddled in the guitarship which is subtly present on the record is nowhere to be heard live, with the raucous basslines and piercing vocals overpowering it, in the best way possible. As the instrumentals drench out and the crowd slightly mellows, the intro to L’ etat C’est Moi, ‘the state is me’ starts playing and leaves no time for us to recover; lashing the crowd into an immediate jangling ecstasy. The audience thrashed across the room – heads rocking, and eyes closed – mirroring the band’s onstage mien.
The next highlight of the night arrives at Hate Song, a track which was inspired by Orwell’s 1984, when the atmosphere is notably slowed and the presence of a more poignant sense of emotion is clear, followed by Free The Slave, a narrative of the character Winston Smith from the novel. It was also inspired by Bob Dylan’s track “Sad eyed lady of the lowlands”, in which he said “Where the sad eyed prophet said no man comes.” The band’s slant towards political lyricism drives many of their tracks, and is completely relevant – welcome, even – in modern times.
Arguably their most well-known hit, Brave New World, arrives later on in the evening with the distinguishable bassline acting as a sort of preparation warning for the crowd, before they descended into the musical abyss of doomed youth – an evident theme for the track. Immediately after, the room was electrified by their performance of Ramona Flowers which was perhaps the atmospheric peak of the night.
They closed their frenzy-inducing set with the rampant Brutus, severely amping up the rock n’ roll spirit for one last time before we exited the doors; drenched in a rank compound of sweat, pints, and probably a mixture of the people who you were standing next to at various points’ sweat, also.
My first impressions of The Blinders live is a clear cut one; It was crazy, apocalyptic, and unapologetically political. The sheer adrenaline output of the band which was transferred throughout the whole room, ensuring an energetically explosive atmosphere throughout, was incredible. They know how to put on a good show beyond the visual aspects and the sound; they’ve got the ability to engage their fans and go beyond creating lasting relationships with them through their showmanship, and this is exactly what live music is about… The intoxicating sweatiness of the night was definitely worth it by the time it concluded!