Live Review: The Blinders at Jimmy’s in Manchester 24/02/2017

Review from Jack Brownbill

2016. Didn’t really go to plan did it? From music to politics to the arts, it was as bad as it gets. I, like many, am now thinking the arrival of 2017 brings hope, optimism and basically loads of great music to fight back.

Whether good or bad – whatever side of the fence you decidedly sit in, nobody can argue that with any significant shift in music can bring that hope, optimism, change, and agenda. Something that defines the movement of many.

The past can tell us a lot about what can come out of social change and division. From Thatcherism and artists such as The Jam, The Smiths and Billy Bragg, to New Labour and the Britpop movement, as a nation we somehow can be at our most creative when it comes to catching the mood and tone through our music.

This brings me nicely on to The Blinders. Currently, the band that have people talking (along with Cabbage) about the nation’s state of affairs. Some would argue that Manchester is actually leading the line with its current crop of bands engaging with the current mood and times. It’s easy to forget as the tides change, society shifts and ethics evolve, people have to go with that, and a band like The Blinders are doing just that. It’s worth noting as well that these guys are young, so it’s really refreshing to see young people becoming more concerned and interested in social movements. But it also helps that the songs these boys play are just absolute bangers.

Based in Manchester but actually originating from Doncaster, the band are currently on tour and found themselves at the Northern Quarter’s newest venue, Jimmy’s NQ. The big (and probably expectant) crowd were here to see a band that everyone’s talking about. The night was set and everyone knew something special was in the air.

The cosy but claustrophobic venue was actually perfect for the cult like crowd. Everyone was here not only to see some great music, but I feel with The Blinders, people are aware of what they represent and that’s what was so exciting. A quick mention to the two supports acts who played their part in keeping with the high octane energy that maintained throughout the evening. Carnival Club & Saytr Play might be both rehashing old school indie music, but you can’t fault them for the enthusiasm and for doing exactly what any warm up act should be doing. Whipping the crowd up to a frenzy, serving them to the headliners on a plate, ready for the big show.

The magic started with actually nothing happening. Time went by and after a brief conversation with the bass player, I was informed that the lead singer had not arrived on time to the show. Rocking up a good 10 to 15 mins late didn’t bother anyone in the slightest. Frontman Thomas Haywood eventually did turn up, covered in his now trademark black face paint and writing scribbled all over his body and guitar. A lovely message aimed at the Tories is etched over the instrument as well for good measure. If anything, it added to the rock and roll, and the lead singer knew it. As if baying for blood, he knew the anticipation of the crowd was hot. As you can imagine, after that first chord was played, a release of emotion was released and the gig never let the momentum drop.

As far as the songs were concerned, with only a limited release of songs available on the web, and one proper single to their name, the stand out track is the debut single ‘Swine’. Full of raw anger and energy, this is a song that really does capture the mood of the youth in just over 3 minutes – It’s simple 3 chord riffs with a psychedelic twist.

The gig was over before it had begun, but that’s the knack of a great, exciting new band. The Blinders are really going places and in the aftermath of the sweat of the gig, everyone knew that. The mutters of “We were there” rang out. The Blinders are making great music, but more importantly, they are engaging the audience with important issues. Manchester has a knack of being part of moments in music, and history will confirm that. The Blinders, albeit honorary Mancunians, may just be starting their own mark of the musical heritage within the city, and across the land. Not just ones to watch; Just watch them go.

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