We have been following The Blinders for more than three years now and it’s always a joy to see them conquer new heights and achieving their goals (and being on a roll as certain songs says). The band has been working extremely hard to be where they are now and their dedication has inspired their fans, industry professionals and countless bands all together.
Being ahead of the game is a hard task, but with a dedicated team, excellent ideas, and a bit of luck, everything is possible. And this blog will be dedicated to another of the band’s ideas that is going to revolutionize the DIY indie scene.
On July 26th, The Blinders notified their followers that to commemorate the first anniversary of the release of their debut album “Columbia” (September 21st), they would be releasing a double live album. Recorded during the sold out show in Manchester on 27th of April, the double vinyl delight will include the entirety of “Columbia” plus several previously unreleased tracks. The record will be released by Blood Records, a recently launched crowd purchasing platform for exclusive LP releases that is run by the same wonderful people who own Flying Vinyl.
You can get your own copy here: https://www.blood-records.co.uk/current-release/
Buy a copy of “Columbia” (if you have been living under a rock and you still don’t owe one!): https://theblinders.tmstor.es/
Now, as PR people, we do love good marketing, especially a really clever one. The first thing we saw on 25th of July, early in the afternoon, was a cryptic post with a large black and white picture of the band stading in front of the Ritz in Manchester (please notice Twisted Wheel poster on the right!) The caption read: “6 pm today”
Now, this kind of mysterious notifications are not for the faint hearted, as it could mean everything from the new album being announced to the band calling it quits. Our blood pressure went slightly up but after a refreshing cup of melissa tea (good for the nerves), we reached the conclusion that it cannot be anything bad, so we patiently waited for more information. And 5 minutes past six, we were rewarded with the following messages:
Soon, two promotional videos were made available to promote the album and they were seen more than 50.000 times on band’s combined social media (about 30k views on Facebook, 10k on Twitter and 10k on Instagram). Very good achievement with just a couple of Tweets and shares. Colour us impressed.
Official statements on Facebook accounts and newsletter followed to activate the fanbase:
You can see the newsletter at: https://us17.campaign-archive.com/?u=3b6499050c5a99dfa9d83f2e3&id=1708a96420
Flying Vinyl posts are available at: https://www.facebook.com/flyingvinylmusic/posts/2317772881662911
And in the end, The Blinders posted some of the images taken by Sam Crowston during their show at the Ritz:
The campaign finally went live on 29th of July and during the first 24 hours, nearly 260 copies flew off the virtual shelves. Pre-orders were opened until the 12th of August when they closed exactly at 10:00 am. In all, 1000 copies of the album were ordered and sold. Let us repeat that once again so it sinks in. It took two weeks for the band to sell 1k copies of a double live album. If that doesn’t make your jaws drop to the floor, then seriously your jaws must be either glued or wired. Those who preordered “Live at the Ritz” were told to wait 5 weeks for the delivery and in the mean time, more detailes were made available.
The record was mixed at Parr Street Studios in Liverpool (Elbow, The Verve, Echo and the Bunnymen, New Order, Pulp, The Charlatans recorded there among others) by Alex Queen who quickly shared the good news on Twitter:
Blood Records released the official statement upon the announcement:
“Following their bracingly thrilling debut album, ‘Columbia’, The Blinders continue as one the UK’s most anticipated emerging acts placing them at the vanguard of a generation of politically engaged British guitar bands. This exclusive, vinyl-only Blood Records release of The Blinders: Live At The Ritz features ‘Columbia’ live in its entirety alongside new unreleased material, pressed to 2x black 12″ LPs. The audio was professionally recorded, mixed and mastered from the band’s April sold out show at The Ritz to 1500 fans.
All orders will be signed (if you would like yours unsigned please write ‘unsigned’ in the delivery notes) and hand-numbered on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Customers will also receive priority access to tickets for a special Manchester launch event on September 21st as well as being automatically entered into a prize draw to win an exclusive piece of artwork.
Please note: Blood Records is a pre-ordering platform, providing the minimum sales quantity is met the records will be shipped five weeks after the deal ends.”
As stated above, it is a double live LP presed on a black vinyl. Running time is 60 minutes. “Columbia” was 42 minute long and we have 4 new, unreleased tracks added. Those who pre-order the album can expect a true VIP treatment: all copies will be signed by the band, buyers will receive priority access to record launch event and an automatic entry into prize draw for exclusive artwork. There will be only 1000 copies of the record pressed.
Thomas Haywood – vocals and guitar
Charlie McGough – bass
Matty Neale – drums, backing vocals
Max Grindle (bass player of Document) – harmonica on “Rat In A Cage” and piano on “Orbit (Salmon of Alaska)”
Thomas Castrey (drummer of Saytr Play) – percussion on “Where No Man Comes”
Recorded at: O2 Ritz, Manchester, April 27th 2019
Mixed: Parr Street Studios, Liverpool (May-July 2019)
Mixed by: Alex Queen
Live Sound by: James Higham
Mastered by: Chris Daniels
Art Direction: Nasty Man Creations
Photography & Design: Sam Crowston
Lighting Design: Mangata Collective
Special thanks: Mark Payne, Chris Phillips, Dave Bonner, chris Exstance, Patricia Payne, SJM Concert, Jamie Wade & X-Ray touring, Flying Vinyl, Modern Sky UK and team
Label: Blood Records – https://www.blood-records.co.uk
Gotta Get Through
Brave New World
Free The Slave
I Can’t Breathe Blues
Where No Man Comes
Forty Days & Forty Nights*
Ballad Of Winston Smith
L’Etat C’Est Moi
Lunatic With A Loaded Gun*
Rat In A Cage
Et Tu/Berlin Wall
Orbit [Salmon Of Alaska]
* (previously unreleased)
** (not included on “Columbia” and released as a stand alone, double side single “Ramona Flowers/Swine” in 2017. The 7″ single was pressed in 500 copies only and is now a collectible item. More information: https://www.discogs.com/The-Blinders-Swine/release/10784923
Record release and the launch event timeline:
On 9th of August, the band revealed more details about their show that would take place on 21st of September. We have been told that there will be an exhibition, Q+A session and a stripped back set.
A week later, fans were electrified by another announcement – those who preordered the album were offered a chance to purchase tickets to the lauch event before everybody else. The band also revealed where the event would be taking place. Despite first bets being placed on The Night People (The Blinders’ favourite place in Manchester), a popular central location has been chosen – 33 Oldham Street.
Fans were asked to check their emails, follow the link sent to them and register tickets using their unique pre-order numbers. Due to limited number of places (33 Oldham Street can hold only 40 people in seated environment), the band used “first come, first serve” basis. The registration was closed on Sunday, 18th of August 2019 at 12:00 pm.
On 25th of August, The Blinders announced that the tickets will be available to purchase on Tuesday 27th of August, at 10:00 am.
Modern Sky UK (The Blinders’ record label) released their own announcement on the same day, revealing that the event would be hosted by popular Manchester DJ, Shell Zenner (XS Manchester/Amazing Radio):
Tuesday came finally and the loyal fans of the band, went ticket hunting on the internet. As with the demand for the record, the tickets dissapeared so quickly that many were left disappointed! We are not sure how quickly they were sold out but it must have been less than 20 minutes. At 12:20 pm, the band released the following statement:
After speaking to the management, the band released another statement, announcing that due to massive demand for the tickets, The Blinders would host a matinee event on the same day, between 1:00 pm and 4:pm. Tickets were again released the following day and those who couldn’t purchase them on the previous occassion, could still attend the event, just in the afternoon instead of the evening.
As you may guess, the second batch of tickets, were also sold out in a flash. What else to expect, eh?
On September 11th, another announcement was made. As Shell Zenner was unable to host two events, another special guest was invited to do the Q+A session with the band. This special guest was…the legendary DJ, Dave Haslam himself!
Sadly as the event date was getting closer, something that nobody could predict, has happened. Thomas Haywood became ill and The Blinders were forced to cancel many domestic and European dates. On 16th of September, the band issued the following statement apologizing for pushing both events to 2nd of November 2019:
To make it up to the fans for the unplanned re-schedule, the band along with Shell Zenner came up with a clever plan – they held a DJ set at 33 Oldham Street and the entry to the event was free. Matty and Charlie were to make an appearance and the doors were opening at 9:00 pm.
We don’t have to tell you that the place was packed and people were queuing outside to get into the small club! Matty and Charlie arrived exactly on time and the party lasted until late. What was played? Everything from Manchester classics, to Abba, Britney Spears (“Toxic”), Whigfield (“Saturday Night”) and some unexpected bangers such as Cheeky Girls (“Cheeky Song”). Good fun was had by all. And some pretty good dance moves were caught on camera.
The Final Product and the reception:
On September 21st, the debut album, “Columbia” turned one. The band celebrated the occassion by sending out the “Live At The Ritz” albums out to fans and making a tweet:
And the response to the album has been fantastic. It debuted at number 8 on the official UK Charts! This is the first double-live album by an indie artist to go into top ten on Vinyl Chart!
You can check the statistics for the Vinyl top 40 at: https://www.officialcharts.com/charts/vinyl-albums-chart/
To see those exact results as on the screenshot, please use the date of 27th of September 2019.
That’s not all! Live At the Ritz made it into two other charts as well: Official Independent Albums chart at number 23 and Independent Breakers Albums chart at number 4! We have screens to prove it!
We have received our copy as well and we absolutely love the album. The release comes with 2 black vinyls, packed into a single sleeve. It would be much better if it was a a gate fold – but hey we cannot complain! The design is similar to the “Columbia”, each copy is numbered (our is 128!) and signed by all three band members with a lovely silver marker. We have taken a couple of pictures after unpacking to show you how it looks like:
And what do the fans say?
The reviews are universally positive. Just see the reactions that can be found online:
“Live At The Ritz showcases the band’s talent and proves that if you haven’t seen them just yet, then now’s the time to do so. The Blinders are only going to grow from here” – Katie Macbeth for Indie Is Not A Genre blog
“Two years on, they are inevitably a better live band. Tighter, harder, and wiser, this live album is a no brainer of a purchase. If you have never seen or heard them, we cordially invite you to the hoodwink society”- Mike Adams for Travellers Tunes
If you havent ordered the album in the summer, then you may be happy to hear that “Live at The Ritz” is now available on digital platforms. On 29th of November, The Blinders announced that the double album is ready to be purchased in mp3 form from all good platforms. The announcement was made with a brand new exciting video:
You can stream it from:
Apple Music – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/live-at-the-ritz/1489344878
Deezer – https://www.deezer.com/en/album/120601052
Amazon Music – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Live-at-Ritz-Blinders/dp/B0821F78X2/
Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/album/1iurgbvHCUpPkDuLyjNCyE
Or you can purchase the linited version album from the official store: https://theblinders.tmstor.es/cart/product.php?id=58136
We will be updating the blog as more information becomes available. And of course, please read our review from the event on 2nd of November!
Keep your eyes open and support your scene!