Indieteria presents The Columbia Exhibition

Dear Readers,

This is the end, sang Jim Morrison, on one of the most popular songs by The Doors and it does look like an end of an era. Not a definitive end of course, nobody is calling it quits and the band is not breaking up, yet we cannot help but feel a certain sense of  profound loss.

In August, The Blinders announced two acoustic shows to celebrate the first anniversary of the release of “Columbia” – their critically acclaimed debut album. The shows were accompanied by a double vinyl live album recorded during their tour in April. “Live At The Ritz” was the band’s gift to the loyal fans and the last stop on their journey before the dystopian gates of Columbia were to be shut tight for the last time.

Originally, the concerts were supposed to take place on 21st of September but due to Thomas Haywood’s illness, they were moved to 2nd of November. Both events of course sold out straight away and fans had to wait patiently for the big day to arrive. A minor inconvenience but the wait was definitely worth it in the end. As they say, good things happen to those who are counting down the days on their calendars.

We arrived at 33 Oldham Street exactly at 13:00 fearing that we have missed some of the show, but luckily the doors opened half an hour  later. We had the time to have something to eat, prepare and charge our recording equipment (aka the faithful mobile phones) and take a small Polaroid session for future PR purposes. Believe us, in the busy lives of the A&R’s, half an hour means forever! At 13:30 sharp, we were allowed into the main performance room and the Q&A session commenced.

David Nolan, an accomplished music journalist and published author started the show by giving the audience his business cards, asking them to text him the questions for the band. The best ones were chosen and the trio was asked to answer them which proved to be a really great move. While asking the question, David looked for the author among the public and it helped the session to have a more intimate feel. The band also seemed pleased that they could interact with the audience. This led to several funny moments where we found out about cringe worthy situations from the early gigs or allowed Matty or Charlie to express their opinions on certain topics such as politics or being in a popular rock group. David also made everybody laugh when he realized there were no chairs for the band to sit on and the group had to stand up (“welcome to the 1970’s!”), except for Matty who sat comfortably on this drum set much to the playful irritation of Charlie and Thomas. What we liked about Mr Nolan the most was the fact that he didn’t sugar coated anything and was not afraid to speak his mind (“your Twitter feed is boring”). He held the lads up to the task and wouldn’t let them skip answering difficult questions, if they weren’t cooperating, he dragged the answers out them! He was a fair and square host, not hired to sing praises but to present the boys as they truly are. And brownie points to the band themselves as they truthfully answered everything. Not everyone would allow to be grilled like this, majority of the bands would probably used this session as a PR stunt, but the Blinders were very honest and real.

Thomas as the front man, spoke the most, explaining the recording process of the first album, telling stories from the road and histories hidden behind his favourite pictures taken by Sam Crowston. The Q&A session lasted for over an hour and afterwards, the band posed for pictures and signed posters and records.

The performance came next and it was a revelation to those who haven’t seen the band in an acoustic setting before. We have seen The Blinders playing at the Night at the Museum in Blackburn so we were prepare for what was coming but it was still a great experience. Thomas’s keyboard skills improved greatly since the summer and he was now comfortably jamming between songs. The Blinders played 9 songs in total, two brand new ones (“I Want Gold” and “Something Wicked This Way Comes”), one from Thomas’ solo repertoire (“Circle Song”) and the rest was composed from the songs  included on “Columbia”.

Matinee event
Date: 2nd of November
Time: 13:30-16:00 pm
Place: 33 Oldham Street
Host (Q&A): David Nolan

Setlist:

L’Etat C’Est Moi
Ballad Of Winston Smith
Where No Man Comes
I Want Gold
ICB Blues
Orbit (Salmon Of Alaska)
Something Wicked This Way Comes
Circle Song
Brave New World

Pictures:

 

Videos:

Q&A Session: 

 

Evening event:

We sadly could only attend the afternoon performance, but the main evening event wasn’t much different from the matinee one. The set list was a bit different (“Ramona Flowers” and “Rat In A Cage” were added) but the Q&A session was again conducted by David Nolan. If you’d like to listen to the entire performance, you are in luck as it was recorded and it is available on Youtube. All the links are attached below.

Date: 2nd of November
Time: 19:00-22:00 pm
Place: 33 Oldham Street
Host (Q&A): David Nolan

Setlist:
ICB Blues
Something Wicked This Way Comes
Brave New World
Orbit (Salmon Of Alaska)
Brave New World
Rat In A Cage
Ramona Flowers
Circle Song
I Want Gold

Videos:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhN1qup-etI (full show and Q&A)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxpMoToJZWE (Q&A session)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEX_2QhA0Nc (Orbit)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cULZZQfT2g (ICB Blues, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Brave New World)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVA_s1zR7UM (Brave New World)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPwk2Bo7mE8 (Rat In A Cage)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsOotB1ucyY (Ramona Flowers)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwDLpP8NnOc (Circle Song)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCnaj8zffMw (Something Wicked This Way Comes)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Pr9-OUPr6Y (I Want Gold)

 

THE EXHIBITION

After the performance, the guests were free to roam and admire the exhibition that was prepared especially for the ocassion. It was divided into two parts: the photography exhibition taken by Sam Crowston (displayed on the walls), and the costumes, artwork and everything else linked to the band was also presented on the two upper floors of the building.

The Columbia Photo Exhibition was spread on all floors of the 33 Oldham Street. The walls were decorated with over 60 framed pictures – from the main restaurant area on the ground floor, the first floor where the performance and the Q&A session took place, to the top floor sitting area that has been turned into the main exhibition room. Each photograph was given a short description underneath and each floor had their own small story board which explained different periods in the band’s history and shed a bit of a light at the displayed pictures.

The Columbia Era – all pictures by Sam Crowston
https://samcrowstonimaging.com/
https://www.instagram.com/sam_crowston_
https://twitter.com/sam_crowston_
https://www.facebook.com/sam.crowston

You can purchase the prints at:
https://theblindersofficial.com/theexhibition

Time: 2nd – 30th November 2019
Place: 33 Oldham Street, Manchester
Entry: Free

 

The second part of the exhibition was a bit smaller but also impressive. We could see the famed blue boilersuit costumes and pig masks that appeared in the “Swine” video, old promotional posters (All Seeying Eye, You Are Being Observed, Know Your Place, We Are In This Together) created for the first stage of Columbia promo tour and used in the “L’Etat C’Est Moi”short film. There was a short propaganda video displayed on the wall, covers of all four singles released from the debut album (“Gotta Get Through”, “Brave New World”, “Rat In A Cage” and “L’Etat C’Est Moi”) and artworks made out of broken vinyl created by West Midlands based artist, Kirk Whitehouse.

An old type writer took the central stage with the bands lyrics scattered around it and some of the lyrics sheet were also displayed in different parts of the room. To find them all, you had to criss-cross the exhibition several times but it was worth doing.

Outside, two red Columbia flags were battered by the winter winds and rain…

The acoustic shows and the live record (“Live at the Ritz”) closed the first chapter in the band’s history. The second album is now recorded, mixed and will be released sometime next year.

Nobody knows what the future holds for the Doncaster trio. Some shows are already booked for 2020 and the band has no intention for slowing down so we can expect bigger and better things to happen. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Please stick with the band to see what’s going to happen next. The ride is going to be  exciting  and it’s worth looking forward to it.

See you soon,
Rita and Malicia

Indieterria presents The Blinders Live at The Ritz

Dear comrades!

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.

Black Records logo

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.”

THE RECORD:

 

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.

Personnel:
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

Tracklist:
Side A
Gotta Get Through
Brave New World
Wither*

Side B
Free The Slave
I Can’t Breathe Blues
Where No Man Comes
Forty Days & Forty Nights*
Ballad Of Winston Smith

Side C
L’Etat C’Est Moi
Hate Song
Lunatic With A Loaded Gun*
Rat In A Cage

Side D
Et Tu/Berlin Wall
Brutus
Orbit [Salmon Of Alaska]
Swine**

* (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.

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love you more than words, thank u for having my back, always x

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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!

Official Vinyl charts for 27.09.2019

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
https://www.indieisnotagenre.com/the-blinders-live-at-the-ritz-review/

“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
https://travellerstunes.com/features/the-blinders

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NOW PLAYING | The Blinders – Live at The Ritz. One of my fav bands @theblinders of the last few years have come up with a limited & signed live album. Recorded at The Ritz, Manchester back in April this year. It’s a pure sweaty Rock’n’Roll live experience on double vinyl. Hand numbered, this is 135/1000 and hand signed makes this a nice little collectible of a live force on the music scene right now. Side A. A1 Gotta Get Through A2 Brave New World A3 Ramona Flowers A4 Wither Side B. B1 Free The Slave B2 I Can't Breathe Blues B3 Where No Man Comes B4 Forty Days & Forty Nights B5 Ballad Of Winston Smith Side C. C1 L'Etat C'Est Moi C2 Hate Song C3 Lunatic With A Loaded Gun C4 Rat In A Cage Side D. D1 Et Tu D2 Brutus D3 Orbit (Salmon Of Alaska) D4 Swine – – – – #theblinders #liveattheritz #lp #lps #12inch #33rpm #record #records #vinyl #vinylcollector #vinylcollection #vinyljunkie #vinyligclub #vinyloftheday #vinyladdict #nowplaying #nowspinning #vinylsofinstagram #vinylporn #vinyllove #vinylcommunity #audioporn #turntable #recordplayer #recordcollection #recordcollector #instavinyl #instavinyls

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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!
xxx
R+M