There is certain mystery and elusiveness that surrounds Bambara. Formed in Atlanta and now based in Brooklyn, the American trio successfully avoid being pigeonholed and labelled. Their dark, moody mixture of blues, psychedelia, lo-fi, noise and punk rock brought them universal acclaim for their music. Now on their fourth album (“Stray” was released on 14th of February), Bambara is slowly breaking out from the independent circuit and into the mainstream. With their energetic shows, full of anger, passion and poetry, they are certainly making their mark on the popular music. We sat down with the band to discuss their new album, touring with IDLES and the impact of the pandemic on their plans this year.
Bambara – from left to right: Blaze, William and Reid
Bambara is based in Brooklyn but you come from Athens, Georgia – a town that holds a special place in the American music history. The list of hugely popular artists that came from Athens includes: R.E.M., The B-52’s, Widespread Panic and Neutral Milk Hotel. Do you feel like you continue the heritage of the place, or maybe you would rather distance yourself from it?
Blaze Bateh: Athens is a beautiful, special place. I really don’t know anywhere else quite like it. I’d like to think we are continuing the heritage of Athens. Even though we left almost 10 years ago, it still feels like a huge part of us. The last 2 records, Shadow On Everything and Stray, were both mixed in Athens with our friend Drew Vandenberg and we recorded Stray with him as well.
William Brookshire: I still think of us as a band from Athens as much as New York. We still have a ton of friends that work in music there, great venues, and it always feels like home when we go back.
We remember watching “Æon Flux” on MTV Oddities back in the 1990’s. There was a character named Bambara and we heard you named the band after him. He was rather a shady figure in the series. Was there something special about him that you felt compelled to take on his name for your musical project?
Blaze Bateh: Honestly there wasn’t anything in particular about him as a character that drove us to use his name. We were just HUGE fans of the show. I’ve watched the show start to finish countless times and I still get blown away by aspects of it. But yeah, we just thought his name sounded really cool.
You cite Nick Cave, Birthday Party and Swans as your main musical influences but also, rather surprisingly, filmmaker David Lynch and Polish writer, Bruno Schultz. If that’s the case, you are probably the only musicians in existence we could discuss the “Cinnamon Stores” with! What else inspires you to create?
Blaze Bateh: It’s hard to say where inspiration directly comes from, but I know when I’m writing, I’m typically striving to create an atmosphere that I want to put myself in at that moment. So I suppose my inspiration is typically more visual.
Reid Bateh: I agree with what Blaze said. And yes Bruno Schultz is a big inspiration for me – the power of zoomed-in, specific imagery and the beauty of the underbelly. I also used an abstracted version of a character from “The Street of Crocodiles” in our previous record “Swarm”.
Bambara’s sound is hard to describe: you are being classified as post punk, industrial rock, psychedelia and gothic revival with young Glenn Danzing on vocals. Do you agree with those labels?
Blaze Bateh: Ha. Sure I’ll take it.
William Brookshire: Sounds pretty cool.
Reid Bateh: Why not!
You have toured with Idles in October and November last year – playing over 17 dates across America. That was a mammoth tour in a magnificent company. How do you find the punk rockers from Bristol? Any fun stories from the road? (Does Joe Talbot snore? Do they do their own laundry?)
Blaze Bateh: Those guys are the best. We hit it off with them immediately and became incredibly close very quickly. We still chat pretty frequently. They’re one of the few bands I can ever imagine being excited to see play night after night for a month straight. They just give it everything they’ve got no matter what. To me, that’s what live music is about. Otherwise, what’s the point? I’ll just listen at home for free.
William Brookshire: Such a fun time. We got a free month-long Master Class in the refined tastes of chocolate milk, and the shows were great too.
The band received a lot of support from BBC6 Music. They were instrumental in introducing you to the audience in the UK: your songs have been named singles of the week, you also played an exclusive session for them. Did you enjoy your appearance at the Beeb?
Blaze Bateh: 6 Music has been immensely supportive. Specifically Steve Lamacq. We were very lucky that he happened to catch our last show of SXSW in 2019. We did a session with him back in October and we were all pretty nervous. I actually broke my drum head about 30 minutes before we went on. I looked up a music shop nearby on my phone and started sprinting there to buy a replacement. My phone died after about 10 minutes and I had no fucking idea what to do. Luckily I ran into a shop and the people there were nice enough to let me use their phone to reroute. I made it back to the studio with about 5 minutes until we went on. I was sweating buckets and probably played everything too fast from all the adrenaline.
The first single released to promote “Stray” was called “Serafina”. It was described as a love song. In an interview with Fader Magazine, Reid said that he wanted to write a song “radiating a wild-eyed hope, a youthful disregard for death itself”. Tell us more about it.
Reid Bateh: Serafina was the last song I wrote lyrics for, and by that time the record had taken form as a death-obsessed collage of vignettes dominated by a sense of doom. Looking back at all the other songs I’d finished, I felt that the record needed a vignette that would approach this topic a little differently. I wanted to make sure that some of the characters on the record weren’t afraid of death, or even felt like they could conquer it.
“Serafina” is followed by two other singles – “Sing Me To The Streets” and “Heat Lightning”. Each song is like a snippet taken out of a noire Hollywood blockbuster. Do you see “Stray” as a concept album?
“Stray” cover artwork
Reid Bateh: Conceptually, I see “Stray” as a sort of collection of short stories that are interconnected.
The band had incredible press on both sides of the Atlantic with reviews from NME, Financial Times, Brooklyn Vegan, The Clash Magazine, DIY, NPR, Kerrang, Stereogum among many others. But it was your long time champion, BBC DJ Steve Lamacq, that delivered the most accurate one. “For an album which deals with wild abandon and impetuous, crazed logic, it is beautifully and astutely structured” – wrote Lamacq – “And when the movie of it is finally made, the billboard strapline will read: BAMBARA – Have they come to take your souls or save them?”. So “Stray” is finally here. What happens now?
Blaze Bateh: Well, we were supposed to be leaving for a month-long European tour in a couple days, but that’s not happening anymore for obvious reasons. We’re in a kind of limbo now just waiting to see what will happen with our schedule. As of now we are planning to play the UK and Ireland in August, but we’ll see. We’re just trying to focus on what we can control right now and that’s writing more music.
Not being able to perform is putting a huge financial strain on bands. Are there any ways your fans can support you through this difficult time?
Blaze Bateh: Yes it is. It was a massive financial and psychological blow for us. Buying our shirts and tote bags is the best way so support us at the moment. We are also accepting donations via our Spotify page. Anything helps.
If the corona virus do not thwarts the plans again, the already-once postponed European tour should commence at the end of July. Some of the tour dates are already being rescheduled for December, so please keep your eyes open. Below you will find the dates as they stand at this moment:
Bambara Tour 2020
We have seen the band play in Manchester in October last year at the Soup Kitchen and we were blown away by the intensity of their performance. Backed up by two live musicians (Sammy Zalta and Bryan Keller Jr. on guitars), Bambara in their 5 piece re-incarnation is a perfect machine that cannot be stopped. IF we are lucky, we will see them in Birmingham or/and in Manchester again.
After all, who can resist the temptation of the dark side?
When I was a young and inexperienced female music fan, the one that would cut out articles from NME to stick them to the walls, I thought that going to gigs was being part of history in the making. Discovering artists in small venues before they conquer the world, being with like minded people, falling in love with the music.
When I grew up a little bit more and actually went to gigs, I discovered that live shows could be rough or even dangerous (my first gig seen my nose being broken by a cassette tape thrown from the stage) while some fans were rude, crude and grouping was normal.
I dreamed I would hang out with musicians like all A&Rs and PRs I admired. I thought I’d have connections, be respected in the business and help artists achieve the greatness. Once again I had to revisit my plans. Women in music were scarce, bands would quit before they achieved anything, artists would not even acknowledge your input before moving on to “better things” and sexism was rampant.
In short – if you are a female in music business – you need skin thicker than that of Anna Franklyn (do see “The Reptile” if you can), determination of Rambo and patience of a saint to do your job. I will be honest, sometimes I get sick and tired of music, gigs and lads with guitars.
But then, you encounter a band that tears your heart out, blows your mind and you fall in love with them unconditionally – from the first note. You start believing all those things about greatness, being part of something special and history in the making. I keep telling that as a music obsessive, I fall in love with artists twice a week. Every couple of years, I lose my head. And I don’t know what’s in the water in Yorkshire, but for the third time, it’s a band from Doncaster. Well, ¼ of the band actually. The rest is from Australia, Austria, Germany and they are based in Hamburg.
Modern Girls artwork
The Kecks have been on my radar for nearly a year now. If before they were in “the best new band on the circuit” category, after their newest single “Modern Girls”, they are elevated to being inches away from my favourite band.
Man, do they tick all the boxes! They don’t do happy sing-alongs for the public. Leave that to Gerry Cinnamon. Theirs is rock and roll spiked with psychedelia, raw and emotional, provocative and dangerous. Sensual even. Music that goes straight to the soul. They know their craft. Singer Lennart Uschmann throws himself on stage like it`s his only mean of survival. He is capable of both – serenading the audience, whispering and howling like a mad person in the attic. There is something theatrical, otherworldly about him. Think David Bowie or Richard Hell. It`s mesmerizing. The rest of the band (Samuel Telford on guitar, Joel Phillips on bass and Kai Weidle on drums) follow closely – in their coats, flamboyant shirts, make up or dresses – smashing out bangers and kicking clichés in the balls. On the indie circuit full of post punk acts that made school uniforms out of trench coats, white shirts and black trousers, The Kecks are shining with their retro attires.
Another thing that wins me over in an artist is their ethics. I`m always in the corner of the underdogs, those who come out of the underground, the self made and the struggling. And The Kecks have enough bravery and attitude to fill an ocean. Their press release mentions that the band “religiously preserved their DIY ethos”, they film their own videos, they support independent venues such as Molotow (including playing a special gig for the venue during lock down), they release on AWAL – a platform that functions as an alternative to traditional record labels.
Then there is the video to “Modern Girls” where the band put themselves in the shoes of every woman to protest double standards and hypocrisy. You can see The Kecks being violently forced into skimpy outfits, strong make up and then paraded out to be judged – only to find out they do not meet “the standards”. The video hits home and is a powerful reminder that unrealistic expectations destroy lives, and not only those of women. Think the whole culture of machismo, toxic masculinity with its narrow views on gender, sexuality and identity. Although musically situated far away from IDLES, The Kecks proudly place themselves on the same side of the barrier when it comes to fighting injustice and social stigmas. Like it or not – it is a political statement of sorts. And such statements takes guts in the era where alt -right runs amok and you are branded a “snowflake” for being kind and civil.
The Kecks (again)
In these trying times, it is the artist’s duty to speak up and take action. It’s a test and The Kecks have passed it with flying colours. They know their art and their songs well, as Bob Dylan once observed.
We listen to music for many reasons, but if you strip all the layers down to one thing, it will be to find others who are just like us. We follow artists and we hope that they will be our tribe, with similar outlook on life and values. Even reviews are done from that point of view. In our naivety, we entrust strangers with a part of ourselves. Maybe selfishly, we want them to be at our disposal so we can enjoy the music, the art and the illusion of not being alone.
I can only hope The Kecks will continue for many years to come.
We keep on saying that Manchester has one of the strongest music scenes in the UK and they continuously prove that they do. Every single time a new band appear on our radar, they usually come from Greater Manchester area or from Yorkshire. Somebody better check what’s in the water over there and get it bottled, so we can enjoy the same amount of talent in other parts of the country.
Jokes aside but Mancunians seem to be really good at promoting and encouraging young bands to take risks. And it really pays off – musicians are experimenting, looking for new sounds, creating things that stand out from the rest. Innovatory music is also presented in an innovatory way – singles and albums have unusual packaging, covers are often self made, CD’s are printed or painted by hand, sleeves are turned into mini zines. Collectors of independent releases cannot complain – maybe only when they run out of space on their shelves or funds to buy everything that appears on the market.
One of those unusual and experimental releases ended up in our mailbox a couple of days ago and made a very big impression. We mean they had as at “female led” and “shoegaze” but we never expected to hear something that would channel the brilliance of Wolf Alice, Alvvays and The Sundays. Ladies and gents – we give you crush!
crush picture by Joe Hudson
crush are Manchester based shoegaze/alternative pop four piece consisting of Amber (guitar and vocals), Arthur (lead guitar), Will (bass) and Fotis (drums). Taking inspiration from artists such as The Cure, Radiohead, Pink Floyd and Alvvays, controlled ambience is paired effortlessly with cascading noise and chaos. Wowing audiences at numerous shows across the North of England including Stay Fresh Fest and a triumphant headline at Yes Manchester, their live input has cemented them as ones to watch. Presented is an experience that immerses you into an equally intimate and cathartic psychedelic state. Their BBC Introducing and Amazing Radio backed releases have seen them go from strength to strength, and you can be assured the new year will see them put forth their most daring material yet.
crush (written in lower cases to distinguish themselves from the American band Crush) formed at the end of 2017 at the Manchester University and quickly gained a strong following. They released three singles (“How Come”, “Rinse” and “Glue“), toured extensively and supported Peaness, Far Caspian and Low Hummer. Now they return with a brand new track called “All My Plants Are Dead” and it is a bitter sweet serenade, full of perfect harmonies, echoes and ethereal guitars.
Picture by Joe Hudson
“The song focuses on the idea of the cold human race and an increasingly insular society” – writes the band in their PR release. “It’s about struggling to look after yourself as much as it is struggling to look after your houseplants. Really just a message of looking after and understanding each other a bit better, and a critique of how modern living at times can make this an unattractive and hard to achieve concept.”
The band is working on a video to the song and it will be released as soon as it is possible.
Don’t be cancelling 2020 yet. It may be a year of no festivals, virtual gigs and staying indoors but the art it produces is jaw dropping. Actually, it is a heavy weight year for creativity. Knock out after knock out from every corner – with no breather. Just look at March alone. Two weeks passed from the release of False Heads` album (record of the year most likely) and we have a new single from Saytr Play, 20 dates autumn tour from Hands Off Gretel and a much anticipated debut from The Red Stains on the cards.
If that wasn’t enough to make us at Vanadian Avenue sleep deprived – an unexpected EP from Manchester duo The Dirt appeared in our inbox this morning. And we just had to squeeze it into the schedule because otherwise it would be a serious breach of Directive #1
Sachiko Wakizaka and Jack Horner aka The Dirt
What`s Directive #1 you ask? In short terms – what Manchester does today, the rest of the country does tomorrow. And if you ignore it, then you prove yourself to be a pompous wannabe with no real knowledge of pop culture.
If you don’t know The Dirt, don’t worry. Until about 11 AM today we had no clue either. But once they appeared on our radar, we quickly did the catching up.
The band consist of Japanese guitarist (and multi instrumentalist) Sachiko Wakizaka and Mancunian poet Jack Horner (known under his moniker “Leon The Pig Farmer”). On March 19th the duo quietly dropped their first EP “No More Moves” on BandCamp – a seven track (22 minutes) full of psychedelic, experimental, shoe-gazing landscapes accompanied by dark, tense lyrical verses.
The band succeeded in creating a record that can stand next to releases of Mr Bungle or The Legendary Pink Dots without feeling ashamed. If you take each track separately, they almost feel like punk songs – all below three minutes. The longest – most angry track on the album – “Wiccan Transition” stands at 5 minutes and could easily find itself among Sonic Youth`s deep cuts.
You can take “No More Moves” as one long composition – a sonic meditation on human nature and its dark sides.
Everything on the EP is dirty, grungy and heavy. Even the logo – the band uses a kanji sign 泥 (pronounced “doro”) as its calling card. It roughly translates into “the dirt” but may mean “mud”, “mire” and “ooze” and we have to applaud them for putting a lot of thought into the vision and then trying to obscure it. You have to dig though the layers of sounds, language and symbols to truly appreciate the work Sachiko Wakizaka and Jack Horner did. You have to unearth it so to speak.
The Dirt created a very experimental, noise, avant-garde record that nobody saw coming. They appeared out of nowhere with artistic vision, DIY ethos, rebellious spirit to mix beat poetry with psychedelic sounds and reminded everyone that the underground scene in Manchester is healthy and potent.
It would be an excellent idea to incorporate them into future Louder Than Words festivals. This duo has a lot to offer to the public.
We have spoken briefly to Jack Horner about the EP to go along this review. This is what he had to say:
The Dirt looking out into the psychedelic future
How long did it take to record the EP and where did you do it?
Jack Horner: We did it over a few weeks, trying not to spend much time on each track. We wanted it raw and quick takes. We recorded at my house. Proper DIY feel. Did the guitars first, then laid my words on.
So it was just you and Sachiko Wakizaka working together?
Jack Horner: Yeah, Sachiko uses loop and effects pedals for the guitars.
So full musical partnership.
Jack Horner: Yes. Full on partnership. It works well. We seem to have a good collaboration and creative system. Probably we will go live in autumn. I’ll keep Leon ticking along too.
You wanted to explore something outside poetry?
Jack Horner: I used words and verses that don’t feel right on my solo spoken word set. They may be too heavy, too dark or just not suited. But I think the guitars work compliments them.
We really like Wiccan Transition. It`s the longest track on the EP. You could nearly call it a leading single.
Jack Horner: (laughs) Oh ta!
Any story behind that track?
Jack Horner: I went to see a spiritual healer. Crystal Therapy. I went into a crazy trance. It’s that and coming out the other side of depression!
I`m not sure which song to put out as a single if we do.
So really The Dirt is a project to help you deal with mental health as well as creative process.
Jack Horner: That’s how Leon The Pig Farmer started as well. Writing thoughts after a breakdown and stuff last year. Then taking words to the stage. This is an experiment to take it elsewhere…who knows where.
That’s the beauty of my life now. I don’t set goals, plans or directions to get anxious about. It seems to work!
You can follow Jack Horner/ The Dirt on the socials:
It will be a very interesting experience to see the duo live in concert and we are hoping that we will have a chance to do so. If we do, please expect a full set video and a ton of pictures. And a word of advice. Do not underestimate the underground. You have no idea what lurks in one of those narrow streets behind AATMA…
Just a small update to let everyone know that The Dirt published their third visual trailer announcing new material coming in the next months. It showcases the band`s interest in Manchester`s creative Northern Quarter and signals a more refined musical landscape – with the use of drum machines and beats. We knew The Dirt was unique project on Mancunian music scene but the rate it grows and changes is just stunning! Our hats are off to Sachiko Wakizaka and Jack Horner for being absolute proper legends.
We promised you a detailed review from the Q&A session with Joe Talbot and Alan McGee in Birmingham and we are keeping our word. Kevin Fitzgerald of Toura Toura and his team did the impossible and delivered one of the best events we attended in a very long time. It was intimate (despite being nearly sold out), full of hope, community spirit and unplanned confessions from Joe himself and the audience. At times it felt like a group therapy or a meeting of people hell bent on changing the world. AF Gang as a secret society for betterment of humankind? We will take it and sign ourselves right up.
Q+A in Birmingham poster
It was a beautiful evening at The Night Owl – one of our favourite venues in Digbeth (Birmingham`s answer to Manchester`s Northern Quarter). The amount of psychedelic shows we have seen at the Owl is a story for another blog! We arrived early to find best seats and to speak to people (big shout out to Rebecca and Arron a couple of awesome kids who travelled all the way from Stoke and had their return journey on a coach at 3 in the morning). We grabbed our drinks and strategically positioned ourselves next to a heater and were ready to be entertained.
Believe us, everyone was properly spoiled on the night. Before Alan and Joe took to the stage we had a chance to see two local bands play their sets (about 30 minutes each) and they were excellent picks. First came The Jack Fletcher Band – a four piece from Wolverhampton. We had a pleasure to interview them for Indieterria in 2018 and we knew what to expect from Jack and his men. The band went to play some of their biggest hits (“Young Man At Heart”, “Carousel”) and left audience speechless. It was so quiet during the set you could swear the Q&A was held in a cathedral instead of a music venue. The Jack Fletcher Band offer indie rock anthems that can only be described as real life stories. There is something in their music that has Paul Weller quality to it – the ability to tell stories of ordinary people with such grace and compassion. If you haven’t seen them live yet – do so as soon as possible.
After The Jack Fletcher Band came The Pagans S.O.H. We must have attended a dozen gigs of The Paganistas by now and its always a pleasure to see them doing their thing. They mix hip hop, rock, funk into a concoction that is truly unique on the circuit. Show us a band like Pagans and we will be buying you lunches at Digbeth Dining Club for a year. Every song played on stage was vibrating with positive energy that all hearts and phones in the room charged up immediately to 100%. And Pagans did not stop for a second – from “Banananah” to “Da Vinci” and “Come Down to Reality” – the band played flawlessly and enjoyed themselves as much as the audience.
Once the music stopped – chairs were brought on the stage, lights dimmed and Alan McGee and Joe Talbot entered the room.
Joe and Alan gave a fantastic talk with many tips for people struggling with mental health, addictions, bands trying to make it in the business. There was a lot of laughs – Joe is a really funny man with wicked sense of humour. And it’s true that he’s very honest and very open about everything. He joked that the crowd gathered to see him last night was the biggest that IDLES ever had in Birmingham! Alan guided the conversation for the first half, then the microphone has been passed to the audience. Fans themselves had some incredible and well prepared questions: what gig IDLES frontman thought was his favourite (you will guess it was Glasto), what he would like to be asked about (Joe got philosophical pondering about questions about questions) and his advice for starting artists (don’t look at others, do your thing, play the best gig even if you play to empty room, surround yourself with people who uplift you rather than mindlessly criticise you, value quality over quantity, try to spend less time online, create for yourself first – were some of the best ones).
The main consensus in the room was that IDLES and everyone else is part of something much bigger than ourselves and only combining forces could allow everyone to be better off. The Be Kind spirit was very much in the air and if there was one thing to take away from the meeting it was just that – be considerate, be optimistic, be kind to yourself and others and you will make a huge social and even political difference.
We gave Joe a small gift on behalf of all AF West Midlands fans who couldn’t make it to the show. He actually loved it and laughed hard when he saw the writing on the Thornton’s chocolate cup.
We have made just one video from the talk as we didn’t want to record the entire show. As Joe said it is important to participate instead being constantly on the phone trying to capture the gig.
Our night was further made when we had a chance to speak to Alan McGee and he told us we were great. Not like we are gonna brag about it now but it did put a big smile on our faces. We went home in an Uber, over tipped our driver, fed the livestock (aka the cats) and then slept until midday.
It was totally worth it. What a night!
Just a small update – we wanted to show you how the event looked from all sides so we edited some of our mobile pictures. The Night Owl is such an iconic venue and the Digbeth part of Birmingham has some of the city`s most vivid and extraordinary murals. So we captured that as well. We hope you will enjoy – especially Joe`s reaction to the lovely Thortons` Chocolate Cup with “Well Done” on it. We simply could not help ourselves.
Alan McGee and Joe Talbot during Q&A session at The Night Owl
The murals of Digbeth at the Lower Trinity Street
The murals of Digbeth at the Lower Trinity Street
The murals of Digbeth at the Lower Trinity Street
The murals of Digbeth at the Lower Trinity Street
The stage at The Night Owl
The Night Owl main room with stage and DJ decks
The stage at Night Owl
Impressive poster in the back garden at the Night Owl
The Night Owl logo
The poster outside Night Owl with Joe Talbot Q&A on the bill
The audience at The Night Owl – full house
The audience at The Night Owl – full house
The Jack Fletcher Band performing at The Night Owl
The Jack Fletcher Band performing at The Night Owl
The Jack Fletcher Band performing at The Night Owl
The Jack Fletcher Band performing at The Night Owl
The Jack Fletcher Band performing at The Night Owl
The Jack Fletcher Band performing at The Night Owl
The Jack Fletcher Band performing at The Night Owl
The Pagans S.O.H performing at The Night Owl
The Pagans S.O.H performing at The Night Owl
The Pagans S.O.H performing at The Night Owl
The Pagans S.O.H performing at The Night Owl
The Pagans S.O.H performing at The Night Owl
The Pagans S.O.H performing at The Night Owl
The Pagans S.O.H performing at The Night Owl
The Pagans S.O.H performing at The Night Owl
The Pagans S.O.H performing at The Night Owl
The Pagans S.O.H performing at The Night Owl
Alan McGee and Joe Talbot during Q&A session at The Night Owl
Alan McGee and Joe Talbot during Q&A session at The Night Owl
Alan McGee and Joe Talbot during Q&A session at The Night Owl
Alan McGee and Joe Talbot during Q&A session at The Night Owl
Alan McGee and Joe Talbot during Q&A session at The Night Owl
Alan McGee and Joe Talbot during Q&A session at The Night Owl
The (in)famous Thortons Choclate Cup.
The (in)famous Thortons Choclate Cup.
Why dont you have a chocolate cup…
Even Joe Talbot has a chocolate cup
If we find any more resources or materials that need to be added to this review – we will surely add them.
Neville Staple is an artist who does not need introduction – a legend, an original Rude Boy and a musician that soudtracked the last four decades for millions of people around the world. His work with The Specials, Fun Boy Three and Special Beat puts him on the front-lines of 2 tone ska movement. In short, ladies and gentlemen, rude boys and girls – we had a pleasure to speak to Mr Staple about his music, 40th anniversary of ska, charity work and his degree.
We would like to start this interview by congratulating you. On July 10th you were awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Arden University in recognition of your musical career and involvement in the community. Well done Doctor! How do you feel?
Neville Staple: Thank you so much. I feel great actually. I am a rude boy who came up from the street, who found opportunities and ran with them, who realised what talents I could bring to the table and brought them. Its all I had, so I used them. I have had over 40 amazing years in entertainment and music, so to be honoured by a very new and classy university like Arden, is brilliant. With all the awards I have gained over the years with albums, singles and other production work, this is extra special, because it is very personal to me and guys like me, don’t get such things easily, without really stepping up. Yeah, I am very proud.
It’s the 40th anniversary of The Specials this year. Did you ever imagine when you joined the band that four decades later you will be still making music and touring?
Neville Staple: Before the Specials I was an entertaining, I won dance competitions, performed with the Ray King Soul Band and toasted lyrics with Messenger and Jah Baddis Sound Systems, so I was always going to have a life in music, I reckon. But I probably wouldn’t have believed I’d still be making music, producing albums and soundtracks, or touring the world, all these years later. It’s great and keeps me young!
2Tone Ska movement are credited with defusing racial tensions in Thatcher- era Britain by mixing reggae and punk. Music journalists rightly point out that even the chequered patterns used by the movements (black and white squares) symbolized the unity felt by musicians at that time. It’s hard not to draw parallels between that period and “hostile environment” now. Do you think music can again heal the divided society in the times of Brexit?
Neville Staple: One of my recent songs, “Put Away Your Knives” has led to a lot of people coming forward and looking at more solutions to knife crime. People contact my wife Sugary and me about the issues they face, or the projects they want to set up and lots of other stuff. So, if that is the power of just one song, then yes, I do believe that we can always make a difference, through music. “Politician Man”, “The Border” and “Road Block” on recent albums, also caused a lot of dialogue with fans, who recognised issues from their own lives, or communities or from the news. Even “Way of Life” was written about our friends who sat in a bar, having a drink, when the Borough Market and London Bridge ‘terror attacks’ took place. That song is about their night of dread and the conversations that took place afterwards, among families and friends. I still prefer to address society through my music.
Your friends in The Specials took on the current politics and Windrush scandal in a song “Vote for me” with bitter words about tearing families apart. You also seem to tackle that issue. In a video to your single “Return of Judge Roughneck” you and the band are seen in the dock for “serious crimes”. You also re-recorded one of your old hits “Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum” and it sounds like it was written yesterday. Do you see yourself as a political commentator or rather as an artist holding the mirror to society?
Neville Staple: Mostly an artist holding a mirror to society, but perhaps a little bit of both. Judge Roughneck definitely knows a lot about what is wrong in society and especially about those who exploit or hurt others. So, he condemns them all (could be politicians, bankers or violent attackers), but because his hands are tied (or maybe he colludes), the guilty do not get properly punished, they get probation! So, they are still free to do what they do. That is definitely a mirror of the society that I see every day.
You work very closely with your wife and manager Christine Sugary Staple. She supports you on tour and you appeared with her on the “Rude Rebels” album. Many people would fear being business partners with their significant others. You seem to enjoy it. What’s your secret?
Neville Staple: Being soul mates is the secret. She is my right arm. She has been there through good and bad, happy and sad. She is the heart, strength and support to all what I do, and I try to be the same to her, and she manages the band and me. We worked on Rude Rebels together and she is so talented in the studio, that is easy to work with her, and she did a lot of work on my other recent albums and singles. We also have great fun on the road. She is an original rude girl so knows how to deal with an original rude boy (laughs) Perfect match!
All though your career, you had a chance to work and perform alongside the biggest names in the industry: The Clash, David Byrne, The Go-Gos and even Bananarama. If we can ask you to name an artist you never got a chance to meet or collaborate with. Who is “the one that got away”?
Neville Staple: Following Amy Winehouse’s appearance beside me on stage, which was brilliant, we then looked at plans to do some recordings. I was gutted that I never had the chance to do it. But out of today’s current artists, I still love to mix up different genres and the rough with the smooth, so I would like to meet and work with Bastille, to do a sweet and cool, driving track, with a rude spin; or definitely with Stormzy, to do something edgy and catchy, deep and inspiring. We could let people see that elders and young people can unite and create great things together. A show of unity and respect, with an important message. Yeah, good things!
After leaving The Specials, you reinvented yourself as a solo artist. Recently, you have been touring successfully with your own assemble, The Neville Staple Band. Can you please introduce your band members to us? Who’s joining you on stage?
Neville Staple: To be honest, I have never not had a solo career of some kind, in over 40 years. And the Neville Staple Band actually celebrates its 15-year anniversary this year. I put some of my own band tours on hold, when I did the most recent 2009–2012 reunion with the Specials (there have been at least 3 reunions with recorded albums and tours over the years), but I was still doing NSB shows in-between the Specials tours too. I have also always done DJ shows too, since my sounds system days. And before the Neville Staple Band 15 years ago, I had Neville Staple and The Hitmen, and Special Beat, Today’s Specials, plus the Legends of 2Tone Band, that I fronted and toured all over with. I have never not had a solo career or other collaborations going on.
My current band has Sugary up front with me on vocals, doing some lead and some backing; Joe Atkinson on both keys and piano, Sledge Armstrong on bass, Matty Band on drums, Billy Shinbone on guitar, Spencer Hague on trombone and Drew Stansall on Saxophone. These guys are the best. True and loyal friends too.
Your newest single “Put Away Your Knives” could easily be classified as a protest song about the epidemic of knife crimes sweeping through urban areas such as London, Birmingham or Sheffield. The song is dedicated to your grandson, Fidel Glasgow who tragically lost his life in 2018. The song will collect funding for Victim Support. Can you tell us more this track?
Neville Staple: It is a protest song. It is a song to say enough now. Enough! Someone has to say it like it is. Stop running around with knives, stop killing each other. Think of your future. One day you could become a dad yourself. Who the hell are your kids going to look up to? You there? You with the big knife hidden in your clothes? I don’t think so! Or you over there, yeah you – the guy who just shot a 17-year-old kid, because the kid upset the puppet master from your endz! It has gone too far! Everyone needs to step on it. My wife Sugary says, every parent, every school, every auntie, uncle, grandparent, politician, neighbour and local organisations, need to step up and get involved. If everyone took a stand and said ENOUGH NOW, ENOUGH, and did their bit to make a change, no matter how small, in their own community or family, we could win this. Don’t just wait for it to happen to you or near you. Stamp it out before it does. People are left devastated, with too many parents and grandparents are burying their young families. We have to make a stand now.
“Put Away Your Knives” and your other recent single “Working Hard Everyday” were mixed and engineered by Tom Lowry at Planet Studios in Coventry. Tom has worked with, from the legendary Kumar Sanu, to Spectrum and the Specials. How do you remember working with him? It must have felt like visiting an old friend.
Neville Staple: Tom and I have been great friends for so long. We worked together from when we first set up studio space. I had a record label of my own and I used to produce artists at Tom’s studio back in the late 80’s onwards. It was there that we produced Johnny Zee, Stereo Nation (aka Tarzam Singh) and Lieutenant Pidgeon. We have never stopped working together and being friends. I even flew Tom over to the States in the 1990’s, when I was over there recording and producing, to help me with some of my engineering and production work. Even now, with both Tom and Sugary in the studio with me, it`s like a night out with great friends, where you all support each other and just get on really well. He’s like family to me.
You are shortly due to hit the road that will take you all over the UK. What can we expect from your newest shows?
Neville Staple: I will be performing my hit songs with the Specials and classics from my career.
I always have a party with the fans. They love to sing along, jump, skank and stomp with us. No two shows are the same and they are not like being sat at home with an MP3 on. What’s the point of that? We prefer to make each show energetic and individual to match the audience on the night. We could be performing a show with thousands, or a smaller venue with hundreds, but will still give them the best night ever. Come and see!
The last questions at Indieterria are always a bit of fun. You are the original Rude Boy and we have to ask – if you could do one naughty thing and never get caught, what would it be?
Neville Staple: I would steal back all the rights to my own song writing that I unwittingly signed away to others many years ago, or I would hack the tax system and give every hard-working individual, a 10- year full tax rebate!! (laughs)
West Midlands scene, although sadly overlooked in the mainstream press, has a long and proud musical heritage. From Duran Duran and Black Sabbath to the ever popular grime scene, Birmingham and the neighbouring cities are producing high quality musical talents at an amazing speed. And slowly things are beginning to change. The new influx of bands such as The Cosmics,MeMe Detroit, Table Scraps, Cherry Pickles, The Novus,The Pagans S.O.H or The Clause are changing the popular perception that only London and Manchester are the music hot-spots to go to. The Second City’s DIY scene has never been stronger and it is ready to take on the world. Indieterria spoke to Sebastian Baldwin, the drummer of the newest star of the scene, the Ivory Wave, about Madlands, plans and an incoming tour.
George Johnson (vocals)
Luke Morris (bassist)
Connor McMinn (guitar, vocals)
Rob Clarke (keyboard, vocals)
Seb Baldwin (drums, vocals)
Official Bio: Birmingham band Ivory Wave have released their new single ‘Gold’. The band have landed support slots with DMA’S, The Twang and Superfood to name a few as well as playing festivals such as Isle of Wight, Truck and Shiiine On. Their growing army of fans are now packing out venues up and down the U.K. “Gold” is an infectious swagger drenched banger that relentlessly surges hyped up energetic tones into your ears. With a punchy bassline creating a funk flavoured strutting foundation, this track is fun vibrant and full of youthful adrenaline. Slick guitars glide and jingle between snappy drums, while flickering speckles of scintillation through swirling soundscapes. With attitude smothered vocals and pure unadulterated raw energy this swanky groove infested track is an instant shot of vitality and is sure to have you dancing and bopping carelessly.
About the track front-man George Johnson said: “Gold is about realizing your full potential, grabbing it with both hands and running with it.“
Ivory Wave is a very poetic name. The story goes it was used in a conversation you once overheard in a pub and thought it would make a great name for a band. Is this true?
Seb Baldwin: (laughing) That’s exactly the case! Our singer George and bassist Luke were sat in a pub discussing potential names and caught the name from a nearby conversation!
You are based in Birmingham and according to your bio, you formed at the beginning of 2016. Please introduce yourselves to the readers of Indieterria and tell us more about your beginnings. How did you meet?
Seb Baldwin: Ivory Wave is made up of singer George Johnson, bassist Luke Morris, guitarist Connor McMinn, Rob Clarke on keys and of course me. We’d all played in different bands before and ended up forming through mutual friends and connections. We wrote the first few songs and it all just clicked.
We listen to hundreds of bands per year but we can safely say that nobody plays like you do. You remind us of the golden days of The Hacienda, Mancunian rock mixed with rave beats, but with a contemporary twist. Ivory Wave is not just a nostalgia play, but something brand new. It is fresh and exciting. What do you think?
Seb Baldwin: It is the same with us! We all listen to such a wide and varied mixture of music and styles that it’s hard to pin point specific influences down. We’ve all listened to most of what came out of Manchester scene so there are undoubtedly nods to that sound. But we have never laboured to create something that replicates a specific sound but rather focused on writing something that feels real and genuine to us.
You have been compared (but of course!) to every Madchester legend there is, from 808 State, Stone Roses, The Charlatans, New Order and Inspiral Carpets to Happy Mondays and even The Beautiful South. But you come from Birmingham! How did that happen that a Brummie quintet started playing Manchester inspired music in the middle of West Midlands?
Seb Baldwin: I think it is because we listened to all those bands growing up and although we have never consciously tried to write anything that sounds like them, those sounds have crept into the music we produce.
BBC Introducing in West Midlands described Ivory Wave as a “perfect combination of rave, acid hip hop and classic rock a la Duran Duran”. This is the first description of that sort we ever heard! Who inspires you to write?
Seb Baldwin: We are inspired by such a wide range of different artists, it wouldn’t feel fair to name few individuals. The key to our sound has always been the range of different genres that our music tastes cover. From hip-hop to rock, from pop right across the spectrum to grime, we all indulge in a wide enough range that when it comes to writing our own music, we all bring different dynamics and angles to what we put out.
The band is known to keep to “no label, no management, no agent” rule. Although you are not the only ones in the business to do so (Jordan Allen, Strange Bones or The Clause also decided to follow that path) it means doing everything yourselves. Does day to day managing of the band affairs have an impact on the creative process?
Seb Baldwin: Most definitely. To take the time to manage the bands social media, book shows, engage and organise meetings with a people across a range of parts of the industry to name a few things, all while we are working full time obviously takes a decent wedge of time away from creating music and playing.
Ivory Wave supporting the excellent DMA’S at the sold out gig at O2 Academy in Birmingham. Picture by James Kay
You are credited with creating the “Madlands” musical movement. Who else, besides you is in the league and what bands should we all be looking out for?
Seb Baldwin: (laughing) This is a common misconception! Jacky-P, ex-BBC WM Introducing presenter and DJ for Scxrlxrd actually coined the term, although we are more than happy to champion it. And we have to name every band in the area who is pushing for the common goal of putting the Second City back on the map musically: The Clause, Riscas, The Novus, Violet and Sugerthief to name but a few as the list goes on and on and on.
Ivory Wave supported established acts as The Twang and DMA`s and appeared on festivals such a Truck, Shiiine On and Isle of Wight. This year, you are already booked for Live at Leeds and Lakefest among others. Are you eager to take your music to the next level?
Seb Baldwin: We are all grinding and pushing as hard as we are able. Getting to play bigger and better shows is already an amazing and humbling confirmation that our music is being well received and that we are establishing ourselves more and more as time goes on. Onwards and upwards.
April and May will see you hitting the road and going to Preston, Manchester, Nottingham and Leeds. Are you planning to add more dates? What about London or Glasgow? Any plans on playing there?
Seb Baldwin: We cannot say much yet, but we have a number of shows in the pipeline and will be announcing details of all of these soon!
Your current single “Gold” was released in January 2019 to a phenomenal response. It was a song of the week for BBC West Midlands and gave you several spins on BBC 6 Music by Steve Lamacq himself. The song also amassed over 18K streams on Spotify. We can easily say that this song is going through the roof. Did you expect such a positive response from public and music business alike?
Seb Baldwin: We had been playing “Gold” for well over a year in our live set, and although we all loved it as a track we hadn’t thought of it as a standalone single until the fans started to beg for its release. After an influx of tweets and messages asking us to release it next, we went back into the studio and the result it out for the world to hear.
They say “ride the wave until the grave” – so we want to know, where is Ivory Wave taking you next?
Seb Baldwin: We are in this for the long run, although we couldn’t call exactly where we will end up. We are all driving at the band building and growing as time goes on. Long live Ivory Wave.
Rock and roll has always been political. The biggest legends in music business such as Bob Dylan, Jim Morison, The Boss, Joni Mitchell, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and others are known for their commentary about social changes, human interactions and connections. They were harsh critics of wars or aggression, callers for peace and observers of the political currents for many decades. Without their strong condemnation, many of the atrocities committed all over the world, would never seen the light of the day. Songs such as “Bizzare Fruit” by Billie Holliday, Donovan’s “The War Drags On”, “We Didn’t Start The Fire” by Billy Joel, “Born in the USA” by Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band or Dylan’s famous “Times, They Are-a-Changing” became synonymous with the term “protest song” and touched on women’s suffrage, human rights, civil rights, anti-war movement, sexual revolution, gay rights, animal rights and environmentalism. We can easily say that each of these songs changed many minds and made the world a better place.
Punks for West Papua logo
Punk rock (especially the original movement born in 1970`s and 1980’s) has been particularly interested in politics. Sex Pistols, The Clash and Billy Bragg led a cultural revolution in the UK, attacking governmental war on trade unions, far right ideology and relentless commercialization and wasteful consumption. The German scene called for Berlin Wall to be demolished, demilitarization of divided capital and the end of Cold War. French groups called for unity on the international scene and American punks (with Black Flag, The Pixies, And The Ramones) led a successful crusade against Ronald Reagan, homelessness, corrupted police and austerity measures that affected poorest communities.
Our current punk scene is proudly carrying on the tradition of standing against injustice and on the 1st of December, members of The Membranes, The Blinders, Witch Fever and MFU (Modern Family Unit) will join activists from Manchester chapter of MCR Punks For West Papua to bring to your attention one of the worst genocides of our times, that of the ingenious population of West Papua.
The official press release for the event reads:
“Punks For West Papua Australia was first launched in 2016 as the brainchild of Jody Bartolo from the punk band Diggers With Attitude to shine a light on the threat of eco-cide from resource extraction, human rights abuses against the people at the hands of Indonesian security forces, and to inspire others to stand in solidarity for West Papuan independence.
“Indonesia is not going to continue getting away with the slaughter of the indigenous rightful owners of West Papuan land” says Ash Brennan co-founder of Punks For 4 West Papua, Australia. The Australian punk rock community created a no-holds barred Australian wide benefit, involving over 50 bands in 7 cities around the country, making Punks For West Papua the biggest, and no doubt, loudest punk rock showcase in the nation’s history. “Australian punk is loud, very loud. Pernicious resource extraction in West Papua has also been hazardous to the environment and is a major contributor of Climate Change. But the world is now watching” says Brennan.
According to Punks For West Papua Manchester co-founder Gary Hilton of Gas Music: “Little known Melanesian country West Papua has been subjected to a media black out for over 50 years. But with more than 500,000 indigenous people murdered to loot West Papua’s gold and other vast natural resources – time’s up.”
To send a thunderous message to the United Nations to intervene in West Papua, MCR Punks will challenge a world drumming record in the Summer of 2019. We invite drummers, musicians, activists, media and volunteers! If you can hit a drum you can help be part of the world record attempt to change the world for the better. To get involved in the world record drumming attempt please contact us at email@example.com.
The launch of MCR Punks for West Papua is scheduled for December 1st because it is a historic day in West Papua. It marks the 57th anniversary of the first raising of West Papua’s symbol of independence, the Morning Star Flag. It is illegal to raise the Morning Star in West Papua. Doing so can bring charges of treason and a 15 year jail sentence. On December 1st people in West Papua, and all over the globe, will be participating in a Global Flag Raising to show their solidarity.”
One of the organizers of the event, John Robb, editor of Louder Than War magazine and member of The Membranes says: “Punk rock was always more than three chords. It was a force of empowerment and an energy of hope. It always thought it could change the world. Maybe it’s now finally making that change.”
Young stars of Manchester scene are also vocal, giving their time and guitars to the noble cause. The Blinders and Witch Fever recorded short videos explaining why charity concert and fighting for justice is important in the modern world:
So the October/November, 22-date Columbia tour is now a history. Another page in the book is now turned and we are looking towards the future, remembering the amazing music, new friends we made and places we went to. It was a bit of a blur, we have to admit. First the preparations, album release, the visits to record stores, then the gigs and now we find ourselves back to square one!
The Blinders are watching you! Picture copyright by Modern Sky UK
What does that mean? First of all, the well deserved rest for the band, management and the technical crew who worked like house elves over the last few months. Then of course, it is the writing of the new material, recording session for the second album sometime next year and even more gigs! The Blinders’ booking team is working really hard to satisfy the demand to see them play live. The band already have multiple shows booked for December 2018 and the beginning of 2019. We will be putting them all here, in one separate blog as it is easier to keep an eye on everything that will be happening soon.
If you’d like to read some of the previous blogs about The Blinders, please use the links below.
Are you ready for the 2019? Picture copyright by Modern Sky UK
Alongside the newly added tour dates, this blog will include everything else that our other posts have taken into account: interview, articles, reviews, press mentions, newsletters, videos and pictures etc. We will try (again) to prepare some sort of an encyclopedia containing all data, sources and information that should give you a clear picture of what is happening on the road. This post will be growing as new dates are added, as new materials are found – if we miss something, please kindly point us in the right direction and we will add the missing links or pictures. If you’d like to contribute something – that’s even better! We always love hearing from other fans and since it is impossible for us to be at every gig, we welcome any help in documenting the Blinders’ journeys. Each section is clearly marked so please check them as the time goes by – you will find new information being added!
New Live Album: On 27th of July 2019, The Blinders announced that they will release a double live album recorded during their show at O2 Ritz in Manchester on 27th of April. The album will contain an entire content of “Columbia” and unreleased material.
The announcement read: “We are pleased to announce that to mark the year anniversary of the release of our debut album, we will be releasing a double live album featuring the full set from our sold out show at the O2 Ritz on the 27th April. Featuring Columbia in its entirety alongside new unreleased material plus more. Exclusively pressed on to 12” vinyl. Available to pre-order on Monday (29th of July) at 10am”.
New single: On March 23rd, The Blinders released a new single “Rat In a Cage”. This song has always been a fan-favourite, but the band had no plan to release it until their trip to SXSW. After performing the song on BBC6 Showcase at British Music Embassy for Steve Lamacq, the trio was bombarded with requests for an official release. The single will be the last one from their debut album “Columbia” and the fourth after “Gotta Get Through”, “L’Etat C’Est Moi” and “Brave New World”.
The song was also chosen as it offers a glimmer of hope even in the darkest of places and “in the most desperate of times”.
The song was released as a double side 7″ single in late April 2019 through Flying Vinyl. It had two tracks: “Rat In a Cage” (Side A) and “Nuclear Love” (Side B).
Rat In a Cage as a 7″ vinyl
The single came as a part of Flying Vinyl “The Revolution Will Not Be Digital” box through its Collectors Club feature. This box was the 50th in line and contained doubles from The Blinders, WhenYoung (“Never Let Go” and “Future”), Lazy Day (“Tell Me” and “Weird Cool”), Hotel Lux (“English Disease” and “Charades”) and Tusks (“Be Mine” and “Peachy Kin”). There was also a small booklet attached with information about the company and each band. The box has now sold out and is no longer available for purchase.
The Blinders mentioned inside the booklet
The cover of the booklet attached to the box
All singles inside and the main box cover
Side A of the vinyl single
Side B of the vinyl single
A limited print of additional 80 copies of the single has also been released on 31st of May 2019 through The Blinders’ official store. The single was exactly the same as the one one released through Flying Vinyl. It has sold out on the same day! Hold onto your copies kids, it is already a collectible item!
The single was available through The Blinders official store
So many rats and not enough cages…Reprint anybody?
The official release statement said: “‘Rat In a Cage’ is a song about hope & resistance. It is routed in the belief that collaboration and communication are fundamental to enacting change and pressing back against that which restricts our freedoms”.
Fun fact: The artwork used on the cover features a photograph taken by Rob Fay (Arathrael Photography), an award winning photojournalist whose pictures were printed all over the world and in almost every mainstream newspaper. He is represented by Getty Images. The rat you can see on the cover is named Percy. He was named after the character from Harry Potter and belongs to the photographer. He is white and brown and yawns in the picture 🙂
You can see him in person here: https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/photo/yawning-fancy-rat-royalty-free-image/132036136?adppopup=true
Mixology: Mixology is the newest idea from the band to promote the emerging artists on the UK scene. At the beginning of their career, The Blinders received huge amount of backing from local press, DJ’s and fellow musicians. Not everyone is that lucky and the trio wants to share some of their good fortunes. Mixology will help the band chose the tracks that have the best chances of pushing young bands’ careers forward. The Blinders will add the songs to their official Spotify playlist, where it will be available to all users. And if we take into account that they have more than 100.000 monthly listeners and are featured on prominent curated lists, that’s a lot of opportunities and streams for young artists!
Visualization videos: The Blinders are working closely with Sam Crowston and Nasty Men Creations to bring you the best visualizations for their tour. All videos will be added one under the other. We already have few available for your viewing pleasure!
Merch: The band has listened to their fans and a new merchandise selection has been added to their official store. Right now you can choose among seven different types of tees, bags, badges and many more items. The merch can be ordered through the band’s official website, but also will be available at the gigs. If you like anything, grab it!
There is also a brand new merch prepared for the Spring tour that will be exclusively available at the venues. You can see the band members and technical crew playing the fashionistas and having their haute couture portfolio pictures taken:
TOUR STARTS TOMORROW
we embark on our UK tour tomorrow, commencing in Birmingham, new merch available at all shows
Safe Gigs for Women:
If you have read our reviews from the Columbia tour in November/December, you probably noticed that several shows have been disrupted by rough concert attendees. Several teenage fans and female gig goers reported negative experience to the management and the band took it extremely serious. To prevent any accidents from happening again, The Blinders teamed with Safe Gigs for Women for their UK tour. The charity is renowned for its excellent gig safety policy and will advise all how to take care of each others.
Newsletter: The Blinders have a very active newsletter that is informing fans about everything that is happening in their camp. The newsletter comes out quite often (usually if there is something new worth reporting) and you can subscribe to it by clicking on the link below:
The Blinders received a huge mentioned in the biggest music business magazine, Music Week! This is a real bible for every industry person and very prestigious magazine. We couldn’t be happier! The article also shined a light on the band’s label, Modern Sky UK.
The Blinders were interviewed before going to SXSW in Austin Texas plus they performed two songs on the show: “Brave New World” and “ICB Blues”. The interview starts at 1:06:09 mark).
You can listen to it at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p071ttrx
Or you can listen to our clip below:
International Reviews: “The Manchester based trio, The Blinders play each of their songs as it was their last. The intensity of their performance is enormous but it works surprisingly well creating a psychedelic garage rock genre. Punkrock meets shoegaze guitars, droning bass beat and grinding drumming, leads to an unusual combination. Live shows are something everyone has to see – the band gives everything they have to the audience: warpaint, sweat and bloodied instruments. This is pure frenzied performance influenced by Iggy Pop, Nick Cave and The Fall. The BBC has had them on their radar for a couple of years now and called them a ‘Must-See band'” – WDR.DE after ESNS performance at Vera Club in Groningen (translation from German) https://www1.wdr.de/…/bands/ueber-the-blinders-100.html
“When a festival as big as ESNS takes place in one single city, you constantly rush from one concert hall to the other to be able to see all the interesting acts. In many cases, you have to queue and you miss half of the performance trying to either get into the venue or to leave it. Besides the acts that we managed to see without interruptions, we would like to name 5 bands whose fragmented performances were of pure class. They are: The Blinders, Drahla, Ocean Wisdom, FEET and Whispering Sons. Also, a special mention goes to The Slow Readers Club, a band sharing the same label with The Blinders. We have seen maybe 6 minutes of their show but the riff and the chorus to ‘You Opened Up My Heart’ was the highlight of Eurosonic for us” – Bart Somers for IndieStyle (translation from Belgian) https://www.indiestyle.be/live/vijf-hoogtepunten-van-esns-2019
“After the Shellac performance, The Smaller Gallery is filling up fast for the next act. The Blinders enter the stage accompanied by the soundtrack from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and a great dosage of smoke. Their set is composed of solid punk rock and indie music that is delivered with a lot of energy. As usual, the singer/guitarist Thomas, wears face paint that reminds us of black metal bands. Although we have seen The Blinders before (at ESNS), we truly enjoyed their gig.” – Frank De Jong & Marco Vlot at Grauzone Festival for 3VOOR12 (multimedia platform of the Netherlands Public Broadcasting VPRO for alternative and indie music) https://3voor12.vpro.nl/lokaal/den-haag/artikelen/overzicht/2019/februari/Grauzone-2019.html (translation from Dutch)
TOUR: Concerts, festival appearances and other gigs are slowly filling up the band’ schedule. 2019 seems like a very busy year as it will take them to mainland Europe and all over the UK again. To make it easy for you to keep an eye on all booked events, we decided to create a calendar! It is easy and very efficient. Of course, we will be updating the blog as the shows happen so each section you see below, will be extended. Each entry in the calendar contains full description for the event, address, links and other useful information. If the stage times or a place has not been fully confirmed yet, it is market as TBA (to be announced). The calendar will also be updated as more details are revealed.
Before the event, the band recorded a short video explaining why they support this noble cause:
Avalanche Xmas Party – now completed
Avalanche Xmas Party ft very special guests poster
Gig number 2 took place on 8th of December. For several reasons, it was one of the most unusual concerts that The Blinders played. First of all, it was organized by the headliner – The Avalanche Party and it was their personal, open to the public, Christmas Party. Secondly, the show was free entry, first come – first serve basis. Thirdly – it took place in the picturesque North Yorkshire sea village of Staithes that has a strong connection to the famous captain, James Cook. Avalanche Party and The Blinders were joined by Strange Bones and The Black Lagoons and the party started at 8:30 pm sharp. There were no reservations, tickets available only at the door and yet the place was packed tight. The venue, Captain Cook Inn, is very small and has about 80 people capacity and all of the tickets were sold out in just two days. What was happening you may ask? Well, according to reports, the show was absolutely stunning. The mosh pit was everywhere, shirts were removed quite early on and it was a blissfully sweaty affair, with singers being carried in the air by the crowd, gas masks were worn and the after party was a good old rock and roll history in the making. During the Blinder’s set, Johnny Dream took a day off and Thomas Haywood stepped in (the make up was gone!). The band performed their standards (“Brutus”, “Brave New World”, “Gotta Get Through” and “ICB Blues”) and two new ones “Lunatic with a gun” and ” Whiter”. Many fans are now calling for a full tour to be organized and we think this is a brilliant idea. Every venue would be sold out – this is not a marketing drill or “fake it till you make it” technique. This is a true fact. Each of those bands play a fantastic set, they also have their dedicated audiences, they play music that fits together and they never tourd the UK in this line up before. Since we posted information about this gig on our blog, at least 20 people contacted us asking if there will be future shows. Ladies and gents in the management for each of those killer acts – can we ask for at least several shows next year? Dear Santa, we have been very good this year!
The Blinders at Social in Doncaster – now completed
Number three show in the Blinders’ December calendar was their annual pilgrimage to their place of origin, aka Doncaster. The band played their beloved Social Club on 19th of December in their home town and Calva Louise acted as their support. Tickets were available only in person from the venue and as you may correctly guessed, it was another sold out show for the band. The doors opened at 7:30, by 8:00, Calva Louise were on stage and The Blinders rocked the crowd at 9:00. This was a very special show with massive mosh pit (loads of girls in the front we are happy to report!) and two new songs. The first one, performed as a second during their set, was actually a brand new version of a song written by Thomas Haywood about 3 years ago and was titled “Wither”. You can listen to its very, very early version on Thomas’ personal Soundcloud account: https://soundcloud.com/thomas-haywood-141688445/wither
The second new song “Lunatic With A Gun” was played as the 10th song in the set. It was premiered for the first time nearly a month earlier at the charity gig in Manchester and confused a lot of people when it suddenly stopped. This time, the public was prepared so the band didn’t have to explained it was the end of the track! The band’s set was also significantly longer than usual: it contained 14 songs and one encore “Swine”. The show lasted over an hour and 10 minutes and the order of the songs was completely new – the fans loved it. Oh, and the war paint was back so Johnny Dream survived Thekla and the Last Battle of Bristol.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/socialdoncaster/
Venue address: Lazarus Court Bradford Row, Bradford Row, Doncaster DN1 3NF, England
Opening hours: 7:30-11:00pm (gig), after party till 4:00am
Tickets: £8 Pictures:
IN THE FLESH! Glasgow at SWG3 Festival – now completed
Baby Strange presents In The Fresh – poster for Glasgow show
Poster number 2
Additional poster with time schedules
Fourth event booked for 22 of December was the IN THE FLESH! mini festival in Glasgow. It was a large show with two different venues inside the massive SWG3 Studios and Warehouse. The doors opened exactly at 3 pm and the first band to perform on Stage 1 was the The Vanities (they played between 4:00 and 4:30). They were followed by Walt Disco (5:00-5:30), then Rascalton (6:00-6:30) with Neon Waltz, headlining from 7:00 till 7:45. The Stage 2 was the main stage and their programme was longer and more varied. CRYSTAL started at 4:30 till 5:00 pm, followed by Voodoos, (5:30-6:00), LUCIA (6:30-7:00), then The Blinders took the stage for a full 45 minute set (8:00-8:45) and the evening was finished by an excellent performance from BABY STRANGE. Curfew for the show was 10:00 pm. Tickets were priced at £15 and you needed to be +14 to enter.
What can we say about the show? It was another Christmas party and it went very well. Less than 100 tickets remained at the doors and the venue was filled tightly. The band gave a full performance, the set list was almost identical to the one from Doncaster with the exception of “Wither” that was replaced by “Swine”. The Blinders had a fantastic time and so did the audience who praised the trio’s energetic performance and technical abilities.
Kendal Calling New Year’s Eve, Manchester – now completed If you didn’t know where to go to celebrate the NYE, but you wanted to see the band, you had the chance to catch them twice in one night in their (adopted) hometown of Manchester. And it was not just any other regular night – it was the New Years’s Eve! The first opportunity to see The Blinders on stage was at Kendal Calling New Year’s Party. Andy Smith and his team organized a special show to celebrate not only the beginning of 2019, but also to thank all those who attended the festival in the summer.
Kendall Calling New Years’ Eve Extravaganza!
Victoria Warehouse is a large venue and several hundred people partied hard to the music of Everything Everything, Tom Greenan, Felix Hagan and The Family, and two large DJ sets from The Hacienda legend Dave Haslam and Howling Rhythm. Doors were opened at 6:30 pm, the show started exactly at 7 pm and finished around 2 am. This was one of the rare occasions to see Dave Haslam returning to the DJ booth and re-creating a true Hacienda Rave party. As you can imagine, this line up managed to attract quite a crowd. The Blinders played as a second act of the evening, right after the truly enjoyable set by Felix Hagan and The Family. Their set was 30 minute long between 20:00 and 20:30 pm. As usual, they started off with “Gotta Get Through” that merged into “Brace New World”. A strong and aggressive beginning allowed the public to jump and dance and it was good to see the Blinders on a full scale, stadium-like stage. “Where no man comes” and “ICT Blues” followed and the set was closed with “Brutus”.
Night People New Year’s Party, Manchester – now completed After finishing their duties at Kendal Calling, The Blinders made their way to Night People to play a second show of the evening. They have been the mysterious headliner advertised on the posters, probably the worst kept secret in the entire Kingdom of Mancunia as everyone knew who that headliner was. Just look at the posters below (by the way, the event has amassed 4 different promotional graphics, which is quite something) and count the question marks. Very clever, isn’t it? The New Year’s Party at Night People was in fact a small festival. 8 bands were booked to play, but sadly at the last minute, Naked Six had to cancel due to illness. The doors were opened at 7:30 and the first band to play was The Big Peach (20:45-21:15). The quintet describes themselves as “5 rock n roll outlaws making Manchester their own 1960’s wild west frontier – they sound quite interesting so please give them a spin. Carnival Club were next with their slot lasting 30 minutes (21:30-22:00). Nicknamed as “Patron Saints of Rock and Roll”, the quartet has made quite an impressions on the locals and will play a large tour in 2019. Things started getting really interesting when the third band appeared on stage. SECS were advertised as Manchester’s first super group and all we knew before the show was, it was formed by members of The Blinders, Calva Louise and Strange Bones. Once SECS started playing exactly at 22:20 (a bit fashionably late), the mystery of who exactly was in the band was revealed. Jess Eastwood of Calva Louise took the role of main vocalist and guitarist, \ of Strange Bones sang backing vocals and played lead guitar and Matty Neale of The Blinders filled his usual post as a drummer. A real surprise was to see The Blinders’ frontman, Thomas Haywood joining them on stage as a…bassist! SECS set was brilliant (but of course), energetic and the group had so much fun playing together. They played several songs including “Easy”, “I Know” and “Hang on”. We hope that they will be playing more often but this seems rather unlikely as this year will be very busy for their main bands. At 23:00 pm, The Blinders took to the stage. While playing with SECS, Thomas wore a white shirt, he was all smiles and seems relaxed. When he returned to the stage as Johnny Dream, his face was very focused, the warpaint back on. Yet during the gig, and when the sweat started washing the make up away, his smile returned, he greeted and saluted the crowd and exchanged short laughs with Charlie and Matty. It was good to see them enjoying playing for their friends and families – a much different call than when they are on tour in unfamiliar places. They played “Gotta Get Through”, “L’Etat C’est Moi”, “Hate Song”, “ICB Blues”, “Et Tu/BerlinWall/Brutus”, “Brave New World”, “Rat in a Cage”, “Ramona Flowers”, “Wither” and “Swine”, although not in that particular order 🙂 The set finished several minutes before midnight and it was the time for John Hall to do the honours and count down to announce the new year. Saytr Play, one of our discoveries in 2018, played next, the first band to rock 2019. They started with “Don’t Go East”, with “VCR”, “To Be The One”, “L.I.F.E.”, “Mother’s Love”, “Fragile”, “Band Average” and “Everyday Since” forming the rest of their set. After 1:00 am, alternative duo (and first cousins) Sly Antics appeared to entertain the public with quite an impressive concert consisting of “Motion”, “Bin Juice”, “B-Side”, “Roads”, “Choose Your Words”, “Fresh Bites”, “Reality”, “Lights Go Down” and “Sunday Fear”. Please take a closer look at them if you have a chance, those guys are really something else! Replacing Naked Six, Octoptus finished the live music for the evening with their set nearly at 02:45am. The party went on til 6 am with several DJ sets, but that’s a different story!
First TV performance and interview at Soccer AM (Sky1), London – now complete The new year started like a Hitchcock’s thriller – first the earthquake and then the tension slowly started rising up. On January 2nd, The Blinders announced that they would appear on national television for the first time in their career! They have been invited for an interview and performance to the popular Saturday morning program, Soccer AM on 5th of January! Just moments after the news appeared on the official social media channels, the Columbia I-net went into some soft of an overdrive. Fans bombarded the band with questions, exclamation marks and congratulations.
this Saturday we go live on @SoccerAM for the first time ever on the small screen, what a delight.
Just look at the comments posted online – the Blinders have the most loyal fans
The Blinders spent entire day on Friday recording the program alongside Liam Ridgewell (defender and the captain of Major League Soccer club Portland Timbers) and Ceallach Spellman (actor and TV presenter). They performed “Brave New World” live in the studio, answered a lot of questions (favourite football teams, how it felt to play two gigs on New Years Eve, what is Columbia and who is Johnny Dream) and even had a chance to shoot penalties. Thomas and Charlie sadly missed, but Matty showed the world that he is not only a skilled drummer, but can kick the ball like a pro. He also sent kisses left and right after scoring a goal. The show was broadcast on Sky1 on Saturday exactly at 10:00 am and finished at 11:30.
The performance can be seen on Soccer AM Facebook page:
After the videos and performances were uploaded online, the band basically went viral. The video to Brave New World has been viewed nearly 30.000 times in less than 12 hours. We have been monitoring the rising statistics for the entire day and Malicia did a nice post to sum it all up. But of course the numbers keep on growing and will continue to grow so please hang tight, it is going to be a nice ride! So far we managed to count: 30.000 views for their performance on Facebook, 23.000 on Twitter, Matty’s goal scored nearly 30.000 views as well. Nearly 1000 likes, over 700 comments across the band’s social channels…Amazing!
ESNS Eurosonic Noorderslag, The Netherlands – now complete Eurosonic Noorderslag (abbreviated ESNS) is one of the biggest music conference in Europe. It is an equivalent of South by South West and each year thousands of people travel to the city of Groningen to participate. There are hundreds of concerts in 47 different venues, meetings, talks and panels regarding every part of the music industry – from mech and touring to PR, legal advice and international recording deals. Every genre (from metal to folk music) was represented and everybody could find something that would make them tap their feet or dance. ESNS 2019 took place on 16th-19th January and it was The Blinders’ first international festival! More than 300 acts were confirmed, from every European county. The Blinders joined Boy Azooga, Fontaines D.C., Bülow, Pip Blom and many other established acts. Plus, the festival added them to their official Spotify list! You could say that the first trip to mainland Europe was a success even before the band landed in the Netherlands!
When The Blinders were booked to play at ESNS in the summer last year, the news of their appearance at the festival caused a huge anticipation among media and gig goers. The demand to see them live grew even further after the word of their sold out Columbia tour traveled abroad. The concert at VERA Club (one of the biggest venues in Groningen) took place on Thursday 17th of January between 23:45 and 00:30 CET. The band performed alongside Any Other (Italy), Fontaines D.C. (Ireland) and Scúru Fitchádu (Portugal) to fully packed venue. Tickets to the show were sold out weeks in advance and at least 100 people were left standing outside the club and sadly could not get in! We were lucky that riots have not started in the streets! The trio played their entire 50 minute set that English fans already know from their autumn tour, but the European fans were mesmerized! They started with “Gotta Get Through”, followed with “Brave New World”, “Free the Slaves”, “ICB Blues”, “Where No Man Comes” and of course they closed their set with the murderous marathon of “Brutus”, “Et Tu” and “Berlin Wall”. The audience gave them a long ovation after they left the stage. It will be a night the band and the public will never forget! We have to mention one thing – for the first time we had a chance to see the entire band playing in the matching clothing. Thomas Haywood took on his usual persona of Johnny Dream (black trousers and black bohemian loose shirt plus warpaint), but Charlie and Matty also wore only black. Charlie is usually dressed in dark suit with white shirt underneath (resembling Nick Cave) but this time wore only black silky shirt and dark trousers. Matty wore a dark short sleeve shirt and elegant dark trousers as well, instead of his preferred attire composed of a grey tee and a pair of jeans. One journalist jokingly described them as Men in Black!
At ESNS, The Blinders were recorded by several radio stations. The first one to broadcast their song from the conference was BBC Radio 1 with Huw Stephens. On 20th of January 2018 in his show, he played “Brave New World” giving the band a splendid review. You may notice that the song was performed in a new style! Thomas perfected his singing technique and his voice sounds much stronger and more mature.
The Blinders were mentioned on popular ESNS podcast called SHARQ TALK! The presenters talked about not hearing about The Blinders before their show at Vera. However, they rated their performance as a good, very energetic show. They were not really convinced by the warpaint and thought the bassist (Charlie) looked a bit lost in thoughts, but paid many complements to their technical skills and abilities to make cool music. They also rated The Blinders as ready for the big European festivals such as Lowlands and Pinkpop. Again, massive interest of press and media was observed with presenters saying that more than 1200 people showed up to see the gig: inside the club (capacity 450) and outside! There were also 8 photographers and a cameraman. Thank you to Joep Coolen and Anke van der Voorn for their help with translation. The Blinders are mentioned exactly at 35:40 minute mark.
Independent Venue Week – Trades Club, Hebden Bridge – now complete Trades Club in Hebden Bridge is one of the most popular venues in Yorkshire that hosted many international and national superstars. The Blinders have played there before and each time, their gigs were sold out. On 31st of January, the band (along with their support act, The C33’s) arrived to The Trades Club to play for the Independent Venue Week, a week long celebration of music in support of those who run the grass root venues in the UK. As usual, the tickets to the gig were gone long time in advance (sometime at the beginning of December!) and many people frantically looked for any spares online. Those who purchased their passes earlier, gained entry to the venue at 4 pm. This allowed them to see a very interesting photo exhibition entitled “Cold War Steve” before anybody else. The rest of gig goers had to wait until 8 pm when the downstairs bar and a concert hall were finally made available to the public. By 8:30 pm, the place was tightly packed and the C’33’s entered the stage to showcase their talents. We have to say that the young band did fantastically well. Their 45 minute set was very pleasant to our ears, the songs were catchy (and some of them super radio-friendly!), they also had a great deal of energy and nice stage presence. We are giving them a year or two and the indie scene will have another very strong rock group! When it comes to the headliner, we think that The Blinders are incapable of playing a bad gig, as again, they were perfect! Matty and Charlie showed their incredible technical skills, Thomas sang like his life depended on it (and at one point ended singing surrounded by crowd), and the mosh pit was crazy! The concert was dedicated to the memory of Zoran, a close friend of the group who passed away just few weeks before the show at the age of 50. One of the speakers was decorated with Slovenian flag with words “Zoran, Keep The Faith” as a tribute to him. The band also prepared a special poster that was sold at the merch stand and all money collected were later given to Zoran’s family. The show started off with “Gotta Get Through” and then came the first surprise of the evening, a brand new version of “Wither” which may be the new fan-favourite song. So far “Wither” was only available in an acoustic version on Thomas Haywood’s personal Soundcloud account, but it sounds so much better with bass, an electric guitar and a powerful drum solos. “L’Etat C’est Moi” and “Brave New World” followed with “Hate Song”, “Ballad of Winston Smith” and “ICB Blues” filling the middle part of the gig. “Where No Man Comes” opened the second part and there was another surprise awaiting! Instead of the expected “Free The Slaves”, The Blinders pulled a blinder and played a brand new song, never heard before entitled “Fantasies”. Along with recently debuted “Lunatic With a Gun”, “Fantasies” are two brand new compositions that probably could end up on The Blinders’ second album which the group is very eager to record. The ending of the gig was very emotional and powerful with “Ramona Flowers”, “Rat In a Cage” and “Et Tu”, “Brutus” and “Berlin Wall” being played. The performance ended just before 11:00 pm. A small meeting with fans was also organized before the club was closed for the night.
Independent Venue Week – Trade Club poster
Independent Venue Week 2019 at the Trades Club
Power and Control – special poster prepared for the show
Grauzone Festival, The Hague, the Netherlands – now complete February took the Blinders over to the mainland Europe again as they performed on a popular festival in the Netherlands. GRAUZONE took place on 9th of February in The Hague and the line up included Blixa Bargeld of Einstürzende Neubauten, Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo, Pink Turns Blue, The Messthetics (Fugazi members), The Cosmic Dead, Nik Void, Sink Ya Teeth and an exclusive exhibition featuring the works of Genesis BREYER P-ORRIDGE. Grauzone is one of the oldest and most prestigious festivals of music and counter culture in The Netherlands.
Translation: “English band, The Blinders, hailed by their domestic press and the BBC as ‘savers of the rock ‘n roll’ (together with Idles and Shame) comes exclusively to The Hague with their frenzied, obsessive live show, a madness-bordering experience that you must see. The band already plays in England to sold-out halls and big festivals and their debut album Columbia has been called ‘album of the year’ by many”. Now this is what we call a love letter to the band!
The Blinders played Kleine Zaal (The Smaller Gallery) at the Paard, some 300 meters from BillyTown (exhibition space). Their concert was set for 23:20 – 00:20 CET, between German punk rock legends, Pinks Turns Blue and The Cosmic Dead. It has been described as one of the best shows of Grauzone Festival. The Blinders played to a full, packed room despite being an unknown band in the Netherlands. Their show at ESNS received such positive reviews that the Grauzone festival organizers knew there would be a huge interest in the band. They were forced to put an official warning on their programme to let the public know to come to the venue earlier to secure a place! Fantastic achievement for a second show abroad (and their first ever in The Hague). There are no doubts – the band is on their way to establish themselves as a major player on the international rock scene! The Blinders started off with full Columbia introduction that British fans heard before each show on their Autumn tour. Dystopian propaganda talk by Patrick T. Davies mixed with “Power of Imagination” from “Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory” was greeted by cheers from the audience. When the intro was done, “Gotta Get Through” sent the Dutch public jumping and head banging. Despite the set list being neatly displayed on the walls and the stage floor, the band didn’t pay any attention to it. “Wither” came second (with changed lines and shortened second chorus) and then “L’Etat C’est Moi”, “Brave New World” and “Hate Song”. It was only then that Thomas greeted the crowd with words “Good evening! We are the Blinders from…United Kingdom!” which brought a sew short laughs (probably from UK fans who recognized that he nearly said “from Doncaster”) and massive approval from the local gig goers. “Where no man comes” followed by “Free The Slave” and both sounded a bit different again. Thomas sang in a new, more toned down way where his voice was more natural and deep. “Free the Slaves” was also cut short a bit and “ICB Blues” had a longer intro allowing Matty and Charlie to jam on stage! “Swine” with its rhythmic chorus (there is no hope…) had the audience singing along and Thomas balancing on the edge of stage, almost like he thought of jumping into the crowd before he changed his mind. “Ramona Flowers” and “Rat In a Cage” had extended parts with Matty and Charlie again going into some sort of improvised loops and Thomas half whispering-half howling into the microphone. The ending was a surprise to long standing fans as a brand new intro have been introduced before “Et Tu”. It was long, almost over a minute and sounded a bit like some sort of alarm going off. It’s quite tricky to describe but we hope fans will be able to hear in on tour in April – it was a very interesting experiment! Another new element was a part of a poem or a lyrics just before “Martyrs enters the area” part. Thomas recited “Oh are we such fools to pretend that we do not fear the end” before returning to a well known routine. The monologue between “Brutus” and “Berlin Wall” (“the shadows filling Big Brother’s hall”) gave the technical crew a migraine headache when Haywood finally decided to leave the stage and mingle with the public. The guitar cable proved to be too short for a longer walk and the technicians threw themselves to the rescue before the loudspeakers stockpiled on top of each other were thrown onto the ground! Thomas finished the set among the crowd and Matty was forced to sing all by himself. As the band disappeared into the darkness, they were seen off by applause and long cheers.
After the show, fans were thrilled and vowed to see The Blinders again. Paard Club spoke to several of them and here is an example of an enthusiastic review:
“Gig goer, Maria Kleopatra said: ‘The Blinders were the coolest band I have seen today. Great music and a very enjoyable show. This is a music scene that really appeals to my taste. I feel at home here. It is dark and dark is fun!'”
Pictures: Grauzone Festival was super kind to The Blinders. They have been photographed by fans and professionals and we even there is even a real polaroid picture taken by the wonderful Pim Schrier! You can follow him at: https://www.instagram.com/pimschrier/
Thomas Haywood solo performance (acoustic show) – now complete The Blinders are preparing to hit the US in less than a month, but that doesn’t mean they have stopped spoiling their beloved fans. Thomas Haywood, the lead singer of the band, gave a very special acoustic performance on Sunday, 24th of February at The Burton Arms in Manchester. The recently renovated pub is located right next to the Band on The Wall in the Northern Quarter part of Manchester. It was closed down for many years until the owners of The Night People have taken it under their wings with intention of turning the derelict building into a cozy bar and a small hotel. It seems to be working very well as the place has already earned good reputation among the pub goers. Thomas Haywood’s acoustic performance was the first concert in a series of intimate shows that are going to showcase the best musicians from Mancunian scene. The gig was kept a secret until the last moment – it was only announced 2 days before the show, yet on Sunday evening, the entire place was packed and many visitors sadly had to listen to the performance standing outside. Thomas started his set with one of his favourite songs – Bob Dylan’s “Ballad of a Thin Man”. The Blinders’ followers can sometimes hear him play it as a warm up before shows or during the social gatherings, and we have to agree, it was the perfect opener. The set was divined into two parts: the first contained a mixture of The Blinders’ songs very well known from their debut album “Columbia” and the other was filled by covers and original material. We had a pleasure of hearing “Brave New World”, “Rat in a Cage”, “ICB Blues”, “Ballad of Winston Smith” and “Ramona Flowers” in their stripped, bare versions. Without the electric bas and drums, the songs sounded completely different but you could still appreciate the excellent song writing and their complexity. The covers included Townes Van Zandt “Waiting Around to Die” and The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s “(David Bowie I Love You) Since I was Six” that was skilfully merged with an original song entitled “Visions of Anais (Across the Lake)”. Thomas’ original compositions drew the most attention and for a very good reason – they were bloody brilliant. He sang “Grave of the King” that was written during his stay in Paris in May 2018 after visiting the tomb of Jim Morrison and “Gift of Gold” that can be found on Haywood’s personal Soundcloud page. The Blinders’ fans were also incredibly happy to finally hear “Acid Bath”, the first ever song written for the band circa 2015, way before their first EP “Hidden Horror Dance” that was released in 2016. We now know that the full title of the song is “Acid Bath (Princess of the Dark)” and we absolutely love it. The show ended with Thomas being all smiles and giggles, waving to friends and fans, before disappearing in the Beer garden for a well deserved drink.
South By South West (SXSW) – now complete South By South West is the biggest music event in the world. It brings over 100.000 visitors to Austin in Texas and being invited is considered the biggest honour. The Blinders were chosen to participate and it only shows how good the band truly is. The band played four shows over a week they spent in America and we can honestly tell you that they made a big, big impression on the Land of the free.
The news that The Blinders will play in Austin traveled faster than the speed of light. Within couple of days, several local BBC chapters informed their listeners about the happy news . You can listen to some of them below, they are very enthusiastic!
BBC Manchester (Natalie-Eve Williams & Michelle L Hussey on 16.02.2019 and 09.02.2019)
BBC Sheffield (Christian Carlisle on 16.02.2019)
A few great mentions for the band appeared on the radio during their stay at SXSW as well:
BBC Manchester (Natalie-Eve Williams & Michelle L Hussey on 16.03.2019)
BBC Sheffield (Christian Carlisle on 16.03.2019)
BBC Introducing Radio 1 (Huw Stephens on 17.03.2019)
SXSW Showcase number 1: Champions Restaurant & Sports Bar
The Blinders made their SXSW debut at a small showcase at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel. This 5 star hotel is located in Downtown Austin, in prestigious location, just across the street from Austin Convention Center, and a short distance from 6th Street, University of Texas and the State Capitol! Their showcase took place on 12th of March at 7pm local time at Champions Restaurant & Sports Bar. It was 12:00 am on 13th of March GMT in London. The show was finished by 11:30 pm. It has to be said: this place is truly impressive with 23 large screens showing the best sporting events from all over the world. A huge stage is perfect for performances and the venue can accommodate up to 200 visitors. They are known for putting up acoustic nights that are very popular with tourists and local patrons.
As for the bands’ first American concert ever, it was a very good show. The bar was not fully packed but the crowd was very decent and what’s more important, everybody enjoyed it! Thomas wore a black coat and a pair of sunglasses and looked really cool! The show was also stripped back, Matty had no drum set, but those who have seen him previously know that if you give this man a tambourine, you will have a fully working rhythm section! Charlie played an electric bass, but it seemed to be a bit silent than usual. It wasn’t their usual in-your-face, full make-up, noisy affair, but rather a toned down, half electric, half acoustic performance. It reminded us of in-store visits The Blinders did last year before their Columbia tour. The band played for 40 minutes and they performed nearly an entire album. The visitors described it as “magical” and it truly was a spectacular set.
The second show the Blinders played at the conference was for the mighty BBC 6 Music and Steve Lamacq officially introduced the band to an American audience. The band had to wake up very early to do an interview with Steve before their evening gig and they recorded several acoustic tracks for him as well including “Brave New World”, “Rat In a Cage” and “Hate Song”.
You can listen to the interview (shared with Alex Edwards, the manager of Pip Blom plus the evening performance of “Rat In a Cage” at 1:16:52 mark. It was broadcast in the UK on 15th of March 2019: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m00036vv
We all know that Steve Lamacq is a big, big fan of the Blinders and it wasn’t a surprise that he asked them to headline his show at Latitude 30, a very well known bar located in downtown Austin. The entire showcase was held under the banner of “British Music Embassy” for BBC6 Music in association with AIM. The performance started at 8:00 pm on 14th of March and ended at 2:00 am on 15th of March CST (Austin, Travis County, TX is located in Central Time Zone). It was between 12:00 am and 7 am on 15th of March GMT time (London).
The Blinders’ gig took place from 06:00 am till 07:00 am UK time.
The Blinders entered the stage as the last band of the evening, after the Mercury prize nominated artist, Novelist. It was a huge accomplishments and the public was ecstatic to see the Doncaster trio. Their show lasted full 50 minutes and we could hear “Wither”, “Free The Slaves”, “Brave New World”, “L’Etat C’est Moi”, “Gotta Get Through” and of course the in(famous) “Brutus/Et Tu/Berlin Wall” at the end. The band was described as “ferocious” and “in top form” by audience members. Steve was so pleased with them that he put them on the commercial advertising his entire stay at SXSW! It has been played every day on British radio multiple times. Do you know what he said about the performance? “A sound you can truly believe in.” Well said, Steve, well said!
SXSW Showcase number 3: End of Trail at Valhalla Tavern
The Blinders didn’t have much time to rest at all. Their third show was at Valhalla Tavern on 15th of March 2018 (capacity of 400), a popular bar and live music venue located in Austin’s famed Red River District. The bar is pretty famous for its collection of vintage gaming devices such as pinballs, pool, shuffleboard, skeeball, foosball and air hockey. The stage wascurated by Kelly Munro and his wonderful team from End of Trail Creative record label.
The show started at 7:00 pm on 15th of March and ended at 2:00 am on 16th of March CST.
In the UK, it started at 01:00 am on 16th of March and finished around 8 am GMT time (London).
The Blinders’ performance took place from 05:00 am till 06:00 am UK time.
SXSW profile for The Blinders listing all booked events
Joined on the bill with their best friends, Avalanche Party and Rascalton, the Blinders played one of their best shows at SXSW despite numerous technical issues. It was again described as wild, captivating and unreal. Their set, again was clocked at 50 minutes and contained “Gotta Get Through”, “L’Etat C’Est Moi”, “Brave New World”, “Wither”, “Free the Slaves”, “I Can’t Breathe Blues”, “Swine”, “Hate Song”, “Rat In A Cage” and “Brutus/Et Tu/Berlin Wall”.
We have teamed up with our special correspondent Lori Starke (chief photographer and reviewer at Pictures in a Row) who came up with this brilliant, world exclusive review!
“‘What REALLY knocked your socks off this week?’ was the question posed by my friend who sat next to me between sets at what was to be my last venue of SXSW 2019. ‘The Blinders! They were mad! The bass player threw his bass out into the crowd at the end!’ He said:’Do you want to see them again? They are playing a few doors down’. So I abandoned the nights’ plan and we ran down the road to the other venue! Before going to SXSW this year, I had a vague plan to see the Blinders. They were recommended to me by a friend in London, and I had checked them out on YouTube. I thought they looked interesting. I wasn’t sure if the makeup thing was a shtick, a gimmick, or what! For me, a bands’ live show makes or breaks them. I saw them for the first time at Valhalla on Friday, 15 March. I came out of that show exclaiming ‘Holy Hounds of Hell! What did I just witness?!!’ The moshpit was mad, but not the kind that are just a bunch of assholes getting their aggression out. These people were loving the band. Avalanche Party had played immediately prior at Valhalla, and they hung around to lend support, technically and morally, to the Blinders during the gig. Jordan was handing guitars and helping troubleshoot technical problems. Thomas, the singer, was focused and theatrical, without seeming fake or phony. He looks dramatic, with black smears around his eyes and down both sides of his face. He delivers his songs with intensity. He draws us in, almost Doorsian, shaman-like. The music to me also evokes a Doorsian, dystopian vibe. Charlie on bass has read the script and holds his bass up like he is pointing a machine gun at times. It doesn’t sound as dramatic as it looks when he does it, and he also delivers a focused performance. Matty, on drums, is a beast. He pounds the drums with all he is worth, and does not quit, whether being yelled out, or if the lights go out. The Friday venue was left in shambles. During the final song, “Brutus,” Thomas climbed on a speaker stack and his mic and all of the lights went off. It took some time to get a workaround, but we remained invested as an audience while we awaited the rest of the song. My theory about the mishap is that he pulled a plug out while climbing. They finished the song, the crowd pushed forward, thrashed around, went mad, and the aforementioned bass throwing happened. We wandered out onto the streets of Austin, stunned”.
Thank you so much Lori! What a description, we cannot add anything more to it.
SXSW Showcase number 4: Modern Sky gig at Beerland
The fourth and the last confirmed event for the Blinders at the SXSW took place at a popular rock place called Beerland on 16th of March. It was again located in the Red River neighbourhood, very close to super popular nightclub named Elysium. The pub opened in 2011 and hosted rock showcases for SXSW since 2015. Not a big place (capacity of 200) but it has great reviews and is considered one of the “coolest” venues to visit at the conference. There is a pool table, a life size bust of Elvis and a large patio. The Blinders performed there alongside Japanese rock group DYGL, their label-mates SPINN, The Mystery Lights (all the way from NYC) and an electro pop duo from Australia, GreenWave Beth among others. The entry to the club was strictly +21. It was the last showcase for The Blinders’ record label, Modern Sky UK at the conference.
Modern Sky showcase poster
The show started at 7:00 pm on 16th of March and ended at 2:00 am on 17th of March CST.
In the UK, it started at 12:00 am on 17th of March and finished at around 7 am GMT time (London).
The Blinders’ performance took place from 05:00 am till 06:00 am UK time.
Again we spoke to Lori, who came to witness another performance by The Blinders. Lori said that the band played exactly the same set as the night before. They started with “Gotta Get Through”, “L’Etat C’Est Moi”, “Brave New World”, “Wither”, “Free the Slaves”, “I Can’t Breathe Blues”, “Swine”, “Hate Song”, “Rat In A Cage” and finished with “Brutus”. She added: “The Blinders’ last show at Beerland was much more controlled. One of their songs, ‘Brave New World’ was dedicated to Avalanche Party, who were there giving guitar tech and moral support again. I was ready at the end of the show to video the bass throwing. But there was no bass throwing this time. Still a great and engaging show, but more controlled, not as mad. The crowd was invested, but not mental like the previous night. There were no major mishaps. to report”.
Luckily there was no technical problems this time and the band finished their first American visit on a high note. Then they had a few days of rest, had some fun and off they went back to our time zones again!
The Blinders at La Belle Angele, Edinburgh – now complete After two years of not visiting Edinburgh, The Blinders finally returned to the capitol of Scotland on 20th of March to play at beautiful venue called La Belle Angele. The show (announced just a week and a half before it actually happened!) was a sold out even in association with Sailor Jerry (Scottish producer of the finest spiced rum there is, in case you didn’t know). Local fans haven’t disappointed and the venue was full to the last space. The show started at 8:00 pm with a short set from the support act, Fabric Bear. The Blinders were on stage by 9:30 pm and their set was very similar to those played at SXSW. But nobody was complaining! They started with the Columbia into, and “Gotta Get Through”. We heard “L’Etat C’Est Moi”, “Free The Slaves”, “ICB Blues”, “Hate Song”, “Rat in a Cage”, “Brave New World” and “Where No Man Comes”. “Ramona Flowers” and “Swine” made the well received come back to the set list instead of “Whither” and the new song that appeared on several occasions – “Lunatic With a Gun” was also dropped. The show went as smoothly as possible with people having the best of times. The band promised to return again to play Glasgow on 28th of April and their statement was greeted with huge cheers from the crowd.
ORBIT – The Blinders DJ set – now complete Three days after invading Scotland, The Blinders returned to their adopted home of Manchester to try something that they have never done before – a club night!
They did DJ sets before (Ruby Lounge in Manchester in September 2018), but this was a whole new affair. Not only the band played a specifically prepared set list (chosen by them from propositions send in by bands and fans) but they also hosted two concerts: the Scuttlers and Document. It is worth mentioning that Document debuted as a band that night and one of their member is The Blinders’ guitar technician and roadie, Max Grindle. Max is an excellent guitar and bass player and we can expect great things from them!
Orbit poster by Sam Crowston
So how did the club night go? It went swimmingly well. Again it was a sold out evening. Night People is the band’s venue of choice (they played there many a time) and they couldn’t chosen a better place. The doors opened at 11:00 pm. Document were the first on stage, followed by The Scuttlers and then The Blinders overtook the dance floor. We had a chance to hear some of the best new bands (Avalanche Party, Strange Bones, Afghan Sand Gang, The Pagans SOH among others) and some of the classics (Bob Dylan, Brian Johnston Massacre, The Doors). The party lasted until the sunlight and we still haven’t had enough. There are rumors that the club night may become a permanent event so keep your eyes open!
Thomas Haywood solo show for The Wild Launch Party at 33 Oldham Street The Wild is a new start-up fashion brand from Manchester started by Harley Luv Boon, the daughter of Mancunian music scene legend, Clint Boon. The Wild offers clothing that is 100% plastic free, inspired by rock and roll, the western style of living and 60’s and 70’s pop culture. With garments named after the iconic musicians such as Jimmy Hendrix, Stevie Nicks and David Bowie, The Wild can dress you up for any occasion: from your local indie summer festival to the Albert Halls of London.
The Wild Launch Party poster
The official launch party took place at the popular 33 Oldham Street restaurant/music club in Northern Quarter in Manchester on 11th of April 2019. There was a a fashion show (collection presentation) and live music from Mt. Fuji Band, Thomas Haywood and Saytr Play. The DJ set were provided by the emerging quartet Sauce, and Joshua Elliott.
Thomas played a short acoustic set that offered a mixture of The Blinders songs (“Ramona Flowers”, “Rat In a Cage”) and his personal favourites from Bob Dylan to his original compositions. Saytr Play, being headliners, played a full set with “VCR”, “Something In The Distance”, “Everyday Since”, “Thought of Missing Out” and “Bang Average”. This was a very intimate event and not many photographs or videos are available online, but if we come across any, we will definitely share them with you.
April and May are simply massive for the Blinders! This is when their proper tour starts and they will be travelling to Germany to play in Hamburg, Cologne and Berlin! They also have a handful of domestic gigs announced as well.
April/May UK and European tour
The Ninth Wave are supporting The Blinders on tour!
On 13th of February, it was announced that Scottish trio, The Ninth Wave will be supporting the Blinders on their tour. The band consists of Haydn Park-Patterson, Millie Kidd and Lewis Tollan. They were formed in 2016 in Glasgow and so far released several singles (“Reformation”, “Human Touch/Nothing Certain”) and “Never Crave Attention” EP on Distiller Records. 2019 is a breakthrough year for them – so far, Ninth Wave played SXSW with The Blinders and had several concerts in NYC along with The Avalanche Party.
The tickets are selling very well, so please grab one before they are sold out. All venues are running low on passes including the German ones!
See Tickets Newsletter
The dates are so far:
01. Birmingham – 26th of April
02. Manchester – 27th of April
03. Glasgow – 28th of April
04. London – 30th of April
05. Cologne – 7th of May
06. Hamburg – 8th of May
07. Berlin – 9th of May
Posters: The band prepared something special for their fans. Each show has its own special poster that has been printed in limited amount (50 copies). You will be able to purchase them at merch stand at each venue at first come, first served basis. Catch them all, buy them all and you know, get some nice looking frames at Ikea 🙂 We are not sure what size they will come in, last time the band went a bit overboard and had the posters printed in A1 size! They were larger than life!
01. Birmingham – 26th of April – happening today! The band will start their tour in Birmingham. The doors are opening at 7:00 pm so come one, come all and you shall skip the queue. The Institute is a lovely large venue and the gig should be great fun. Local heroes, The Clause are opening and half of the Birmingham music scene will be there. Please join us for a lovely evening of mosh pit, sweat, blood and tears (of joy). You are cordially invited.
After the show, the band will make their way to their favourite club in Manchester, Night People to play a DJ set. This will be the official after party to thank their family members, friends and fans for their support. The Band will be DJ’ing from 11:00pm and the celebration will lasts till 4am on Sunday. Tickets are £2 if you have the pass to Manchester show at the Ritz, and £5 if you are only coming to the club. The tickets can be purchased only at the door so try to be the first in line. Just a good, friendly piece of advice.
Good news Glasgow! The Blinders will entertain you at the official after party! There will be a DJ set, starting an hour after the gig and tickets are only £3! Firewater is one of the most popular new clubs in Glasgow and they are known for their parties! If you want to dance to some ABBA tunes, this is a good idea to come along. The celebration will last until the dawn.
Between the UK tour and German dates, the Blinders managed to squeeze their first summer festival of the season. On May 5th in Newcastle, The Blinders will attend the Hit the North Festival. 120 bands will play on 12 stages across the town and more than 40.000 people are expected to attend. The Doncaster trio will be joining Jake Bugg, Tom Grennan and the “Wonder” and “Psycho” songstress, Lauren Aquilina on stage to rock you and me (and even the Salmons of Alaska).
After touring Germany, the band will come back to the British soil to entertain their fans in Leeds. Gold Sounds is a festival dedicated to shoegaze, punk, psychedelia, noise and grunge. It will be held at Brudenell Social Club over two days in May. The show will start on 11th of May at 2 pmand will close at 2 am on the 12th. Previous guests include Yuck, Cabbage, Cloud Nothings, The Wytches, Homeshake, Turnover, The Big Moon, Merchandise & Cheatahs. Appearing at Gold Sounds 2019, besides The Blinders, are Fat White Family, Her’s, Pip Blom, The Beths, Viagra Boys, The Nude Party, Hand Habits, Just Mustard, Weakened Friends, Working Men’s Club, TRIXIE WHITLEY, Vulgarians, bdrmm, FEHM, LUMER and LYLO. Tickets cost only £35 for a weekend pass – it is a bargain for 25 bands and two stages! It has been announced that The Blinders will headline Saturday 11th of May but extended scheduling times are not yet available. We will be notifying you as soon as we know!
Saturday, 25th of May, will see The Blinders performing in Warrington at the Neighbourhood Festival! The band will be joining George Ezra, Primal Scream (headliners), You Me at Six, Nothing But Thieves, Tom Grennan, The Hunnas, Embrace, Pale Waves and Gaz Coombes (of Supergrass) among others.
Day later, on Sunday the 26th of May, the Blinders will also participate in Bearded Theory’s Spring Gathering Festival in Catton Hall in Derbyshire. The line up this year looks amazing. Suede are the headliners, Reef, Justin Sullivan of New Model Army and The Wildhearts are all making glorious come backs. The trio will be in great company so again, grab tickets while they are still here – the festival is rather small and it sold out last year. We are sure the history will repeat itself in 2019.
The Blinders will have a very busy summer festival season and they had to prepare a small poster with all their performances to keep track! Please use this poster not to miss their summer apperances!
Festival Season – the blinding schedule
First of June, will take The Blinders to London to play at the famous Camden Rocks Festival! This is a last moment appointment as The Blinders kindly decided to step in after Pretty Vicious had to pulled out due to serious circumstances. This is how to support your colleagues, festival organizers and fans! Squeezing another appearance into their stretched schedule is a herculean task, but the boys are always up to help others. They actually practice this “come together, we need each other” thing! If you are not aware, Camden rocks is an independent urban festival showcasing 400 of the best new and established bands in the UK’s beating heart of music and revelry, Camden Town, on 1st & 2nd June 2019. This year’s edition features: Frank Turner and alt-rock quartet Deaf Havana as headliners, Ash, The Wonder Stuff, The Pigeon Detectives, Rat Boy, New Model Army, Wheatus, Carl Barat, A, Skinny Lister, Ginger Wildheart, Ruts DC, The Professionals, Angelic Upstarts, The Glen Matlock Band featuring Early Slick, Milk Teeth, Raging Speedhorn, Sean McGowan, Random Hand, Glamour Of The Kill, Discharge, Eliza and The Bear, The Virginmarys, Buster Shuffle, Area 11, Sonic Boom Six, The Last Internationale, Our Hollow Our Home, [SPUNGE} and many, many more. Expect the finest acts in live music plus a showcasing of some of the brightest and freshest talent around, across indie, rock, punk and metal. Anything goes in Camden and on the weekend of Camden Rocks, this is amplified to ten.
Camden Rocks Festival poster
The Blinders will play the beautiful Dingwalls from 7:30 till 8:30.pm. Tickets are still available!
Another show announced was the mini festival with the Blossoms, The Coral, Cabbage and the Fuzzy Sun. Bad news, it is sold out again, this time in a record time of 30 minutes. Those lucky ones who were able to buy the tickets, will enjoy the great show at Stockport County FC stadium in Edgeley Park on Saturday 22nd of June 2019. You can see more info on Blossoms page: https://www.facebook.com/blossomsband/
Stockport County Football Club grounds poster
Fuzzy Sun – 5.10pm to 5.45pm
The Blinders – 6.10pm to 6.40pm
CABBAGE – 7.05pm to 7.35pm
The Coral – 8pm to 8.40pm
Blossoms – 9.10pm to 10.30pm
The After Party poster
After the show, The Blinders will play a DJ set in Manchester at their favourite venue, The Night People. The after party will start at 11:00 pm and will finish late (aka with the morning light probably!) Entry is free so it will be again, first come, first serve basis. The venue has 420 people capacity and we expect it to be very busy that night. Please bring some identifications with you as this is 18+ event and the security will be checking! They always do! PS. Expect some special guests! (nudge nudge, wink wink).
Two days later, on 24th of June, 3 bands (CABBAGE, The Blinders and Afghan Sand Gang) will reunite at Night & Day Cafe to play a fundraiser for their friend, Liam Smith, who sadly lost his lafe recently. The fundraiser supports Liam’s family and will cover the costs of funeral and medical expenses. The Blinders will play an acoustic set. The donations will be accepted throughout June and July or until the required amount is collected. Thank you for your support and please let’s take care of one another!
It has been kept as the biggest of secrets but the band is finally able to reveal that The Blinders will be playing the biggest festival in the world – Glastonbury! Replacing Sam Fender, who due to illness is no longer able to meet his obligation on Saturday, The Blinders were kind to agree to move their slot from different stage to LeftField to take his slot. They will be performing between 19:30 and 20:30 on 29th of June as the main support for KT Tunstall. Leftfield stage is known as the political and philosophical hub at Glasto, so it will be the perfect spot for them. Please expect a lot of energy, activism and war paint!
The Blinders are playing Glasto!
The festival prepared a special announcing for the change. Also the poster has been updated to include the Doncaster trio.
On 30th of June, the band will travel to Exeter to visit the beautiful Powderham Castle to participate in Sunday Sessions Exeter. The Blinders will join a fantastic line up including Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, The Charlatans, Reverend And The Makers and The Loft Club among many other acts. Stage times are not available yet, but we will update this entry as they are announced.
On 4th of July 2019,The Blinders will join Miles Kane for one special gig at Concorde 2 in Brighton. Miles has been a big fan of the Doncaster trio for a very long time but the conflicting schedules didn’t allow them to play together until now. The show will start at 19:30 pm and is 14+ (although you’ll need to be accompanied by a responsible adult if you are under 16). As you can imagine, the tickets are gone and the show is sold out with long list of people on the reserve list. Fingers crossed, maybe it will convince Miles’s booking agent to cook up some additional dates! Fingers crossed!
July and they are off to Europe again! This summer, The Blinders will get a lot of stamps in their passports. Between 11th-14th of July, the band will travel to Eastern Europe, to Lithuania to play Devilstone Festival in Anykščiai. Devilstone is a standout open-air festival in the Baltics, Lithuania, remarkable for its broad and colourful presentation of rock, metal and alternative styles. At Devilstone, quality up-to-the-minute rock meets select extreme metal and unique electronica. Positively provocative, Devilstone is the space for musical and artistic discovery.
Since 2009, Devilstone has been taking place in midsummer, and has been growing ever since. In addition to its primary location at the Dainuva valley riverbank, the festival has taken steps into the town of Anykščiai. Devilstone concept is constantly evolving as new ideas come to life. Creativity is our driving force, resulting in unexpected solutions and ample spaces for self-expression. The Blinders will play along fellow Brits, TurboWolf, ShortParis (from Russia), SODOM (Germany), black metal heads WATAIN from Sweden, WolfHeart (Finland), King Buffallo (USA) and KO KO MO from France among others. Their show will take place on East Stage but the times have not yet been released.
The Blinders profile on the official website for the festival
Right after DevilStone, The Blinders are booked to play KLIKO Festival in The Netherlands! What do we need to know? Patronaat is one of the largest and most prestigious independent venues in the Netherlands. It is located in Zijlsingel part of Haarlem, near the city centre. The venue has been operating since 1984 and hosted international and national stars of the highest calibre. Once a year, in July, Patronaat is also the home of KLIKO Festival dedicated to grunge, psychedelic and garage rock. This year, the indoor festival will take place on 13th of July and at least 25 bands will play at three different stages from 19:00 pm till 06:00 am CET! It will be the loudest all nighter in the city and you don’t want to miss it. If you want some statistics (and we all love stats!!), the Main Hall is for 1000 visitors, second stage (called the Second Hall) is able to accommodate 350 guests and the smallest rock bar (named of course, The Third Hall) will be perfect for smaller gigs up to 120 people. Annually over 500 events are organized at Patronaat (at least 3 events per week) and 140.000 people are visiting its premises.
KLIKO Fest gave the Blinders this beautiful recommendation on their official website:
“The Blinders are the band that is on everyone’s lips these days thanks to their spectacular indie rock shows. The power trio from Manchester released their long-awaited debut album ‘Columbia’ last September and it brings together the best of 60’s garage rock, Beat poetry and Orwell’s dystopia. After their steamy show at ESNS 2019, they are ready to leave a lasting impression on Kliko”. Book your tickets now!
A very nice review for the band! Thank you KLIKO!
On Sunday, 14th of July, The Blinders will also play at the independent Valkhof Music Festival. The festival takes place in Valkhof Park in the city of Nijmegen (Gelderland province, close to the German boarder). Nijmegen is a very beautiful market town that hosts a number of popular musical events and conferences throughout summer. Valkhof Festival is quite famous in Europe and brings thousands of fans of electronic, industrial, goth and indie music to town. It has 4 stages situated all over the park (one is in the ruins of medieval castle!) and 120 bands from all over the world are usually playing. Except for The Blinders, the festival’s line up includes Sudan Archives, Fontaines D.C., BO NINGEN, black midi, Jonathan Bree and Whispering Sons among others. Detailed time schedule is not available yet but the entry to the festival is free.
Valkhof Festival Logo
The Festival posted a very nice description for the band that reads: “The distance between Nijmegen and Manchester is about 760 km by car. It is far, but we are confident that The Blinders will give a splendid performance at the festival! These “Mancunians” as they are known, have the music in their DNA and their debut album ‘Columbia’ is a perfect example. The album is as raw as Sex Pistols, stubborn as The Fall and melodic as The Verve. Don’t forget the melodrama taken straight out of the records made by The Smiths! Their lyrics show inspiration drew from various sources – from Leonard Cohen, George Orwell to the mismanagement caused by Theresa May & Co. The band is just brilliant, aren’t they?”
Upon returning home, The Blinders have been invited to play a gig at Albert Square during the Manchester International Festival on July 16th 2019. The show, organized by Manchester legend and Hacienda DJ Dave Haslam, will take place in a massive marque at the Albert Square. They will be joined by fellow Mancunians, WITCH FEVER and Birmingham sensation, The Pagans SOH. The entry to the concert is free of charge (there are no tickets) and the venue has about 500 people capacity. First come, first serve basis so come early to claim your spot.
Albert Square schedule
The show is 14+ and will start at 8:00 pm and finish at 10:00.
After 10:00 pm, XS Manchester Radio DJ, Shell Zenner will spin some records and The Blinders guys are said to help make the selection! The DJ set will finish at midnight.
The Blinders are poster boys for Manchester International Festival
Ola, ola! The Blinders will play Spain for the first time in their career! Now, that’s what we call a summer festival. Good bye mud and good bye rain, hello free margaritas! Benicassim Festival is taking place in the province of Castelló, on the Costa del Azahar, in a (hang on tight) beach resort! If that doesn’t make you green with envy, then you are a saint! Anyway, it has been going on since 1995 and is considered to be one of the most popular and largest festivals on the Iberian Peninsula. 2019 edition will take place between 19th and 22nd of July. The Line up include Jesse Glynne, Lana Del Ray, The 1979, George Ezra, The Big Moon, Kings of Leon and Fat Boy Slim among others. The time schedules will be available at a later date and of course, we will share them as soon as we lay our hands on them!
Benicassim Festival 2019 poster
The Blinders profile
Benicassim is a beach resort on the Spanish coast between Valencia and Barcelona, 12 km from Castellón.
The Festival site is situated on the N-340 road , KM 986.300.Exit 12km north of Castellón.
From Barcelona: AP-7 motorway , exit 45
From Valencia: AP-7 motorway, exit 46
Coordinates: 40.048068N, 0.047872E.
It’s a bit of a shame that the boys will not be able to enjoy the Spanish weather and the beach, as they will have to leave the festival site on the next day (20th of July) to travel to Portugal to attend Super Bok Super Rock Festival. Super Bok Super Rock takes place in Meco Beach in Sesimbra, just south of Lisbon. The festival started in 1994 and this year’s edition will see Lana Del Rey, The 1975, Jungle, Cat Power, METRONOMY, Branko, Dino D’ Santiago, Glockenwise and ROOSEVELT performing alongside the trio.
SBSR general poster
EDP stage poster
The Festival gave The Blinders a beautiful review with this statement:
“Anyone who believes that punk is dead should go and listen to The Blinders as quickly as possible. The best word to describe this Doncaster band is “urgency”. The Blinders play with all the urgency of punk, without holding themselves back. They are not beating about the bush, instead they are going straight to the core of things with maximum energy. Guitarist and vocalist Thomas Haywood, bassist Charlie McGough and drummer Matthew Neale, formed the band in 2014, while studying at the university in Manchester. The following year was spent writing, composing, rehearsing and playing live whenever an opportunity arose. Their fame grew quickly, thanks to the band’s contagious energy, political undertones and punk spirit. Those ingredients, mixed in perfect proportions, made their debut EP “Hidden Horror Dance” released in 2016, an instant success. Inspired by Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, Bob Dylan, The Fall and John Cooper Clarke, The Blinders managed to create their own musical language. Their full fledged debut album “Columbia” saw the light of the day in September 2018 and it was produced by Gavin Monaghan. The British trio will bring their political music to the EDP stage for your listening pleasure”.
The official Super Rock band portrait
The Blinders are mentioned on the website for Super Bok Super Rock!
And they were also highlighted on the festival’s official Instagram account where they got nearly 72.000 views for the short video. Not too shabby, isnt it?
Right after returning from the Spain and Portugal trip, Thomas will be performing again at the Rose and Monkey Hotel in Manchester where he holds semi residency for his acoustic shows. The shows are free to attend and are open to anybody who would like to see addityional side of Mr Haywood, outyside of politically charged The Blinders. The show will start at 8:00 pm on Tuesday, 23rd of July. Thomas will be performing at 9:00 pm with other local singers and songwriters of Mancunia.
The Blinders are in such a high demand that the trio has no time to rest. On 26th of June, they will be performing as a special guest at Y NOT Festival! Their appearance has been revealed in the last moment and was greeted with an a collective euphoria from fans disappointed that several acts had to withdrawal from the festival that included FontainesD.C.
Y NOT schedule with the Blinders slot as a secret performer!
The Blinders will play from 6:30 till 7 pm at The Giant Squid Stage.
Humber Street Sesh is a two day festival taking place in Kingston Upon Hull. After successful, sold out edition in 2018, the festival will return to the city centre on 2nd and 3rd of August 2019. More than 200 bands will play and the headliners include The Blinders (but of course), the Hunna, Yonaka, King No-One, Life and Rosemary’s Baby, a very good, alternative rock and horror inspired outfit. There are 15 stages, massive market area, chill out zone, silent disco and everything else you can imagine. The main stage is located at the at the Hull Marina. the music starts at 12:00 pm each day and will last til 11:00 pm giving you the glorious 11 hours of good noise. Bring ID’s as the venues have different policies. Some are 14+ and some are strictly 21+.
Humber Street Sesh poster
The Blinders will be playing on Friday, August 2nd at the Marina, but stage times are not yet available.
Jimmy’s in Manchester is one of the most popular Northern Quarter venues. The club became so popular that it was just a matter of time that another place under the same name will be opened. And when a good opening in Liverpool became available, the Jimmy’s team didn’t think twice and voila! Jimmy’s Liverpool is opening on 3rd of August with a gig that will go down in history! The Blinders are headlining but they are joined by Saytr Play, Deja Vega, Dantevilles, Ryan Jarvis, Scuttlers, Ambiere and Bones Shakes!
Jimmy’s Liverpool Grand Opening!
The Blinders events on Jimmy’s website
Address: 130 Bold Street, Liverpool Location: Situated at the top of Bold Street opposite the Bombed Out Church, Jimmy’s will be a 3 floor venue, housing a 250 capacity live room, ground floor bar and stunning first floor restaurant. Tickets: on general sale from 29th of June at: https://jimmys.live/event/the-blinders/
If you’d like to catch the Blinders in a really intimate venue, then come to Blackburn on 8th of August! They will be performing their first, full acoustic show for just 120 people for the popular Night at The Museum gig series. This will be the 10th Museum Night and it will take place…you know at the Blackburn Museum! The band will be joined by two female artists: Julia Bardo (guitarist of a popular band, Working Men’s Club) and a newcomer, Millie McLeod. The show starts exactly at 7:30 pm and will finish about 11:00. Tickets are very limited and cost £15.
The band has a lot of surprises hidden up their sleeves and some of them can really blind even the most faithful of fans. Nobody has expected that after meeting Gerry Cinnamon on FIB, they will play with him on one bill! We are pleased to say that the band will and this is going to be their official debut in Ireland! The show will take place on 11th of August at Custom House Square in Belfast and it is already sold out. Doors are opening at 18:00, the band will be on 19:30 and Gerry will entertain the crowds from 9:00 pm onwards. If you have got a ticket, you are in for a real treat.
Gerry Cinnamon poster
On 18th of August, The Blinders will be performing at The Beautiful Days festival in Devon. It is considered one of the best independent festivals in the UK. It is the Levellers’ independent family music festival organised by DMF Music which takes place at Escot Park in Devon and has been running for 16 years. The festival has several stages, amazing site art, a huge children’s area, comedy, theatre, family camping, real ale bars from Otter Brewery & a great choice of food and craft stalls. Beautiful Days has no sponsorship, branding and does not advertise. The festival won the Grass Roots Festival Award at the 2015 UK Festival Awards and Best Medium Festival in the FestivalKidz.com 2015 Awards. They were shortlisted for Best Medium Sized Festival at the 2016 UK Festival Awards. The festival also made it through to the final shortlists in the 2017 UK Festival Awards for 3 awards and won Best Medium Festival at the 2017 Festival Kidz Awards. The Blinders will join Skunk Anansie, Ziggy Marley, The Levellers, The Stranglers (Official), Sleaford Mods, Songhoy Blues, Peter Hook & The Light, The Black Seeds, Kate Rusby and at least 100 more acts that will be announced soon. The stage times are not available at the moment but we will be updating the diary!
Outside of touring with The Blinders, Thomas Haywood is performing solo as well. His acoustic gigs around Manchester are selling like hot cakes and the demand is huge. On 21st of August, Tom will perform at a charity concert collecting money for Musicians Against Homelessness. The concert will take place at The Night People in Manchester and Maddy Storm, Karl Hildebrandt, Afghan Sand Gang, Scuttlers and Elysse Mason will join him on stage. the show starts at 7:00 pm and will end just before midnight.
Billed as the last festival of the summer (not really accurate, but a good marketing try!), The Bingley Weekender will take place between 30th of August and 1st of September. The line up for the festival is huge with Doves, James, Ocean Colour Scene, Billy Bragg playing alongside young acts. The Blinders will play on Saturday, 31st of August with Tom Grennan, Circa Waves, Zuzu and Only The Poets. The stage times will be revealed latter in the summer!
September will see the band travelling all over Europe again, we guess the saying “No Rest for The Wicked” is actually true. On Friday, 6th of September, the boys will play at Confessional Festival at Holy Trinity Church, Mount Pleasant in Blackburn. This new alternative festival will bring together a fantastic line up of International Teachers of Pop, Red Rum Club, White Room and Working Men’s Club among many other acts. The Blinders are co-headlining and the festival will take place in an actual church! Come all ye faithful for a service with a full sonic blessing!
On 7th of September, the legendary group, The Specials will perform at Gunnersbury Park in London. They will be joined their long time friends, Ocean Colour Scene, General Roots and The Blinders! This event will be a small festival as the doors are opening at 12:00 pm and the music will be playing until 11:00 pm. Tickets are flying out so please buy them as quickly as possible. They are only £56 per one. The Specials tour is already largely sold out – if you are planning to attend London show you will have to hurry up! Stage times will be made available at later date.
On 12th of September, The Blinders will take part in a really special, small event. Organized by Manchester based company, Trashed TV, the Doncaster trio will join John McClure (Reverend and the Makers), Dirty Laces and The Virginmarys at undisclosed location to participate in a gig and the concert will be broadcast online!
Trashed TV streamed event poster
The show starts at 20:00 UK time and the live performances will be followed by interviews conducted by DJ Shell Zenner. You can watch it on Trashed TV’s Facebook page. The stream is free of charge.
There will not be tickets for this show, but few lucky Mancunians will be invited to the studio.
On 14th of September, The Blinders will go back to Belgium again! EU fans cannot get enough of them so the band is travelling back and forth to mainland Europe in recent months. They will play at Leffingeleuren Festival which takes place in the city of Leffienge, in the municipality of Middelkerke, province of West Flanders. The festival started as a folk and blues festival in 1977 and now books pop and rock acts from all over the world. It is organized by De Zwerver Concerts. The Blinders are booked to performed on the main stage but stage times are not yet available. They will join Crows, Brutus, Bill Ryder-Jones, Molly Sarlé and 18 other acts on the bill for Saturday. The entire festival lasts from 13th of September till 15th of September. About 20.000 people are expected to attend.
The festival gave the band a splendid review:
The Blinders at the Leffingeleuren festival
And the band’s picture from the line up
“A young group from the Manchester area has made the UK live circuit unsafe since 2017. The Blinders spread raw, loud, intuitive, political protopunk with psychedelic poetic texts. The band is inspired by Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, the young Arctic Monkeys, the blues riffs of Led Zeppelin and the lead singer possesses the appearance of Jim Morrison. The enigmatic trio are known for their crazy, possessed performances. It took them just a month to record their debut album entitled ‘Columbia'”.
On the 19th of September, the legendary Amsterdam club Paradiso will organize a mini festival called Indiestadt. The Blinders will join Algiers, Stars, Cassia, Penelope Isles and The Stroppies for a full day of new exciting music. Tickets go on sale on 26th of April and will cost 17 euros. Please be quick as the pre-orders are already opened!
The Blinders mentioned on the Paradiso website
Paradiso advertises the festival with this beautiful entry about the Doncaster trio: “The Blinders are a young band based these days in Manchester. They know what to do with a good, heavy riff! Their music is hard, blusey and full of bravado, that only British bands seems to be able to get away with. Political punk rock undertones guarantee a spectacular live shows”.
After returning from Euro voyages, on 21st of September, The Blinders will celebrate one year anniversary of the release of “Columbia” – their debut album. The band will host a special event in Manchester (the venue hasn’t been revealed yet but many people point to their favourite venue, the Night People!) with photo exhibition, acoustic performance and Q+A session.
Manchester special show
The tickets are not on sale yet, but please be on the look out!
We will post more information as they become available.
The Gathering Sounds is a festival taking place on 28th of September 2019 in Stockton-on-Tees. The festival has been going on for a number of years but this edition is the biggest and boldest yet. 30 acts are expected to play and The Blinders are headlining! They will be joined by Worcestershire’s finest Ivory Wave, Lady Bird, Rats, Queen Zee, Sophie and The Giants and many more on 7 stages: ARC (Stockton Art Centre), KU Bar, The Georgian Theatre, The Story Tellers Public House (This Feeling stage), Vault and The Green Room. All stages are located very close to each other and you will be able to quickly move between them.
The Blinders are headlining ARC stage
Gathering Sounds poster
Address: Dovecot St, Stockton-on-Tees TS18 1LL, UK (ARC). The rest of the venues are located just few minutes away on foot.
Doors: 16:00pm (all venues) until 11:30pm
The Blinders are headlining the ARC stage but the detailed schedule has not been released yet.
You can see two promotional videos prepared by the festival:
It's a brave new world 💚
30+ emerging bands are coming to Stockton-On-Tees this month for the biggest multi-venue festival of the season 👌
On October 5th, The Blinders will headline a brand new all day event in the South of England. It is called Dials Festival and is located in the city of Portsmouth. The festival started in 2015, and ran in 2016 and 2018 winning several national awards. 2019 will be its fourth edition. Dials will support a charitable cause and proceeds will go to Solent Mind, to continue the discussion of mental health issues with both its audience and artists. The Blinders will play alongside Another Sky, Brighton’s garage rock duo ARXX, industrial noise punks Black Futures, local indie heroes Fake Empire, Bristol’s raucous post-punk favourites Haze, dream pop pioneer HUSSY, the experimental ambient work of Johanna Bramli, Brighton noisemakers LibraLibra, space pop five-piece Pocket Sun, indie-darlings Saltwater Sun, energetic post-punks Talk Show and delicate alt rockers wych elm.
Dials Festival poster
The festival gave a fantastic review to the Blinders saying: “Headlining the festival will be UK 3-piece The Blinders. ‘An incendiary soundtrack of garage punk and swamp blues that’s best described as Nick Cave slumming it or The Eighties Matchbox Arctic Monkeys’ was how Drowned in Sound website described the band last year. Just off the back of their biggest UK dates to date, this summer The Blinders support Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and play a number of outdoor festivals. DIALS is incredibly excited to bring them back indoors in October to play the main stage at The Wedgewood Rooms where punters will be able to see just why they’ve developed such a fierce reputation for incredible live shows”.
Address: The Wedgewood Rooms, 147b Albert Rd, Portsmouth, Southsea PO4 0JW
Time: from 12:00 pm till late
Age: All ages admission (under 14 with supervision from responsible adult)
Time schedules will be available shortly!
On Saturday 12th of October, The Blinders will be playing at the Neighbourhood Festival in Manchester. The line up looks like an indie fans dream come true: Miles Kane, Pins, The Big Moon, The Pale White, Lady Bird and over 100 acts more! The participating venues include: Bread Shed, The Refuge, Night People, Revolution Oxford Road, Thirsty Scholar, Zombie Shack, Manchester Academy, the O2 Ritz, Albert Hall, Deaf Institute, Gorilla and YES.
Tickets are going to come on sale on Thursday 13th of June.
The Blinders will play Albert Hall according to early reports but stage times have not been confirmed yet.
November is looking like a very busy month for the band as well, and we honestly do not know when they will find the time to record anything as they are constantly on tour! We are not worried about the touring part at all, the more gigs we can attend, the better for us!
On 9th of November, the trio will attend the 2Q Festival. This is a one day, multi-venue, live music festival, that takes place throughout nine centrally located venues within the city centre of Lincoln. the festival started in 2017 and received numerous awards. The Blinders played there last year and are returning after the organizers were bombarded by requests to have them play again, this time as a headliner. So by popular demand, the band will make another appearance and will rock Lincoln like a (political) hurricane.
All the venues are opening at 12:00 and the music will be playing until 11:00pm. Expect 10 venues, 60+ bands and a lot of people. Bring ID’s, the entry to all clubs is marked as 18+.
2Q Festival poster
We're happy to announce the line-up for 2Q Festival Lincoln 2019!
The next November gig will be the Shimmer Sounds. This is a new music festival organized by The MJS Group. It debuted in 2018 in Cardiff and was a huge success. This year’s edition will take place on 16th of November in Cardiff (Tramshed) and on 17th of November in Birmingham (The Mill in Digbeth). So far three headliners have been revealed: Temples, The Blinders and Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard. Both shows will start at 14:30 pm and the music will be playing until 11:00 pm (curfew for both venues). At least 6 more acts will be revealed before September the organizers have announced.
Early bird tickets are now sold out for both venues. We will be updating this entry as more information is announced:
Welcome to 2018! We would like to wish you a very happy and prosperous new year and we hope it will be better than the last one. This year is going to be a very important one for our Worcester Music Scene and of course Vanadian Avenue crew will be keeping our eyes and ears open for anything music related. Please add us on Facebook if you haven’t done so yet to stay in touch with the latest information!
We would like to kick off 2018 in style with the first interview of the year. Ladies and gents, we give you the excellent White Feather Collective!
Believe it or not, there must be definitely something in the famous Malvern spring water. After the success of fellow Malvern rockers Nuns of the Tundra at the national Firestone Battle of Bands competition and incredible releases from Dead Dads Club (they are playing Marr’s Bar with HVMM this February), here comes The White Feather Collective, swinging rock and roll quartet that has a major chance to represent England at the famous SXSW Conference & Festivals in San Antonio. We sat down with WFC to discuss their new material, previous accomplishments and sneaking into Glastonbury Festival.
White Feather Collective are:
William Turner (vocals/guitar),
Christopher Reynolds (drums),
Josh Lambe (vocals),
Roo Macphee (bass/organ)
White Feather Collective – picture from the bands archive
White Feather Collective logo
You are immensely popular in West Midlands. But just in case somebody spent the last few years living under a rock. Who are The White Feather Collective?
White Feather Collective: We guess, the easiest way to describe us would be we are a four-piece rock band from Malvern. The boarder definition would be who we are is what we aim for. We want to change some part of this world through music to make creative escapism as popular as it was. We want a big scene of groovy people loving all day and night, not just to escape the current state of things but as a means to change it. It sounds daft like a hippy dream, but it is so much more. The world is run by liars you’ll never meet and we want some power shift where what we say it counts and we see the efforts of our strain. Music is just one way of getting us on the same page and talking about that.
BBC Hereford & Worcester put you forward to the panel that chooses the BBC Music Introducing South By South West (SXSW) showcase line-up. Potentially, you could play at the biggest music conference in the world in Austin, Texas. Previous alumni of the BBC stage include among others The Big Moon and Idles. The first were nominated for Mercury Prize, the other recorded album of the year. No pressure, right?
White Feather Collective: No pressure at all! The fact we’ve been nominated encourages us to continue on the path we’re on. We just have to dream bigger and continue to put more loving energy into everything we do. The overall goal is to share good music with people and keep on riding that high.
The band formed in 2014. One year later, you had about twenty recorded songs and one of them “Come On and Get Down” was used by French company WIKO Mobile in their international campaign. Can you tell us how did that collaboration come to be?
White Feather Collective: They found us on Bandcamp. It was an early demo EP we nearly didn’t put on. Looking back, it was a good job we did! The coolest part of that was the video they made to go with it and the fact it was blasting out in huge stadiums!