We are absolutely gutted that we can only review this EP good three weeks after its release (came out on March 13th 2020) but the world has been in chaos lately. Maybe you noticed… However social isolation has good sides – you can sit on your ass and listen to a lot of music. We will not complain too much about being four weeks into a self imposed exile then. After all this is what music scouts do anyway if not attending gigs: typing away mountains of text about artists they seen or are about to see. Plus, the fridge is stocked and we have 24 pieces of toilet roll…So without any more ado, here is the record we will be ranting about on this blog today. Meet the band.
Liam Mckeown (vox, guitar)
Jakob Cusp (guitar, keys)
William S Carrott (bass)
Connor Doyle (drums, percussion)
Brain Food are a four-piece cosmic psych outfit originally hailing from the suburbs of East Birmingham. Forming in the dying embers of 2017, the band have been making waves with their energetic, spaced-out and shimmering live set. In their brief history they have supported the likes of Insecure Men, Froth, Stonefield, Boy Azooga, Frankie & The Witch Fingers, Dead Coast, Man of Moon and Public Access TV. August 2018 saw the release of debut EP “Get One On”, a DIY project of five tracks recorded, mixed and produced by the band, on their own makeshift record label, Room 15 Records.
Birmingham is known nationally (and internationally if you ever poked your nose outside the disunited kingdom) for having a vibrant psychedelic and garage scene. If you are local we don’t necessarily have to introduce you to the likes of DOXA, Table Scraps, Cherry Pickles, The Cosmics or The Lizards. Chances are you drink with members of those bands more often at The Sunny than we do. However if you don’t hang around Digbeth too often, Second City may be uncharted musical waters. Then you are cordially invited to have a look at this BLOG we did for the scene and check out the playlists. It`s worth it – we will tell you this much.
Brain Food are part of the vibrant Brummie scene and their new, self -titled EP is exceptional, in many regards. It is first time in aeons that we had a pleasure to listen to a space psychedelia record. For those who are not into musical genres: space psychedelia (also known as “space rock”) originated in the late 1960`s and is recognised by lengthy compositions with distorted, other-worldly vocals. Hypnotic drums and keyboards often accommodate poetic, mystic and science-fiction themed lyrics. This sub-genre of psychedelic and progressive rock came to prove itself to be very influential, inspiring every musical movement from the 80s onward: grunge, stone rock, shoe gaze to post rock. Early enthusiasts of the space sound were Jimmy Hendrix, Marc Bolan, The Beatles and Pink Floyd. The ground breaking “wah wah” sound was born out of the genre. But we digress…
The band sticks to a very traditional definition of space psychedelia – this record is full of wonderful riffs, mellow if minimal drumming, ethereal vocals and lyrics that evoke emotional and spiritual sides of humanity. It`s 27 minutes that should be spent lying in the grass on a summer day with your eyes closed and enjoying the sun on one`s face.
The Brain Food EP cover
Opening the record is “Poseidon” – although not a leading single – it is a perfect introduction to the EP. The song greets us with a powerful riff and the words “Wake Up – what do you see?”. The low bass and heavy drums giving this track such a groovy, trippy feeling.
Then comes “Canyon Crawler” with its oriental theme and deep, echo like effects. The song changes tempo several times over the course of seven minutes but does not feel too dragging or boring. It is very Beatles-que in nature (meant in the best way possible).
“That Feeling” could give Pink Floyd a good run for their money had Brain Food been born few decades into the past. For some reason we love how the vocals sound – there is no indication that they have been reinforced but it feels like there is more than one voice singing.
“Cosmic Jones” starts with a wah wah motif to explode into a distorted, quietly beautiful love song. It may be a strange observation but this is the only song that brings outthe fact that Brain Food are a British band. You can hear the strong West Midland accent clearer than on other compositions. Though out the record you can`t place where the band comes from – they could easily pose for American quartet or anywhere else in the world. Which adds to the charm of the EP – anyone from any corner of the world could relate. But on “Cosmic Jones” the band is undisputedly British. Also its our favourite track from the record. Not related to the fact that we are Anglophiles.
The EP ends with “Forbidden Tongue”. What we really love about this track are those long guitar solos that are the central part of composition. Vocals are here relocated to the back seat and treated alongside with other instruments. Very clever idea.
It`s hard to rate this record. Brain Food do not reinvent the wheel. But it`s such a strong space psychedelic release in all its classical glory. And we have a soft spot for all things psychedelic!
This is a kick ass* release and if you can get your hand on it – do so. Hopefully we will get a physical release sooner than later.
We may live through hard times for the dreamers (as mighty Welshmen Trampolene observed) but we definitely need visionaries and cultural catalysts – perhaps now more than ever. Hard times call for movers, shakers and people who will push things forward when everyone is looking back at nostalgia.
Through our blog we tend not only to support new and upcoming artists but also those who tirelessly work behind the scenes in labels, music websites, venues and radio stations. Today`s entry is dedicated to a man who will be seen by future generations as Sheffield`s answer to Tony Wilson – Mr Rob Hirst.
Rob has dedicated years to build a network and to promote bands from across the country in conditions that would make others throw the towel in. His strength, persistence and vision are shining though and elevated artists to better things.
Rob Hirst – a man for the job
We had a real pleasure and privilege to speak to Rob about his label, music industry and his dream band.
Musician, label owner and a walking encyclopaedia of great new bands – please introduce yourself to readers of Indieterria.
Rob Hirst: Hi, I’m Rob the owner and founder of Fans for Bands and These Bloody Thieves Records! (laughs)
It`s been a year since you have founded These Bloody Thieves Records. In that time you worked with artists such as False Heads, The Howlers, C33`s among many others. That is a truly impressive accomplishment. Tell us where did the idea for a label come from and how did you manage to make this a reality?
Rob Hirst: I guess it was just a progression from all the other things I was doing. I was working with a lot of bands via Fans for Bands, discovering new bands via my Spotify playlists and I was scouting for others management and labels. When Ditto approached me about the label in the box within a few hours I had the branding, put a post on social media and Luke from False Heads was keen to work with me. It was up and running in 24 hours.
2020 started with a bang at the label. You just announced Singles Club – a very ambitious plan to release 24 singles this year. Can you give more information as we are sure many bands would love to get in touch.
Rob Hirst: Yeah, I wanted to do something different this year after a frustrating end to 2019. I was bored on Boxing day and the idea just popped into my head. I put a post out on social media and the submissions and support came flooding in. By end of Feb 2020 the label will have put out five singles already with artists all over the UK.
You are the man behind the Fans for Bands project. Please tell us more about it. What exactly is Fans for Bands and how does it work? How this platform can benefit unsigned artists?
Rob Hirst: The name itself kind of explains what it is. This is my freelance side to my career and the also the PR/marketing brand that supports the label. The idea is to have a budget marketing (PR/Spotify and Social Media Growth) that gets excellent results based on my passion, knowledge and contacts without ripping a massive hole in the artists pockets.
At the end of December 2019, These Bloody Thieves welcomed Matthew Stockman as head of A&R and Live Events. His presence will surely invigorate the label. We are very curious what live events are in the pipe line? Showcases or maybe even a festival?
Rob Hirst: Matt is incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to discovering new bands and was an active figure on the London scene before moving to Sheffield and then joining the label. Matt will be looking to discover new artists and then give them a slot at our stages in Sheffield and looking to actively promote to new artists to a Sheffield crowd.
We know its maybe a cliché question but what are you looking for as a label? What qualities should an artist/band possess to grab your attention? And how prospective artists can approach you?
Rob Hirst: It’s all about the quality of the artist. Preferably discovered as early as possible and to help to support their releases. Obviously, we want to play our part on breaking a band. But the label has never been about making money. It’s about putting out and supporting great artists and to encourage people to listen to something other than Lewis Capaldi (laughs)
Music Business is not the easiest of industries – and we are sure that running a label is not a walk in the park. But it also offers some valuable lessons to us all. If you were to share some of your experiences with those who want to set up their own labels – what would you say to them?
Rob Hirst: Yeah of course. Success will definitely not come over night. Don’t sign too many artists at once and don’t invest too much money that you will not see back. I have no regrets about the levels on money invested and lost in the first year. It was all about been taken seriously and getting a reputation so that we could then attract the best artists in the UK – Which has definitely worked.
Last (in)famous question – imagine you can create a super group consisting of any musician from history. Who is in the band, what instruments do they plan and what`s their name?
Rob Hirst: Wow! Depends what mood I am in! I have to reform my old band and have a mid life crisis. Those musicians I played with played a huge part in my life and all led me to working in music full time. But off the top of my head!
Crispin Hunt (Longpigs) – Vocals/Rhythm Guitars
Nick McCabe (Verve) – Lead Guitars
John Entwhistle (The Who) – Bass
Reni (Stone Roses) – Drums
Rock and roll music is all about storytelling. If pop can get away with repeated lines or lyrics barely making any sense, rock always had bigger inspirations. Drawing its roots from the soul, blues and R&B, it became a proud tradition of the genre to take a stance during political unrest, social changes or at least to describe the lives of the common men. Many of the leading voices of rock are also noted poets (Bob Dylan, Jeff Buckley, Patti Smith or Joni Mitchell) or shrewd commentators of the world (Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Freddy Mercury). Their critical eye helped to shape the musical heritage and the entire post war, modern cultural landscape.
The people behind the rock music are not only singing or telling stories on stage, their lives are full of great tales of friendship, struggles, victories or partying. American journalist Kurt Loder has once said that the annals of rock music are the best lecture and indeed the biographies of its stars are anything but dull. And that’s what makes the genre stand out among thousand of other musical styles. The artists come to us with something to say, with their own baggage of losses and gains the listeners can relate to.
Pardon the long beginning, but it was a pleasure to interview Chris Binns of Wigan’s Dirty Circus. The quartet is returning to the spotlight after a decade and their story is truly unique. We have sat him down to discuss the band’s past, releasing their debut album and the future that looks brighter than ever.
Official bio: Hailing from Wigan and Leigh, Dirty Circus consists of Chris Binns (vox), Jon Hollingsworth (bass), Stephen Ahern (guitar) and Ryan Whittle (drums). They catapulted to the top of the North West music scene in the late 2000’s becoming notorious for energy packed raucous live performances and winning an army of devoted Fans. With an impressive CV including a label deal with Columbia Records, work with Hacienda Legend Mike Pickering, a tour support slot to Madchester royalty Happy Mondays, and a very special appearance at Glastonbury Festival, they’re back for round 2 and seem to have something of a point to prove. With their record finally out and northern tour, the band is ready to claim their rightful place at the top.
The hands emblem that became a symbol for the band
Dirty Circus have a fascinating history as a band. You formed at the beginning on 2000’s and quickly established yourselves as one of the best emerging bands of that period. You got signed to Columbia, started working on an album and then unexpectedly, you parted ways with the label. What happened?
Chris Binns: In the mid to late 00’s the music industry was in a real transition. This was a time when CD sales had begun to decline, pirating and illegal downloading was rife and record companies hadn’t figured out how to use streaming to their benefit. It was a time before MySpace And Apple Music. The 90’s boom was no longer and the majors had less room for risk. Unfortunately, we were expendable and were part of a cull of bands who were offered ultimatums and too good to turn down offers to terminate the contracts. I think it was a common misconception that we were dropped. The truth is we choose to leave. Knowing that staying with the label at that time would have been more damaging to the band.
After leaving Columbia, the band continued as an independent act for nearly a year under the guidance of manager Phil Saxe. You worked with Mike Pickering of Hacidena fame and toured with Happy Mondays, only to call it a day out of the blue. The infamous “creative differences” were cited as a reason for the split. Looking back on that decision, do you think it was a right path to take?
Chris Binns: At the time we had started to internally combust. In the beginning everything was happening so fast. We had genuine label interest within the first three months. After six months we had 6 or 7 big labels fighting over us. The band got to the point where every show we were playing was sold out and were getting 500/700 plays a day on MySpace. Now throw in a packed out Glastonbury set then signing to one of the biggest labels in the world. We felt like we had landed the greatest job in the world.
Fast forward 2 years and everything had become slower. The band practiced and practiced very rarely playing live, working on new material while trying to get the album done. It felt like the label had lost interest then we got a call and that was it. We walked away and had to get normal jobs again. It was then the infighting started, each member blamed others for what happened.
Firstly our synth player Floyd Woolley left and we carried on for a little while after but the magic was gone. Then bassist Ian Halliwell left and personally I couldn’t see the point after that. We had all been best friends way before the band started and it felt like we had run our course.
Dirty Circus are back and ready for action.
Dirty Circus returned as a 4 piece in 2017 to sold out shows and excited public. What prompted you to get back together?
Chris Binns: It was our guitarist Stevie (Ahern)`s wedding so myself and the drummer Ryan (Whittle) decided to go along mainly for a piss up. Me and Ryan hadn’t seen or spoke to Stevie or Jonny (Hollingsworth) for about 7 years so I wasn’t sure how it was gonna be. As soon as we were back together it was like all them years had never happened. We decided then and there to have a practice. The Sunday after the wedding we spoke to Jon and he was up for it. The other boys Floyd and Ian didn’t want to do it which we have to respect and we’re still in contact with them.
I booked a room and when we started playing the energy was back! It was amazing. The day after I booked a gig in Wigan at the Old Courts -an amazing venue which had sprung up whilst we were out the game – and we were off. The place holds around 400 people and it was sold out within few weeks which blew us away.
Your album “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Worse” was finally released on 4th of March 2019. The story behind this record could be made into a Hallmark movie: a successful band is dropped by a major record label, the demos go missing for a decade, they are found on a old computer drive and re-mastered. How do you feel about this record after all what’s happened? It must have been quite a ride.
Chris Binns: When we got the masters back it was pretty emotional – that album was nearly 10 years of work and it was amazing to hear it in its entirety. Up to that point we had been so focused on writing new material we had forgot how good the old stuff was! We had quite an experience getting to that point and listening to the album brought plenty of memories back most of which I can’t repeat in this interview. The songs on that record are a reflection of how we were all living life at that point and the lyrics are all the things me and the boys were experiencing.
Dirty Circus are back. Deal with it.
You recorded the original demos at the Motor Museum studio in Liverpool. This is one of the oldest and most accomplished recording studios in the North – a home to Oasis, The La’s, Arctic Monkeys and The Coral. Your producer, Tristan Ivemy worked with The Holloways, Towers of London, Frank Turner, and recently The Lottery Winners. Where did you re-mastered the tapes? Did you come back to the same place to properly finish the record?
Chris Binns: In all honesty we didn’t return to the old studios. We got the songs mastered in the US pretty cheaply. At this point we weren’t sure what we were going to do with the album and we got it mastered on a whim. We were originally planning on just dropping it on Soundcloud but when the tracks come back from mastering, we knew we had to make it a proper release. The songs were massive. I remember how excited I was and sent them to them lads immediately. It was full on energy and aggression – just like we sounded live. The only real change was that we decided to record a new version of a track we always wanted on the album. “Dropped” was never recorded in original sessions because we could never get it right. When we reformed we thought we would give it one more try so we worked with our friends Martin and Dan at Strangeway Studios in Manchester. We finally got what we wanted.
We have to ask about the collectible edition of “WDKMYW” on a pink vinyl. Is it still available? If so, where can it be purchased?
Chris Binns: There’s not many records left! We printed 600 initially and we must have 50 left and whatever the stores have. It’s currently in the key independent record stores in most major cities across the UK. And of course in Wigan and Bolton (laughs).
Dirty Circus are currently on tour. You will be playing Manchester soon (The Bread Shed on 26th of October) and a possible date in London is in the works. Are you planning on visiting West Midlands area? We’d love to see you rock Bristol or Birmingham.
Chris Binns: 100% we would love to play in Bristol and Birmingham. Hopefully we’ll get there in the first part of 2020. In fact I had somebody contact me the other day to tell me how big fans of us they used to be, filling mini buses and driving to our Manchester shows from Birmingham. Somebody also had a club night called Dirty Disco named after our song.
Tour poster for Manchester show at The Bread Shed
A home coming show is booked in Wigan on 17th of November at The Bailiff Bar. We are told it is going to be an acoustic night. What can we expect and how does shows normally go down in Wigan?
Chris Binns: We never did an acoustic performance before so it’ll definitely be interesting. But we’re not doing it full acoustic, we are still gonna have all the electronics in the mix. It’s more of a stripped back performance.
Any plans for the nearest future? Where will 2020 take you?
Chris Binns: Well we’ve currently got 12 new songs we are really happy with so we’re gonna try and get in the studio and hopefully release them as an EP in April. We have always been a band that prides ourselves on new music and pushing things forward and that’s what this music does. Imagine Jonny Rotten singing in Cafe del Mar on ecstasy (laughs)
Last questions are a bit of fun at Indieterria. Let’s say you can go back in time and fix one mistake from your own past. Which wrongs are you going to right?
Chris Binns: Nothing! Honestly it is what it is. We don’t dwell, we just want to make sure we prove ourselves this time around…. No wait! In-fact I wouldn’t sold my black The North Face 3 in 1 jacket I had. It was a banger.
Dirty Circus will be adding new dates and interviews shortly so please keep your eyes open and your hand on the pulse. We will be travelling to Kingdom of Mancunia many times in the new year and if they are playing anywhere close, be sure you will see us in the front row.
It`s a strange feeling to be writing a blog about Throwing Muses` front woman on a night when VMAs are on. It almost feels like the 90s. Back in the day MTV was a rock channel and Throwing Muses were in heavy rotation, leading guitar revolution across charts and Z Rock network. Times may have changed but many things stayed the same. Kristin Hersh is still touring, recording exciting albums (last years`s “Possible Dust Clouds” is nothing short of a masterpiece) and still being independent. Perhaps even more now than when she was on 4AD.
Being life long fans of Kristin`s music, we have been thrilled to speak to her about her new record, extensive tour of UK and creative process behind her songs. Lets leave the Moon Men to some emo kids and mumble rappers. There is so much life outside the Top 40.
Ladies and Gentlemen – the one and only Kristin Hersh!
Kristin Hersh and her band members on stage
Hello Kristin! In March this year you have played an extensive UK tour with over 30 gigs across the county. How was it? We hope you received a warm welcome!
Kristin Hersh: Best tour of my life in every way. Not making this up. Van life plus my favourite musicians in the world and musically literate crowds. Rob from 50 Foot Wave and Fred from Throwing Muses made this power trio a super group, of sorts.
The first time they called us that, we laughed, and then immediately adopted the term ‘cause it made us feel like super heroes!
You have released nine studio albums with Throwing Muses, the latest in 2013. “Purgatory/Paradise” came out in an unique form: 32 tracks accompanied by a book full of lyrics, images and additional material. The scale of the release prompted fears among fans that it would be the last album for the band. Do you think there is still some music left in The Muses or are you definitively putting the project to rest?
Kristin Hersh: (laughs) Throwing Muses is in the studio right now. If Muses songs show up, so do we.
Lady with a guitar – Kerstin Hersh has always been a role model on indie circuit
Besides music you are also a published author. You have written and illustrated children book “Toby Snax” and penned two memoirs (“Rat Girl” and “Don’t Suck Don’t Die”). Was writing a natural step forward from making music and crafting songs?
Kristin Hersh: I love prose. After a lifetime of speaking music—a language not everyone is fluent in—I get to communicate clearly. Though my writing style verges on prose – poetry, so I guess the communicative effect is watery. It`s more like music than conversation.
In an interview with Guitar World you once said “We’re morally bound to not participate in the traditional recording industry because we disagree with it.” And yet, your newest studio album “Possible Dust Clouds” was released on a label, the old fashioned way. What convinced you to sign to Fire Records?
Kristin Hersh: The old fashioned way is corporate and anti-music. I traded Warner Brothers my first solo album in exchange for my band’s freedom. The new paradigm—like Fire Records—is staffed by people who’ve been too moved by real songs to play the insult-to-music-and-women fashion game that took over the recording industry.
For the purpose of this interview we really tried to find one review of “Possible Dust Clouds” that was not positive and we failed! Pitchfork called it a “glorious return” while Guardian described you both as “uncompromising” and a “true innovator”. Every online review is full five stars. Do you regard this record as the best of your career, cause your fans and music journalists seems to agree on that.
Kristin Hersh: I probably think every record I make is the best of my career! But I’m also baffled by songs. They tell me what to do and I have to listen, so production technique is necessarily reinvented in every session. Until I hear back from smart journalists, I really don’t know what I’ve done.
Kristin Hersh – the legend herself
It took about five years to record “Possible Dust Clouds” and unlike your previous album you did not play all the instruments. This album welcomes many guests and even uses field recordings. How do you remember working on this particular record?
Kristin Hersh: I wanted a chaotic sound, one that mimicked the feel of live shows. Live recordings are usually just recordings that suck, so you have to parse the elements of a show: group high and loud noise plus movement, in order to bring that about. I invited a few friends whose playing is very muscular so that I could warp timing and tuning in the high and low overdubs around our performances. Weak playing would sound ineffective with this treatment but here it sounds noisy and fluid.
The album has been promoted by several singles, including LAX and now Breathe In. It is one of our favourite tracks on the album. We would love to learn more about this song.
Kristin Hersh: “Soloing throughout” is a term we use to make fun of guitar players who won’t shut up, but that’s exactly what I did I in this song. Played my leads with a screwdriver and I don’t shut up until the song ends. My son Wyatt played drums and my fiancé, Fred Abong, is on bass. It’s a little trio of a family, really. So there’s a sweetness in all that noise.
If you are not touring solo or with Kristin Hersh Electric Trio, you are working with 50FOOTWAVE. Can you tell us something about this project as British audience may not be familiar with it.
Kristin Hersh: 50FOOTWAVE is my noise rock trio out of LA. We’re run as a cooperative, with everyone donating their time, from engineers and musicians to videographers, to allow us to give music away.
You have always been very open about your struggles with mental health. And music industry is having this big conversation right now about supporting artists. Looking at things from perspective of somebody who spent four decades in the industry – do you see any changes? And if so are they positive or negative?
Kristin Hersh: I haven’t been all that open, really, since I have no mental health issues. I was misdiagnosed schizophrenic and bipolar and only recently cured of PTSD and concurrent dissociation, which isn’t technically a mental illness. I answer questions when I’m asked, but I shy away from linking any illness to art.
And I think supporting the arts is a very individual decision since they’re all industries now and subject to marketing techniques like bandwagon appeal, etc. I’d love to see people playing their own music, for example. That’s a way to support the arts.
Last (infamous) question – if you were able to change music industry to your liking what would you do? What would change and what would remain?
Kristin Hersh: I would take fashion, money and fame out of the equation. That would leave us with actual musicians. I’m not sure that there are any musicians or songwriters in the recording industry. Rock stars and people who want to be them should never have happened. Music? Will always happen.
Forget the saying “never meet your heroes”. Sometimes you just have to meet them! When we heard that John Robb is working on a new material, we immediately knew we wanted to speak to him about it. John is not only a musician, magazine editor (he runs the wildly popular Louder than War magazine) and journalist. He is also a poet, a modern philosopher and an artist. His works have been shaping musical landscape since 1977 and Membranes are considered as one of the most influential punk/alternative rock outfits in the history of British music.
We sat down with John a couple of days before his (sort of) homecoming gig at the Manchester Ritz to discuss the new album, forces of nature, our place in the natural order of the universe and performing with a choir! It was a huge pleasure and priviladge to interview our childhood hero, so if you have one, don’t wait and apporach them. Disappointments happen, but so does the magic. And for us it was a magical experience.
“What Natures Gives… Nature Takes Away” is your first studio album since 2015 and a follow up to the acclaimed “Dark Matter/Dark Energy”. Four years is a long time. Can you tell us how this album shaped from its conception to the final mixes?
John Robb: We got busy. We didn’t expect the last album to go as well as it did and we were sidetracked by touring and life. All the time though the idea of the next album was germinating (ha!) like a seed. There is no rush for a band like ours, we are not a teenage hit machine. This stuff is art and art takes time. Just create when you are ready. Don’t wait for permission on how and when you create. When it was ready, it was ready. There were always ideas and when they had a grand scheme to fit into to with the nature thing then it all fell intom place. Making a record as epic and ambitious as this is, of course, a gamble. The underground scene has lots of rules and you are expected to conform by them! In many ways underground music is even more tightly regulated by what you are perceived to be allowed to do than the so called mainstream. Alternative music is often not that alternative, is it?
The album’s title, quickly brings connotation to the famous Bible verse “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away” (Job 1:21). Was it something you wanted the listeners to notice and think about? Are we, as human beings, at the mercy of the forces of nature?
The front cover of “What Nature Gives”
John Robb: Yes, the album is about the beauty and violence of nature. It’s also about how we are the nature and as you say we are at the mercy of the forces of nature. We are at the mercy of its ebbs and flows. We do our best to try and break away but we are just chimps in suits. We like the idea of biblical preachers against a stormy sky shouting at nature. Like the good book can even have any control on the mighty forces already unleashed way before a god was even invented. As human beings, we are merely navigating this swirl of wildness and hoping for the best.
The “natural theme” is omnipresent on the record. Looking at the song titles, one cannot miss multiple references to animals (“Murder of Crows”, The City Is An Animal”), plants (“Demon Seed/Demon Flower”) or forests (“Deep In The Forest Where The Memories Linger”). Are we looking at concept album, or “dark rock opera” as one of the reviewers called it?
John Robb: “Dark rock opera” is a pretty cool term! There is a concept running through the album but it’s not as literal as it sounds. The songs take the themes of nature but each song is its own entity but the tracks run in an order. For me, it’s very much an album with each piece in place and not loads of tracks chucked together. Like a book with chapters! “A Strange Perfume” is about the power of pheromones and the powerful primal instinctive urge of the perfumes of our own scent whilst “A Murder Of Crows” is about the dark power of crows – their mystical power, their smartness and their cunning cruelty. The song also looks back on the roots of the word “murder” back to the plains of India where it is an actual Hindu word. “Demon Seed/Demon Flower” is a dark dub built around the themes brought up by Baudelaire – it’s a Baudelaire dub! It’s about how sex runs right through nature and we celebrate the voluptuous flowers trying to attract each other’s attention in the battlefield of life. “Deep In The Forest” is a celebration of the tomblike silence at the centre of the darkest first, a place where you can hear nature sigh in its eternal woody silence. It’s also part of a theme for the perfume we are working on with Lush which will be called “A Strange Perfume”! It smells of the erotic dampness, leaf mould and autumnal richness of the forest – a place where your memories linger for eternity.
Back cover of the new album
Two songs, however differ from the rest, thematically and musically. “Pandora’s Box” and “Mother Ocean/Father Time” seems to be inspired by classical Greek mythology. Can you tell us more about them?
John Robb: “Pandora’s Box” is the apocalyptic end piece of the album. It is about the power of love and lust and the curveballs that nature throws at us in life and that moment in time when you have to jump in and open the box.
“Mother Ocean/Father Time” is about the ocean and it’s also about my grandfather, a French Canadian who used to work on the cable ships as they crossed the Atlantic in the early 20th century. They used to call it the most dangerous job in the world. Eventually he stopped over in London for a couple of days and had the briefest of dalliances with my grandmother and was never seen again. I liked that mystery to their brief affair, that intensity of the moment against the backdrop of the mighty ocean. The music was written to reflect that with the riff being the churning of the waves and the salt stained seas, another celebration of the sheer power of nature. I used to live by the sea and loved that line between suburbia and the wild ocean. On one side the thin veneer of civilisation and on the other the wild and mysterious depths.
The record, which is set to be released on June 7th, is a double album full of intriguing guests: Chris Packham, Kirk Brandon (Spear of Destiny) and even a 20 – person choir. You have previously worked with Estonian female choir Sireen for festival slots and BIMM choir for a tour in the UK. Which choir have you employed on this occasion?
John Robb: I like working with guests. I think rock bands don’t have to be so rigid. We have done so many collaborations over the years. We played in Mexico last night and did a live collaboration with a local band who are called Descartes A Kant (who are really worth checking out). We had one rehearsal and a get on stage kind of affair and that is the kind of risk taking that always creates great art. The choir we used on this album is recruited from BIMM – we can’t afford to fly an Estonian choir around. It’s the price you pay for having ideas bigger than your budget. I put the call out on Facebook for a choir and Claire Pilling, who teaches singing at BIMM college came back to us and recruited the choir. It was great working with the Sireen choir who I saw play a festival in Estonia 5 years ago and asked if they wanted to do a gig with us straight after. They said yes and we played two amazing and brilliantly received gigs in Estonia with them which is where this album really started.
We want to ask you about another person who is featured on the album – dame Shirley Collins, the force behind English Folk Revival of 1960s and 1970s. What an incredible woman. She is 83 years old this year and just released her new album herself. Was it hard to convince dame Collins to appear on the record? It does look a bit like Metallica/Marianne Faithfull collaboration!
John Robb: Shirley is amazing. I met her through filming stuff for Lush, the cosmetics chain, who have created a media channel which I film content for. She was in Lush one night at the launch of a film about her and it was great to meet her. She is a wonderful woman. I asked her if she wanted to do a piece for the album and an hour later she was reading this great piece about the South Downs and the power of music and how it comes out of the very soil of the surrounding hills. Her description of the flowers and birds in the Sussex hills is so evocative and perfect and one of the highpoint of the album for me.
John Robb: I did a Google search! I was putting key words from the album and then searching through images and hoping something powerful and evocative would come up. What I needed was a piece of artwork that would reflect the themes of the album: the transient nature of nature, life and death and the passing of the seasons and the second that image appeared I know it was perfect. I like it because it is the seasons and death and also because its quite erotic and tragic and full of flowers and lingering and tragedy – just like the album!
The release is being promoted by leading single “A Strange Perfume”, where the band members are shown singing among the ballet dancers clad in black. The video is surprisingly dark and has some sort of nervousness to it. It was directed by Anya Cinnamon Machin – visual artist and cinematographer based in Manchester. Please tell us more about the story behind the video.
John Robb: The song itself was about the erotic power of scent. A celebration of the sensuality of all five senses like in the Kama Sutra where all the subtlties of attraction are celebrated. The idea was to have a ballet dancer as we hate mimed band videos and prefer something a bit off kilter. I think the world is a bit too full of blokes pretending to play guitars in videos and we didn’t want to throw another one out there. Anya is a brilliant young film maker from Manchester and it was a pleasure working with her. We are collaborating on a new video with her now – an animation. We wanted “A Strange Perfume” to be dark and shadowy and also to take an influence from the film Black Swan. That edgy tightrope walking film about the nature of intensity and madness – all themes that we are fascinated by.
Not sure if somebody else observed it before us but there is a strong representation of females on that release: from the Persephone/Demeter figures on the cover, to guests such as dame Shirley Collins, to video director, choir members and ballet dancers in the videos. Its very uplifting in the male dominated industry.
John Robb: Yes! Great that you noticed. We wanted to make a record that broke down the traditional “4 blokes against the world” nature of rock music. There are many bands that are great at that and some of them are my favourites but there’s no point in us joining that eternal queue. We were bored of that macho conservative world and thought of ways to break it up. Using the choir was one. The human voice in harmony is one of the greatest sounds imaginable and to hear that harmony in a modern world that is full of shouting and not very much listening, is quite something. Having that many women around, changes the dynamic of things and the sound and texture of the music. It was great to have guests like 84 year old folk singer Shirley Collins on the album, firstly, because we love her music and, secondly, because we want to celebrate age and wisdom and the beauty of older people. Jordan is on there because she is one of my best mates and an iconic presence who defined punk with an artful brilliance that made her so key. She had inspired us when we were growing up.
Right after the release of the record, you embark on a tour that will take you all over the UK (Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool among other dates), Europe and even to Mexico. What can we expect from you on stage?
John Robb: The music is still physical and will be played in a physical way. There are many epic moments but you can still dance to it. We will bring the choir to as many gigs as we possibly can and try and make something spectacular if we can.
In an recent interview with GigSluts you jokingly said that Membranes can only operate on a grand scale. Here’s our last question: imagine you have no restriction of any kind (financial, timely or artistic) when it comes to the production of your upcoming gigs. What do you go for? Las Vegas residency, grand opening at the Carnegie Hall or Michael Jackson-like world tour?
John Robb: I would love to play epic events like the Carnegie Hall! We did check how much it would cost to hire once and it was a lot! (laughing) We’d love to play at the Griffiths Observatory in LA, The Royal Albert Hall in London or the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics in Moscow. All brilliant locations with the choir and a sense of the spectacular. I love off-the-wall locations. We played the top of Blackpool Tower a couple years ago and we love cinemas where we can use the screen to play a film! I would also love to play caves or in the middle of a forest. Or have this 3D immersive light show that I have been working on. Just need the money to make it all work. Of course, it’s all very ambitious but ambition is the driver in breaking barriers in art, isn’t it?
Listen to Membranes on their official Spotify chanel:
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:
After years of preparation, and months of excitement and awaiting, the DAY OF TRUTH has arrived.
The debut album by The Blinders is finally here and now the entire world will hear the story of Johnny Dream and His Codeine Scene.
You are being watched! Johnny Dream is looking at you from the cover of “Columbia”
This musical hurricane will take you on a ride that will not be easily forgotten. To celebrate, Vanadian Avenue has opened the doors to the Columbia National Library Archives and digged out some impressive data to boast about the fruitful last couple of weeks.
The Blinders team has been working extremely hard and we would like to mention several people who made everything possible.
First of all, of course the musicians themselves: Thomas Haywood, Charlie McGough and Matty Neale. Plus Gavin Monaghan (the producer) and Joseph Wildy Murray (the engineer), who get the honorary mention as it was their experience and knowledge that created this masterpiece. They are truly the Wizards of Wolverhampton.
Second, their record label – Modern Sky UK and managers: Tim Abbott and Paul Fassam.
Third – their PR team with Caffy St Luce at the helm, their booking agent Jamie Wade and Sam Crowston – visualizer, artist, filmmaker, photographer and the man behind all graphic representation of Columbia.
Very, very special thanks to Mr Chris Hawkins and Mr Steve Lamacq – a legendary man who is the same to the new generation of musicians as John Peel was to us.
And then their families who supported them from the start, their friends and fellow bands that came to the shows, newspapers and magazines that wrote about them, journalists and DJ’s who played them, BBC 6 Music, BBC Introducing teams and BBC 1 teams, Amazing Radio, Radio X, XS Radio Manchester and other radio stations who played their music, photographers who tirelessly took millions of pictures and edited them right after the gig so people could enjoy them in the morning, promoters who booked shows and shouted on Twitter and other socials trying to sell tickets and bring crowds in, bars and clubs that hosted the band, fans for sticking with the band through thick and thin and countless of others who were there and we will never know their names.
THANK YOU to all and each one of you – you are wonderful human beings and your kindness means a world to three young lads from Doncaster.
Things would not be possible without your help.
The last three months before the album release have been very busy. You may not realize how much planning, work and extra hours go into social media, making of promotional materials or just simple PR. It is never ending job that keeps everything together.
We called this blog Columbia Library Archives as we tried to collect links, videos, interviews, and all sort of strange data that could show you what has been done and achieved.
Please feel free to scroll through this small collection and enjoy it. If you have missed something before, this is now your chance to discover it all over again.
To make it easier for you, we have divided our findings into groups:
Chart position: Columbia has debuted on the official UK Top 40 on the date of its release, 21st of September 2018. The Party has released an official statement and every woman, man and a child living within the glorious borders of our nation-state is expected to read it and celebrate the success!
The statements reads: “Having caught wind that our debut album ‘Columbia’ has entered the realms of the top 40 midweek album charts, we would just like to thank every single person who has purchased the record in the past few days. You all mean the world to us, and we really couldn’t be doing this without you. To ensure it stays there, buy it, play it, and tell all yer friends about it.”
The statement is accompanied by the special celebratory video:
And the band would like to thank everyone who ever supported them so please continue doing!
Official statistics are as follows:
Mid Week Top 40 – 28th place
Official Top 40 – 54th place
Official Record Store Top 20- 6th place
Indie Album Top 30 – 8th place
Indie Album Breakers – 1st place
Vinyl Sales of the Week – 10th place
Re-entry (Indie Album Breakers Top 20) – 15th place on 14.01.2017
Mid Week Top 40 – 28th place
Indie Album Top 30 – 8th place Indie Album Breakers – 1st place
Official Top 40 – 54th place
Official Record Store Top 20- 6th place
Vinyl Sales of the Week – 10th place
The Album returned to the charts on 14th of January 2019 at number 15th
Columbia spent three weeks on the charts with the peak position at number 1
It reads: “The self-titled debut album from Brighton rockers Black Honey opens at 22, one rung higher than Iridescence, the major label debut from hip-hop group Brockhampton (23). Doncaster group The Blinders are also vying for a Top 40 finish with their debut album Columbia (28)”.
Please check out this section often as it will be updated as new info is available!
BBC6 Music Album of the Day: On 1st of October 2018, Columbia has been named the Album of the Day by BBC6 Music. This is one of the highest recognition that can come for a debuting album and millions of people heard 6 songs from the album being played throughout the day.
Album of the Day according to the Gospel aka BBC6 Radio! Thank you so much guys!!!
Amazing Radio Album of the Week 01.10.2018-07.10.2018:
Columbia as the Album of the Week
Columbia has been chosen as an Album of the Week at Amazing Radio during the period of 1st and 7th of October. That means the album is played each day during the core hours and on Friday, the 5th of October, you will have a chance to listen to the entire album on air without interruption from 2:00 PM sharp. https://amazingradio.com/home/album-of-the-week-the-blinders-columbia
Festivals: The Blinders are in such a great demand that each day, a new gig or concert is being added. Those lucky ones who have the tickets, were able to see them performing on two festivals before they embark on a national tour.
The first festival called Neighbourhood ManchesterFestival took place on the 6th of October and The Blinders were added as a secret guest just 12 hours before the show. The band played at the YES the Pink Room and it was of course a sold out performance.
The second festival named Twisterella Festival in Middlesbrough took place on the 13th of September. The Blinders were one of the headliners along with Estrons, Avalanche Party and Bryde. As with previous performances, tickets were selling fast and it is a good indicator that many shows will sell out on the commencing tour. The Blinders played their 50 minute slot at The Townhouse, starting at 21:00 pm.
Mailing list and newsletters are very useful tools helping to keep in touch with fans and informing them about new things from the band’s HQ. Like any other marketing materials, Columbia Daily (aka the newsletter) is issued in in monochrome and contains pictures, latest news and the most important links.
Playlist: Spotify is one of the most popular streaming services on the Internet allowing billions of users to access the music. The Blinders are added to hundreds of small lists made by fans and industry professionals, but recently they came with a list of their own. And it is a pretty special list as it shows the band’s entire officially released catalog! It also looks wonderfully as you ca see at the attached screens below:
“It is guitar orientated album that is true to the live performance. Songs are fast and yet catchy, with haunting back ground vocals and hypnotizing drums. It is the fresh perspective on what music should be in 2018 – direct, poetic, enigmatic, political, tearing out your soul and different from what is happening around. And that is what Thomas Haywood, Matty Neale and Charlie McGough bring to the table” – Malicia Dabrowicz for Vanadian Avenue https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2018/08/30/indieterria-review-columbia-by-the-blinders/
“How important is this release going to be? Personally, I’ve waited for a band to make an album like this for twenty, maybe thirty years. Political albums can often deter because they are hard work, but they do endure… I’m thinking about albums by Gil Scott Heron, The Clash, Billy Bragg, Public Enemy, Manic Street Preachers, The The or Dead Kennedys. When the political scene is as warped and cruel as it is now, music should comment on it and be influenced by it. The Blinders are making music to mark their protest; there should be more like them” – Alan Neilson for BrumLive Magazine http://www.brumlive.com/blinders-columbia-debut-album-released-21-september-2018/
Signed LP on vinyl – back
“Politically charged trio The Blinders have taken the UK music scene by storm. Not only did their track ‘L’Etat C’est Moi’ get playlisted on BBC 6 Music, but they also landed a headline slot on the BBC Introducing stage at this summer’s Reading & Leeds festivals. Needless to say, these boys are destined for success” – Harriet Willis for The Skinny Music Blog https://www.theskinny.co.uk/music/reviews/albums/the-blinders-columbia
“That shamanic, compelling mood is captured perfectly in ‘Columbia’. Ably produced by Gavin Monaghan (Editors, The Sherlocks, Goldblade), the album sees childhood friends Thomas Haywood, bassist/co-writer Charlie McGough and drummer Matt Neale follow Johnny Dream on his spiritual awakening, from the coruscating swagger of the opening ‘Gotta Get Through’ to the raw, beautiful and ultimately redemptive finale ‘Orbit (Salmon Of Alaska)” – (legendary) R*E*P*E*A*T Fanzine https://repeatfanzine.wordpress.com/2018/09/18/the-blinders-debut-album-columbia-out-this-friday-uk-tour/
“It’s a really impressive debut, and we actually found ourselves feeling suitably shocked after our first listen at how accomplished it sounds. The band make indie rock music that is supercharged and political, with groovy yet raw riffs filling each song on the album. It’s raw but the production never sounds too fuzzy, with it all sounding pretty damn perfect to us” – Jane Howkins for York Calling https://yorkcalling.co.uk/2018/09/01/the-blinders-columbia/
“‘Hate Song’ is all urban noir menace, ‘Free The Slave’ a 28-second leviathanesque anthem, ‘Et Tu’ a heads down bass battering Adam and the Ants from Dante’s Inferno and, joining the quote dots, ‘Brutus’ a full seven minutes of charged rock darkness that variously encompasses Floyd, Enter Shikari, Metallica and Nick Cave. Impressive stuff” – Mike Davies for Roots and Branches Zine http://roots-and-branches.com/brum-beat–the-beat/record-reviews-september.html
“Manchester’s Blinders bring the classic rock vibes with their debut outing, Columbia. Brimming with Arctic Monkeys swagger but imbued with a subtle psychedelic edge and semi-spoken lyrical fire, these young upstarts have set a great precedent for things to come. In the meantime, this should definitely sit well in your collection” – Piccadilly Records (Manchester Independent Record Store) https://www.piccadillyrecords.com/counter/product.php?pid=123568
“Whirring riffs dominating, the war drums integral, drone sounds making you check over your shoulder as you listen. It‘s infectious, with bombastic drum beats, western twangs and jangly yet searing guitar riffs getting you ready to dance, mosh or start a revolution” – Johnny Rogerson for Clash Magazine https://www.clashmusic.com/reviews/the-blinders-columbia
“This increasingly rare concept album, coupled with their constant references to history and literature display an artistic intelligence perhaps uncommonly associated with such a heavy-hitting sound. Alongside the likes of Cabbage and IDLES, they are leading the way in creating a new brand of socially aware Punk. With the release of ‘Columbia’, The Blinders are dragging us into a dystopian future where Punk-Rock rules again” – James Booton for Boot Music Blog http://jamesbooton15.wixsite.com/boot-music/single-post/2018/09/19/The-Blinders—Columbia
“Perhaps once in a generation comes a movement that speaks for its outcasts, those who are undernourished but well read, those who see injustice, but have been fed only on a diet of apathy, and corruption. The blue generation before us were emotionally rescued by bands like the Manic Street Preachers, now, rising from the ashes of Brexitopia, (and the burned out ruins of the indie landfill) we have The Blinders” – Dizzy Spell for The Zine UK https://www.thezineuk.co.uk/single-post/2018/09/19/Stepping-into-Columbia-with-The-Blinders
“So where does ‘Columbia’ place The Blinders? It’s an impressive debut, one that captures the essence of what they’re about and as much of the live performance as is possible within the constraints of a studio recording. It doesn’t compromise their personalities and the real core of what they’re about in search of a hit radio-friendly album, but it’s that which has caught the ear of those that champion them. They have influences but not too overt, their songs observe rather than preach, talk of politics in its social context attacking ideologies and beliefs rather than directly attacking individuals which give it more gravitas. But most important of all they remain true to themselves” – Even the Stars Blog http://www.eventhestars.co.uk/2018/09/the-blinders-columbia.html?m=0
“In the age of distraction, it’s hard to craft an album that grips you for a full 40 minutes and doesn’t have you reaching for the skip button, but ‘Columbia’ is a rare breed, as are The Blinders themselves. This is one to not only cherish, but to lose your voice and mind to in equal measures” – Ric