NEWS

Review: The Blinders – 16/10/18 – The Cluny, Newcastle

22/10/2018

The dystopian nightmare depicted in ‘Columbia’ by The Blinders is given added visual elements tonight. Red and blue lights alternate persistently like a police car that’s tailing you…

Tom Haywood’s now-iconic face paint, black rings circling his eyes, is now part and parcel of a Blinders’ show. However, there’s something different in the air at The Cluny.

In the past, The Blinders have always been striving to convert the handful of newcomers in attendance. Haywood preaches his messages, his manifesto, and converts them to cult-like fans with ease. Tonight, wasn’t like that.

Everyone in the room has now heard Haywood and Co.’s thoughts through their superb debut, ‘Columbia.’ Tonight was more like a victory lap, everybody there celebrating what the trio have achieved in the last two years.

The setting of The Cluny suits them. The narrow hallway is slightly cramped, with open brick walls create an eerie mood that The Blinders only build on.

Haywood’s raspy caw and demonic stare are both haunting. Meanwhile bassist Charlie McGough constantly aims his guitar like a gun. Acting as the officer in charge, he monitors the young moshers down the front with an equally intense gaze.

The piercing harmonica of ‘Rat In Cage,’ adds another layer of creepiness to the evening, but this was quickly contrasted by the euphoria of the chorus. Haywood belts out “come together we need each other” as friends and strangers lift each other onto shoulders, blocking the view for the older punks at the back.

Older cuts like ‘Swine’ and ‘Ramona Flowers’ were nice touches. The two classics somewhat forgotten over the last two weeks with all the talk about ‘Columbia.’ These moments of nostalgia, albeit well received by the crowd, left me feeling rather underwhelmed.

A superb set no doubt. However, the decision to leave out the two new slower numbers was disappointing. Particularly the acoustic ‘Ballad of Winston Smith’, which would have provided a welcomed respite from their raucous rock.

Elsewhere, the public service announcement-esque ‘Free The Slave’, a personal favourite, felt slightly rushed. The trio seemingly eager to move on to the more familiar ‘I Can’t Breathe Blues’, sounding more polished nowadays since its 2016 release.

And that summarises the whole set, very polished, almost too polished at times. The show seeming over-planned and over rehearsed. This may seem a harsh criticism, it probably is, but this band have so much promise and potential that it’s fair to expect the best from them.

In spite of the handful of disappointments, no show that ends with the all-conquering one-two of ‘Et Tu’ and ‘Brutus’ can be all that bad. Despite the odd let down, The Blinders sure put on a good show.  Ending with Haywood screeching ‘Down With Big Brother’ multiple times, he exited the stage to an all-mighty din.

PHOTOS: Kris moralee

WORDS: JOHNNY ROGERSON

Don’t forget there are more pictures of The Blinders in our Gig Gallery. Go and see for yourself right now… 

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