"No holds barred": The Blinders @ The Cluny

Tom Hardwick reviews...

Tom Hardwick
19th October 2018
Credit: Youtube
Tuesday 16th October saw The Blinders deliver an intense set of political punk-inspired rock to an enthusiastic audience at The Cluny.

‘Gotta Get Through’ was the perfect start to the gig, a combination of pulsating guitar and powerful drums that set the tone for the evening. This was followed by ‘L’Etat C’est Moi’, driven by a menacing bassline from Charlie McGough that complemented the rather dark lyrics concerning our subservience to the state.

‘Brave New World’ is one of their better-known tracks and undoubtedly one of the most impressive on their set list. One of the many songs from the album ‘Columbia’  influenced by the fictions of Orwell and Huxley, it combines an addictive riff and memorable chorus with inherently political lyrics that address the modern day as some sort of twisted dystopian world. Frontman Thomas Haywood takes aim at Trump, TV culture and the Kardashians throughout to an eardrum-bursting musical backdrop, and this effort produced one of the best reactions from the eager crowd.

‘The Hate Song’ is an embodiment of the political angst that is at the very root of The Blinders and their music. It possesses that same raw energy that has made the likes of Cabbage so popular, with angrily recited lyrics such as the refrain of “dance, dance, dance to the hate song” that accompany a superbly chaotic crescendo.

Perhaps the only disappointment of the night was the absence of ‘Orbit’, a song that is reminiscent of spoken word poetry. Haywood critiques ideas of class and inherited wealth with a poetic rhythm, backed by little more than a simple drum beat and a hauntingly ominous piano. Given that the band had a short set it makes sense that they opted to keep their performance upbeat, but this song is arguably one of the best from their debut album and hopefully will be given a live airing in the future.

The Blinders, in a time where debates rage over the politicisation of the music scene, deserve credit for writing songs imbued with social criticism and cultural references. They have the potential to be one of the most significant modern torchbearers for politically tuned music, and if you can appreciate no-holds barred tracks that couple resounding instrumentals with punchy lyrics, tearing the often-absurd society in which we live to shreds, then go and see The Blinders live.

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