THE BLINDERS + WHITE ROOM + SWOON – THE HAUNT, BRIGHTON 10.11.18
As Brighton is THE place for decent gigs, it’s no wonder that this event is actually our second gig of the night, with the first being The Beths around the corner in the East Street Tap. Read that review HERE.
We wandered around the corner from the East Street Tap and entered The Haunt literally just as Brighton band Swoon were about to perform. At this stage the venue was very sparse with relatively few punters being in the rightful positions for the first band. However, as time moved on, the place became actually rammed. I heard that they had a mere two tickets left a few minutes prior to opening and so no doubt some lucky couple would have snapped them up and joined the hordes of people.
The Blinders were in Brighton as part of their 22-date tour to promote their impressive debut 12 track album entitled ‘Colombia’, which burst onto the unsuspecting scene on 21st September. I would like to congratulate the lads for the use of a really striking album cover which has singer Thomas Haywood’s face on it, as it totally sums up their style, which to me is a modern day take on Killing Joke. Their singer Jaz Coleman was and still is rather partial to a dab or two of warpaint!
Tonight, The Blinders were indeed here to do battle with their display of ferocious intelligence! There are just three lads aged around 21 in the band, but boy can they pump out some power, says he standing right by the speaker!
The Blinders personnel is the aforementioned Thomas Haywood (vocals, guitar), along with Charlie McGough (bass) and Matt Neale (drums). The setup is very much to my mind, the same situation as The Jam were, with Paul Weller being the main member and Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler following on. So tonight I felt that it was the T. Haywood show as he has such frontman magnetism.
Where I was positioned, the crowd to my right were moshing superbly, with the rare occasional stage diver. This was a far cry from the bands loud rumbling Cabaret Voltaire style 10-minute intro tape which included ‘Pure Imagination’ from the 1971 film ‘Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory’, which built and built anticipation. The punters were being wound up just like a spring ready to boing into action. Enter our stage left and the lads are all wearing black, with Haywood’s face painted in the similar style to the record. Annnnd we’re offff!
The opening bars of the album’s initial track ‘Gotta Get Through’ rung out and yes this is loud rock music, but not in its traditional sense but more like sleaze rock. So if you are a fan of the mighty IDLES or the likes of the Arctic Monkeys, then you need to do yourself a favour and check out The Blinders, as I’m sure they will be going much further in their musical career.
The whole gig had the power emulated in those songs above and exactly like the album. We ended with a Haywood solo on stage singing the redemptive finale ‘Orbit (Salmon Of Alaska)’. We were treated to 11 of the 12 cuts from the album, with only ‘Ballad Of Winston Smith’ being omitted.
The Blinders setlist tonight reads:
‘Gotta Get Through’, ‘L’Etat C’Est Moi’, ‘Brave New World’, ‘Where No Man Comes’, ‘Free The Slave’, ‘I Can’t Breathe Blues’, ‘Swine’, ‘Hate Song’, ‘Rat In A Cage’, ‘Ramona Flowers’, ‘Et Tu’, ‘Brutus’, ‘Orbit (Salmon Of Alaska)’.
As a special treat, here is a link to their four BBC Music Introducing tracks, but be mindful that you have a limited time in order to watch these – Click HERE.
Support this evening came from White Room and Swoon.
Brighton based 4-piece Swoon (Alice, Ferg, Chris and Adam) were up first, with their blend of “socio-political electro-punk” (so it says according to their portfolio). However, I would suggest based on tonight’s set, that they are a pleasant blend of musical styles that incorporate Emo, EBM, rock and even tinges of dance. There are large slabs of Evanescence in there, so add goth and metal to that.
I was having a conversation with their pleasant singer Alice, who it turns out, originally comes from near to Milan and that the band have only been together for around 18 months, but in that time they have already had a few decent support slots, including Pussy Riot, so she informed me. I told Alice that I was surprised that I haven’t seen them live before in Brighton and it turns out that they don’t play here live very often. Well I hope they do now!
One of my mates who was at the gig, was blown away by this local band and especially Alice’s powerful voice. You know it’s one of those where on X-Factor someone starts singing and the judges look astounded and the crowd stands and applauds. However, we certainly don’t want Swoon to go down that musical route, and neither do the Brighton based record label (and promoter) One Inch Badge as we wouldn’t want to take ‘the nut away from that squirrel’, as they have recently released Swoon’s 10” coloured vinyl ‘Fun Police’ EP. Check it out on this page HERE.
Tonight’s ten track Swoon setlist reads:
‘Cage’, ‘Heartstrings’, ‘Teeth’, ‘Wolf’, ‘Space Invader’, I Wanna Disappear’, ‘Whiplash’, ‘Hunting Holiday’, ‘Rabbit Hole’, ‘Fun Police’.
More on Swoon HERE.
Next up were Brighton based 5-piece psych rock/experimental band White Room, who are Jake Smallwood (vocals), Jacob Newman (guitar), Tristan Sava (guitar/keys), Josie McNamara (bass) and Hen Sava (drums).
It seems that based on tonight’s performance that the band have had a change in dress code since I first became aware of them when I did an article about them back in March, which was about their new video for ‘Twisted Celebration’ which was filmed on Brighton seafront, which you can see HERE.
Co-incidentally, White Room last year toured with the aforementioned Paul Weller, who praised the band by purring “they just get better and better, and Twisted Celebration is one of the best things they’ve done so far”
The end of 2017 saw the band release their most genuine and polished work to date, ‘Eight’, an 8-track double EP, however, there is more songs coming over the horizon as judged by tonight’s set at The Haunt.
The singer Jake, seems to have found out where Japan’s David Sylvian and Talking Heads David Byrne purchased their tailored clothes from, as he was looking rather dapper tonight. Something to do with the new track ‘Shoot’ possibly? Although, his voice at times reminded me of Pete Murphy from Bauhaus and at other times Russell Mael from Sparks.
Tonight, the keyboards were more noticeable than on previously released material, and I love synths, so this is a great direction from the band for me. My colleague picked up on elements of The Moonlandingz.
Tonight’s White Room setlist reads:
‘Circles’, ‘Cable-Built Dreamland’, ‘Red White Stripes’, ‘Money Tree’, ‘Cannibal Song’, ‘Shoot’, ‘Bleeding’, ‘The Blue’.
Watch my fave White Room track ‘Stole The IV’ HERE.