The Blinders
Portland Arms, Cambridge 6.11.18

A pretty packed Portland Arms on a damp Tuesday night, and the attendance was full throughout from the support bands to the headliners. The Blinders…a three-piece bass, drums, guitar/vocals line up with an additional set of drums and a breathy harmonica.

First impressions are important, and the build up to the performance was impressive in its ability to create an atmosphere. The lights, music and spoken word almost gave it a “Wartime” feel, something perhaps more in our minds with the forthcoming Remembrance Day. As the intro progressed, and it was longer than many would dare, it seemed to come more up to date with a poem with more class laden social themes. (It wasn’t John Cooper Clarke, but cross him with maybe Atilla The Stockbroker … and you get the gist).

Fuck the Tories : Pic Lydia Maycock

So… to the band… No it’s not Gene Simmons on vocals and guitar, but with the passion, intensity and anger, the war painted Jaz Coleman came in to my mind. They kicked off with Gotta get Through, the drums pounding, and a great very distinctive guitar sound supplied by Tom Haywood.

Perhaps I’m reading too much into the music, but I could throw in a few names into the mixing bowl that came to my head, Jon Spencer, The Cramps (not for the rockabilly but for the guitar effects), perhaps some Killing Joke, Bad Seeds, and I swear to God during the song with two sets of drums, it was the Glitter Band in the room.


Credit to them for refining whatever their influences into a sound very much their own. The bass of Charlie McGough throbs and throbs and with Matt Neale keeping it all locked down. They aren’t afraid to mess with time changes in some songs which gives some of the songs an added quirkiness. Tom ditches his guitar on occasion to get his message across but this does not take away any of the energy from the music pulsating from the rhythm section. On one song I thought Jim Morrison had momentarily made a guest vocal appearance. Hate Song had a wink and a nod to Joy Division’s Transmission (Dance Dance Dance)…. and why not? Brave New World and L’etat C’est Moi also stood out for me and show there is much depth to their songs.

It’s in my nature to do a little research, and from other reviewers and information, perhaps I’m not so wide of the mark about them (I perhaps missed the mighty Fall influences, I found them “heavier”) but I’m sure lyrically there are Mark E’isms locked away. From their first single/video that I saw earlier in the year, there has definitely been a visual makeover, and that just helps to give them a more unified and memorable image to back up a very creative and well executed set of songs.

Can’t help referencing a certain TV Series…….Don’t F*** with the Blinders……..

Tim S