The Blinders Review – The perfect band to play at Cellar

The Doncaster band bring narcotic swing to Cellar

Lead singer, Thomas Haywood. Photo: Alan Wells (https://www.facebook.com/thealanwells/)

For the past few years the dons of Doncaster, The Blinders, have been lurking under the seedy underbelly of post-Brexit Britain.
After supporting Cabbage last autumn, the thrashing three-piece wanted a piece of the action themselves.
Nearing the end of their debut nationwide tour, I caught them playing to a sweaty Cellar on Saturday where they turned town and gown, upside down.
First up beforehand were WATERFOOLS – a duo whose talent was apparent from the sternum shattering drums and gut-punching guitars in the very first song. ‘Breathe’ sounded like Royal Blood at their most royally bloody, while ‘Talk Like Animals’ equalled four chord perfection.
Barring brief pauses to retune, they rattled through a setlist which treated the audience to death-by-decibels. Despite all the noise, vocals and drums could be clearly heard and appreciated in the mix.
Moreover, the guitar never once struggled and provided surprising variety. At times sounding richer than St John’s on slower numbers, and muddier than Port Meadow on the Nirvana tinged closer ‘Nothing to Say’. The lyrics could be a little more refined, but that’s just the fussiness of an English student. WATERFOOLS have got something.
Next were Brixtons; a group of fluorescent adolescents, who had clearly picked up ‘Teddy Picker’ as soon as they had put down teddy bears. Combining the Arctic Monkeys’ early sound with their later swagger, the fourpiece careered into a setlist of carefully controlled chaos.
Rhythm, lead and vocals played off one another with the shoddy intricacies of The Libertines on tracks like ‘Ten Minute Chase’. But they didn’t just sound like Purple Turtle on a Wednesday; their best track was more Nuggets than noughties, and a slow song sung by the rhythm guitarist closed their set.
Brixtons are talented and although their ‘Still Take You Home’ cover showed their influences a little too much, the suggestion of other styles makes me hopeful for their future.
The Blinders took to the stage as champions with vocalist Thomas Haywood eyes ‘bleeding’ their trademark mascara. The pounding punk of ‘Gotta Get Through’ provided the perfect opener, reminiscent of the Hives’ ‘Come On’, and led into ‘Swine’.
‘I Can’t Breathe Blues’ is their best, responding to the death of Eric Garner, with a riff and lyrics that echo in your ears long after the band has stopped playing.
By now they were in full swing – a terrifying triumvirate of narcotic noise. Plus, in the intimacy of Cellar, with no bouncers or railings, it felt addictive and dangerous.
Tension builds in the lumbering bass of ‘Where no man comes’ and is released in the car-crash cacophony of ‘Brave New World’.
But it isn’t just bleeding ears – Critics describe The Blinders as ‘punkadelic’ and in tracks such as the off-kilter tango ‘Murder at the Ballet’ you can see why.
‘Ramona Flowers’ oozes sex and screeching solos in equal measure, while ‘Et tu Brutus/Berlin Wall’ closes the set, with Thomas bringing himself and microphone into the marauding mosh pit.
Cellar was saved for nights like this; murderous music, an anchovy packed audience, and more broken glass than your average Jewish wedding. Moreover, as the feedback faded away, we realised one thing; the venue was now in the hands of the ever peaking, fucking, Blinders!