Sunday, February 11, 2018

Live Review :: The Blinders + The Sulks :: Sticky Mike's Frog Bar, Brighton - Feb 9 2018


The Blinders + The Sulks

Sticky Mike's Frog Bar, Brighton

February 9 2018

Words/Pictures: Steve Willcox

It was a year, almost to the day, that The Blinders last caused such fervour in Brighton. And tonight they return to cap what has been a meteoric rise for the Manchester-via-Doncaster trio.

Sticky Mike's is living up to its name, and the venue is already pretty full with about 100-strong revellers watching the support band The Sulks. This quartet from Swindon have brought their distinct sound to Brighton, are slightly unusual in that they have two vocalists: James Cumner who opts for the more heavy edged numbers, and Rhys Berry, who takes on the softer, harmonies side; it works and the crowd enjoy their set with ‘The Cure’ being this reviewer’s favourite, with its ‘Girls On Film’ Duran Duran drumbeats style, reverbed guitar riffs and strong duo focus.

Headliners The Blinders need no introduction to this almost full capacity crowd, mixing the young and old alike all under the same roof. Starting the set with Matt Neale’s drumbeats and Charlie McGough’s pumping bass chords, we have the beginnings of the massive ‘Gotta Get Through’. Frontman Thomas Haywood attaches his guitar to the amp and with the reverberation on 11, he takes to the mic with an air of authority and launches into his brand of vocal mayhem. His foot is already on the barriers, with his eyes focussed into the crowd (which includes local Brighton band Of Empires, watching the proceedings and showing support) who in turn then surge forward to the front of stage. The scene is set for the rest of the night.

‘I Can’t Breathe Blues’ with Matt’s hard beats and Charlie’s rhythmic bass pumps this tune along with Thomas’s guitar riffs and gruff vocal, cuts through the crowd with electric-like power. Their last single, ‘Brave New World’, is the turning point for the night; a moment when the audience and band connect at a deeper level, with its eclectic sound and fast-paced action. The excellent ‘Ramona Flowers’ has all the ingredients of this band from its attacking lyrics to its underplayed score and is received ecstatically by their fans.

‘Et Tu', 'Brutus’ segue into the last of the 12-song set for the evening, ‘Berlin Wall’, and its slow build up, rising to its rebel raising chorus, gets the crowd chanting back at them and then all hell breaks loose with Thomas’s guitar riffs that brings out the activist in all of us. Incendiary, vital. This is one band no one can get enough of.

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