- The Sunflower Lounge proved a fantastic venue for the pure mayhem on February 16th
- Support came from The Clause and Paper Buoys
- The Blinders whipped the crowd back and forth between raging mosh pits and hypnotic melodies
February 16th was an undeniably successful night at The Sunflower Lounge with two local support acts rightfully prepping the crowd for the headline act, a punky Mancunian trio going by the name of The Blinders.
Two years since The Clause released ‘Shut Me Out’, the single they describe as “the song that started everything”, they stand relaxed and confident in their hometown. The occasional joke mid-song with the crowd makes the four boys a pleasure to witness open the night. They showcased their new single, ‘Sixteen’, to a varied crowd. With lyrics like “Trying to sneak into a club when I haven’t got no ID”, it’s clear this is a track seriously documenting a young, naïve time in their lives.
And with Birmingham references woven into their lyrics like “In the back of an A2B” – a local taxi firm – The Clause embodied similarities to the likes of local bands, Sugarthief and Ivory Wave. Their set finished with a mutual appreciation in the room for a band not ashamed of blending their roots into their musical creations.
Next up on the agenda were Paper Buoys, who had much more of a punk vibe. It was evident by the first track that these are passionate and focused musicians touching on heavy topics like Brexit and Donald Trump with defiant anger. ‘After Dark’ depicts their feelings towards these political issues with lyrics like: ‘this is not a walk in the park / but we will still be walking here after dark”, whereas ‘Fun’ attempts to leave their problems behind: “I just take it as it comes / cos I’m just having fun”.
Their melancholy, indie creations successfully reminded the audience what real music is as they stepped away from the clichéd, dreamy approaches so many bands feel safe following. But, even with their deadly topical tracks, the Birmingham boys shocked by pulling two special guests from the crowd.
Paper Buoys with The Pagans
The two boys were introduced as friends of the band and go by the name The Pagans. They took the spotlight for two of their own quirky, Jamie T-esque tracks that seriously upped the buzz in the room. Paper Buoys wrapped up their set with this gesture, showcasing the fellow, local band and representing the notion of musicians bringing each other onto the scene.
Currently causing a storm on their first headline tour, it was only right that The Sunflower Lounge was on the venue list for The Blinders.
Frontman of the trio, Thomas Haywood, stepped onto the newly refurbished stage in his trademark black facepaint, before the Doncaster-bred band kicked their set off with infectious, yet-to-be-released track, ‘Gotta Get Through’. Throughout the night, the lyrics tied in well with Paper Buoys’ earlier theme of the bleak outlook of current life: “there is no hope, there is no hope, there is no hope.”
Crowd during The Blinders
Tracks depicting growing up as a young person in modern age oozed a relatable vibe for the moshpits to form over, and it was chaos before the group had even had a chance to officially introduce themselves. The distorted chords of ‘Murder at the Ballet’ gave off hypnotic sounds in between furious beats, confusing the audience into swaying in deep thought before throwing themselves into a pit for the undeniable head-banging moments. It felt obvious The Blinders could easily have owned an even bigger stage but the intimate feel of the venue created a buzz people pay good money to be a part of.
With a sound the boys have described themselves as ‘a spellbinding punkadelic-esque Roman orgy’, it was hard not to chuckle at how genius their musical concoctions really are. Their performance of their most popular single, ‘Brave New World’, blessed the crowd with their take on dystopian literature seeping into the modern world, making it the second time in the night Donald Trump had been the lyrical inspiration.
The Blinders cannot avoid the insane spell they put their fans under. They are impossible to confuse with another. They are addictive.
Photographs by Jonathan Morgan