The Blinders live in Manchester: a romantic & rabid farewell

Doncaster band The Blinders

It’s something of an end of an era in Manchester this evening.

Doncaster rockers The Blinders have called an untimely “indefinite hiatus” (and we all know what that means) on their tenure as a band. The European dates have been canned, and thus tonight’s Manchester show is the last one in the diary. 

From the outset, the electric energy in New Century Hall is palpable: there is a crackle and a buzz to the crowd that feels rare, and people seem all too aware of the significance of the evening. The Blinders take to the stage bang on the agreed time (9:20pm and not a second later), with ‘Ceremony’ and ‘Et Tu’ sounding cacophonous in the early stages of the farewell. From the first chord of the first number, the crowd inside New Century are on another level: there are pits opening left and right, with euphoric punters launching themselves at one another with abandon. 

The ferocity and intensity of the crowd, who are bathed in red, is immense, and the band feed directly off of the raucous, sweaty energy. New Century Hall is absolutely bouncing and the sprung floor beneath is waving from stage to the bar: The Blinders are exceptionally loud this evening, relishing in the unruly scenes unfolding before them.

The utter chaos of this particular pit is worth a mention, if just for the sheer intensity of the thing: every break in a track inspires a gigantic circle where Blinders fans collide with glee. People are hitting the deck left and right, but the love that is present in a collective like this shines through and as soon as someone goes over, three people are there to pick them back up before hurling one another back into the swirling sea of mullets and limbs. 

The room is hot too. And the only sweet relief from the furnace heat is the spattering of beer landing on cheeks when a pint gets sent ten feet into the air. The Blinders’ hardcore fans seem utterly torn, wailing with delight between cuts but anguishing in the demise of their Doncaster champions: and, as the cuts get intense, the crowd find solace in one other. Embracing and singing together, hoisting eachother upon shoulders, screaming lyrics into one another’s faces like the world was ending. Except that the world is ending tonight, for some amongst the masses. 

The slow numbers inspire tears to prickle on cheeks, and as the pits continued to open up, people are slowdancing; twirling around and staring, pink cheeked and eyes wet, into the lights above. As special as The Blinders are this evening, their crowd inspire something quite amazing.

Something Wicked This Way Comes’ is a massive moment and, as we enter the final third of the evening, The Blinders ramp things up a notch. They are playing with acute frustration, leaving every ounce of themselves on the Mancunion stage: as though The Blinders are unshackled from themselves, free from the grandfathered tensions and baggage that come with existing in a touring band. They play with reckless abandon, and bring the house to the floor. 

The evening is a triumph, and euphoric in the sparsity that nights like this bring. It’s not often that circumstances align like this, and it feels like every soul in the building was abundantly aware of that. ‘Ramona Flowers’ and ‘Black Glass’ are a footnote on The Blinders live show, and Thomas Haywood sends his guitar spiralling into the air as the group walk off amidst a wall of feedback. Let’s hope this show is a comma, and not a full stop.

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