The Blinders and friends finish off Jimmy’s opening weekend with aplomb, Getintothis’ Steven Doherty and Mark Holt are left dripping.
It all started with that first incendiary District gig at last year’s Sound City, the highlight of the whole weekend for many.
We were there for another blistering night around the time of the release of their debut album Columbia at a melting Arts Club.
And the last time we caught up with them they were tearing the roof off at their massive adopted hometown Ritz gig earlier in the year.
It’s fair to say it’s been a joy to have followed the rise and rise of The Blinders and now back where they began for one night only.
They’re making this slight return to a smaller room as a favour for Jimmy’s giving them gigs in Manchester back in their earlier days.
It’s not just them though. This special finale to the venue’s massive musically hedonistic weekend opening sees them alongside some other of Jimmy’s Manchester alumni.
A risky move, some may say, given the rivalry between these two cities musical histories, but a sell-out it was, and for a very good reason.
Word filtered through that the running order was selected through how many social media likes they had, and this made for strange contradictions throughout the afternoon.
First up were the aptly named Bones Shake, a politically angry set of songs that sets the tone for the day, even in this early slot it gets the (at this point) sparse crowd going.
Due to an unfortunate lack of a drummer, Ambiere became acoustic, helping to calm down the ever increasing heat. Amber Lane-McIvor and Jake Blythe produced an early highlight, an exceptional, beautiful set, reminiscent of The xx.
Indie-punk was back on the menu in the shape of Scuttlers. A hard edged set that brought the (now busier) house down.
Ryan Jarvis had the essence of the Manchester sound around him, a 1989/90 Inspiral Carpets/Charlatans vibe. As fantastic as he was, it felt that he should have been on after earlier, due to the jarring nature of the quiet/loud dynamic of the bill so far.
The afternoon sets were fantastic, just, to quote Eric Morecambe, “not necessarily in the right order”.
So, onto the evening. The Dantevilles come laden with meaty guitar hooks.
There’s a great bit in the middle of their set, where they finished a song and the lights went off right on the last drum beat, it was like an arena gig.
We’re still not sure if meant to happen or not.
Unfortunately following this a major guitar malfunction happened, however the band dealt with in great way, while a band member went to source a new guitar, the remaining members turned this into an impromptu jam, and when once he found himself back on stage, he went straight into joining in with the noise.
Absolute professionals. Lovely tunes which started to turn the venue towards being an absolute sweat box. More of this later.
Déjà Vega opened with recent the relentless throb of a recent single that is Mr Powder, and the pace didn’t drop for the whole of their 30 minutes.
The immense monster of a single that is Eyes Of Steel was the absolute highlight. A noise that should be far more popular, we’ll even forgive them the cowbell solo.
if your named after a Greek form of tragi-comedy, and you’ve got a song entitled Bang Average, you’d best be any good or you’re making it far too easy for a reviewer.
Sadly tonight Satyr Play made that track self-titled.
The crowd seems somewhat subdued after the onslaught that has come before, and this feels very much like it’s a breather between two storming sets.
They seemed to have very little to say, and what they said was somewhat clichéd.
Tonight was all about The Blinders.
Their now familiar long intro came and went and the band launched into their customary opening double stomach punch of Gotta Get Through and L’Etat C’est Moi. So far, so normal.
The mobile phones were out in force for each of the new tracks that were smattered across the set, people wanting to keep these for posterity, to learn the words for future gigs.
And then things started to change.
Getintothis had positioned themselves on the front row on the left hand side (always the best place to watch any gig) but had started to feel uncomfortable looking towards the centre of the crowd.
There was constant surges, song after song, and our thoughts each time it happened was “well, they’re not getting up from that”.
Luckily the self-policing crowd were looking after each other, even as the temperature rose.
And it rose. And rose.
It’s always a sign of a great gig when the band are as sweaty as the crowd, it shows they’re into it.
This felt a bit different though, we’d already noticed an absence of in-between chat, but during what should be a glorious Rat In A Cage, we can clearly see vocalist Thomas Haywood in real distress.
He motions that he cannot carry on with the gig, the heat too much for him.
Crew members douse him in water, like a London Marathon runner, and he’s back in the room, but it’s uncomfortable to watch.
It’s a thin line between rock’n’roll sweaty gigs and a genuinely ill looking singer, and this taints the rest of the evening.
As good as the following Brave New World is, we can now see the other members having to take on water, and now a gig review somehow feels like reporting from the Vietnam War rather than a musical night out.
Whether it’s just the remnants of an all day gig in a sweaty basement, or something that should be looked at from a venue’s point of view in the long term, this has not been the ideal end to the evening that it should have been.
The band, as exhilarating as they have always been on each occasion that we have seen them, have not the breath for a simple goodbye, never mind an encore, and the crowd shuffle away, disappointed, maybe not aware of the full facts.
One thing we would hate is to come across like fuddy-duddys, hopefully The Blinders come out tomorrow and say it’s the greatest gig they’ve ever done and that they loved it, in which case this review will seem a bit daft.
However, surely gigs are to be enjoyed not endured.
UPDATE: Staff at Jimmy’s have issued the following statement addressing the heat in the basement:
Images by Getintothis’ Mark Holt.