Indieteria presents The Columbia Exhibition

Dear Readers,

This is the end, sang Jim Morrison, on one of the most popular songs by The Doors and it does look like an end of an era. Not a definitive end of course, nobody is calling it quits and the band is not breaking up, yet we cannot help but feel a certain sense of  profound loss.

In August, The Blinders announced two acoustic shows to celebrate the first anniversary of the release of “Columbia” – their critically acclaimed debut album. The shows were accompanied by a double vinyl live album recorded during their tour in April. “Live At The Ritz” was the band’s gift to the loyal fans and the last stop on their journey before the dystopian gates of Columbia were to be shut tight for the last time.

Originally, the concerts were supposed to take place on 21st of September but due to Thomas Haywood’s illness, they were moved to 2nd of November. Both events of course sold out straight away and fans had to wait patiently for the big day to arrive. A minor inconvenience but the wait was definitely worth it in the end. As they say, good things happen to those who are counting down the days on their calendars.

We arrived at 33 Oldham Street exactly at 13:00 fearing that we have missed some of the show, but luckily the doors opened half an hour  later. We had the time to have something to eat, prepare and charge our recording equipment (aka the faithful mobile phones) and take a small Polaroid session for future PR purposes. Believe us, in the busy lives of the A&R’s, half an hour means forever! At 13:30 sharp, we were allowed into the main performance room and the Q&A session commenced.

David Nolan, an accomplished music journalist and published author started the show by giving the audience his business cards, asking them to text him the questions for the band. The best ones were chosen and the trio was asked to answer them which proved to be a really great move. While asking the question, David looked for the author among the public and it helped the session to have a more intimate feel. The band also seemed pleased that they could interact with the audience. This led to several funny moments where we found out about cringe worthy situations from the early gigs or allowed Matty or Charlie to express their opinions on certain topics such as politics or being in a popular rock group. David also made everybody laugh when he realized there were no chairs for the band to sit on and the group had to stand up (“welcome to the 1970’s!”), except for Matty who sat comfortably on this drum set much to the playful irritation of Charlie and Thomas. What we liked about Mr Nolan the most was the fact that he didn’t sugar coated anything and was not afraid to speak his mind (“your Twitter feed is boring”). He held the lads up to the task and wouldn’t let them skip answering difficult questions, if they weren’t cooperating, he dragged the answers out them! He was a fair and square host, not hired to sing praises but to present the boys as they truly are. And brownie points to the band themselves as they truthfully answered everything. Not everyone would allow to be grilled like this, majority of the bands would probably used this session as a PR stunt, but the Blinders were very honest and real.

Thomas as the front man, spoke the most, explaining the recording process of the first album, telling stories from the road and histories hidden behind his favourite pictures taken by Sam Crowston. The Q&A session lasted for over an hour and afterwards, the band posed for pictures and signed posters and records.

The performance came next and it was a revelation to those who haven’t seen the band in an acoustic setting before. We have seen The Blinders playing at the Night at the Museum in Blackburn so we were prepare for what was coming but it was still a great experience. Thomas’s keyboard skills improved greatly since the summer and he was now comfortably jamming between songs. The Blinders played 9 songs in total, two brand new ones (“I Want Gold” and “Something Wicked This Way Comes”), one from Thomas’ solo repertoire (“Circle Song”) and the rest was composed from the songs  included on “Columbia”.

Matinee event
Date: 2nd of November
Time: 13:30-16:00 pm
Place: 33 Oldham Street
Host (Q&A): David Nolan

Setlist:

L’Etat C’Est Moi
Ballad Of Winston Smith
Where No Man Comes
I Want Gold
ICB Blues
Orbit (Salmon Of Alaska)
Something Wicked This Way Comes
Circle Song
Brave New World

Pictures:

 

Videos:

Q&A Session: 

 

Evening event:

We sadly could only attend the afternoon performance, but the main evening event wasn’t much different from the matinee one. The set list was a bit different (“Ramona Flowers” and “Rat In A Cage” were added) but the Q&A session was again conducted by David Nolan. If you’d like to listen to the entire performance, you are in luck as it was recorded and it is available on Youtube. All the links are attached below.

Date: 2nd of November
Time: 19:00-22:00 pm
Place: 33 Oldham Street
Host (Q&A): David Nolan

Setlist:
ICB Blues
Something Wicked This Way Comes
Brave New World
Orbit (Salmon Of Alaska)
Brave New World
Rat In A Cage
Ramona Flowers
Circle Song
I Want Gold

Videos:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhN1qup-etI (full show and Q&A)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxpMoToJZWE (Q&A session)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEX_2QhA0Nc (Orbit)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cULZZQfT2g (ICB Blues, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Brave New World)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVA_s1zR7UM (Brave New World)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPwk2Bo7mE8 (Rat In A Cage)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsOotB1ucyY (Ramona Flowers)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwDLpP8NnOc (Circle Song)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCnaj8zffMw (Something Wicked This Way Comes)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Pr9-OUPr6Y (I Want Gold)

 

THE EXHIBITION

After the performance, the guests were free to roam and admire the exhibition that was prepared especially for the ocassion. It was divided into two parts: the photography exhibition taken by Sam Crowston (displayed on the walls), and the costumes, artwork and everything else linked to the band was also presented on the two upper floors of the building.

The Columbia Photo Exhibition was spread on all floors of the 33 Oldham Street. The walls were decorated with over 60 framed pictures – from the main restaurant area on the ground floor, the first floor where the performance and the Q&A session took place, to the top floor sitting area that has been turned into the main exhibition room. Each photograph was given a short description underneath and each floor had their own small story board which explained different periods in the band’s history and shed a bit of a light at the displayed pictures.

The Columbia Era – all pictures by Sam Crowston
https://samcrowstonimaging.com/
https://www.instagram.com/sam_crowston_
https://twitter.com/sam_crowston_
https://www.facebook.com/sam.crowston

You can purchase the prints at:
https://theblindersofficial.com/theexhibition

Time: 2nd – 30th November 2019
Place: 33 Oldham Street, Manchester
Entry: Free

 

The second part of the exhibition was a bit smaller but also impressive. We could see the famed blue boilersuit costumes and pig masks that appeared in the “Swine” video, old promotional posters (All Seeying Eye, You Are Being Observed, Know Your Place, We Are In This Together) created for the first stage of Columbia promo tour and used in the “L’Etat C’Est Moi”short film. There was a short propaganda video displayed on the wall, covers of all four singles released from the debut album (“Gotta Get Through”, “Brave New World”, “Rat In A Cage” and “L’Etat C’Est Moi”) and artworks made out of broken vinyl created by West Midlands based artist, Kirk Whitehouse.

An old type writer took the central stage with the bands lyrics scattered around it and some of the lyrics sheet were also displayed in different parts of the room. To find them all, you had to criss-cross the exhibition several times but it was worth doing.

Outside, two red Columbia flags were battered by the winter winds and rain…

The acoustic shows and the live record (“Live at the Ritz”) closed the first chapter in the band’s history. The second album is now recorded, mixed and will be released sometime next year.

Nobody knows what the future holds for the Doncaster trio. Some shows are already booked for 2020 and the band has no intention for slowing down so we can expect bigger and better things to happen. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Please stick with the band to see what’s going to happen next. The ride is going to be  exciting  and it’s worth looking forward to it.

See you soon,
Rita and Malicia

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