The last time Blindside were supposed to play the UK it was in the period post September 11 when the paranoid fashion was for US record companies to pull the plug on their bands’ international tours. The fact that Blindside are Swedish not American seemed to escape some corporate “genius” somewhere.
Still, Blindside are here now and if they have any ire about how long it’s taken for them to grace our shores – or that they have to set up all their gear themselves now they are on an indie label (whatever happened to roadies?) – it is dispelled as soon as a packed Barfly goes primal to the glorious strains of Caught A Glimpse.
Recently, certain press types have described Blindside as “post-hardcore”. If by “post” they mean “beyond”, “superior” or “transcends” then they might just be right, for – as with most great bands – Blindside take a gun to the iniquitous notion of playing a single style of music and mercilessly blow it to pieces.
Pitiful is an emotion-filled rock anthem that could drive Dave Grohl to submission in a Kung-Foo Fight; Heartattack is a Clash of danceable verses and feral choruses; while the switch from the reflective, self-searching My Alibi to the unbridled hardcore onslaught of King Of The Closet shows that it is possible for the sublime to be followed by the more sublime instead of the ridiculous.
So Blindside have the songs but they also have the moves. Frontman Christian Lindskog is a whirling dervish, despite the constraints of a stage not much bigger than a coffee table, and both encourages and partakes in that most endangered but precious of gig activities – stage-diving. His right-hand man Simon Grenehed expertly plays guitar, does backing vocals and organises the set in seemingly on-the-fly fashion as crowd requests come in; while bassist Tomas Näslund and drummer Marcus Dahlström drive the songs along with the rhythmic adroitness that is one of Blindside’s calling cards.
And if it wasn’t enough that Blindside write and perform songs that beg to be shouted along to, then thank God that the lyrics are worth shouting out. “There is no peace outside if there is nothing within” (About A Burning Fire); “Don’t you ever just like me – long for purity?” (Cute Boring Love); and “Take me back to TV-land / Numbness is a safe zone / They never trained me for reality / I’m a reality-TV clone” (Yamkela) – there is something cockle-warming about hearing fans enunciating these sentiments rather than the screw-the-world or (s)he-broke-my-heart claptrap of many bands.
In short, Blindside’s music and words deserve bigger stages than the small but admittedly well-formed one provided by the Barfly tonight. People – sort it out!