LIVE: The King Blues @ Academy 3, Manchester (31/01/2017)

Date: January 31st 2017
Venue: Academy 3, Manchester
Support: The Blinders / Louise Distras


With the close of 2016 and turn into 2017, it seems like the topic of politics is hot on everyone’s tongues and social media feeds, especially with the turn of Donald Trump entering office as the US President, and the impending trigger of Article 50 for Brexit in just a few weeks. A pro, however, is a surge in politically driven punk rock coming to the forefront. That’s exactly what’s brought us here tonight.

Local boys The Blinders [4] appear to be a bit out of place, looking like a swirling mix of Misfits, The Strokes, and Pearl Jam. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; Nirvana were the same. However, though their songs have a bit of a rustic and rough on the edges charm, their muddiness is also what weighs them down. A few return trips to the drawing board could do them many favours.

Yorkshire lass Louise Distras [7] and her band of merry punk rock comrades sit somewhere between Anti-Flag, Hole, Rancid, and ‘Coral Fang’-era The Distillers, and her songs of social awareness and political protest sit on both your mind and your heart. ‘Aileen’ and ‘Keep On Fighting’ are just some of the high octane and rambunctious offerings offered up tonight, but nothing quite beats Distras bringing a rallying call-to-arms from the Mancunian crowd in the style of Bruce Channel‘s ‘Hey Baby’, yelling “Hey Donald Trump, I wanna know why you’re such a cunt.” Poetic.

Deciding to come to the stage on his own without his fellow members of The King Blues [8], frontman Jonny “Itch” Fox plummets straight into fan favourite poem about the important of punk, ‘What If Punk Never Happened…’, completely instrument free. The track aptly sets the tone for the remainder of what turns out to be a 24 song long setlist.

When you think about it, it makes sense for The King Blues to have such a long setlist, and have that much material at their disposal to be able to accommodate that. Encompassing cuts from throughout their discography, the bile and spit of ‘Heart Of A Lion’ and ‘Let’s Hang The Landlord’ sit just as comfortably behind the more tender and pop-esque cuts like ‘I Want You’ and ‘My Boulder’ as the ska dance inducing ‘Mr. Music Man’.

Of course, a The King Blues set wouldn’t be a, well… a The King Blues set without a moment to focus on today’s political position, and one that Itch addresses as a precursor to ‘The Streets Are Ours’, a statement that resonates right until the penultimate ‘Off With Their Heads’. It’s that, combined with curtain closer ‘Save The World, Get The Girl’ which reminds us of the importance of punk rock. Let’s daren’t think about what if punk never happened…

Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)