Words: Max Falvey // Pictures: Carl McGrath
“Thank you so much for choosing us over Eurovision, I’m not sure I would’ve done the same!” After releasing their fourth studio album ‘Sometimes We See In The Dark’ on Friday, Mullingar native’s The Blizzards performed an outstanding one-off show in Dublin’s Academy last night, playing over an hour of pure unadulterated power pop. Showcasing their new material and banging out the classics in an 18-song set, Bressie and the gang were nothing but phenomenal for their first show in the capital in almost three years.
There were two support acts to kick off the night, coming in the form of fellow Mullingar residents, Codyy and Aimée. The former performed ‘No Flashlights’, a fantastic lo-fi pop song which he hopes to release as his debut single, saying to the crowd; “come over to me at the bar afterwards and tell me if you like it.”
Following this, Aimée’s stripped back acoustic set was gracious and included a cover of ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’. Overall, the support acts felt sort of disjointed for me. Aimée’s act was very mellow and struggled to engage the crowd, and would’ve been better to start off the evening, and I felt as if Codyy and his band’s energetic performance was wasted on a room that was 20% full. Both acts in their own right, however, were great.
But alas, once The Blizzards took to the stage the die-hard crowd erupted as the band burst into ‘Magic In Misery’, playing it live for the very first time. From their new record, 8 of its 10 songs were played, with the audience responding very well considering most of it had only been released the day before. New songs like ‘Trigger Me’ and ‘Friction Burns’ sounded massive, so raw and punk with that Blizzards live sound being as fiery as ever. Bressie spoke candidly about how themes of lockdown and mental health are very prevalent in the new material, and in the middle of the set he dedicated ‘Great Party’ to ‘that big munchkin in the British Labour Party’, who ‘raved as we weren’t able to bury our loved ones’. It was really powerful stuff that riled up the crowd in rebellion.
The clear highlight of the night for me was ‘Something Grips You, Something Holds You’, which is a new song about the day Kurt Cobain was found dead, and how Bressie dealt with the death of his hero. The soft acoustic piece was very moving on its own, made even better as clips from the ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ music video played in slow motion on the big screen at the back of the stage. The studio version of the song features a spoken word piece by acclaimed Irish writer Michael Harding, who appeared on stage to perform the piece while shrouded in golden light. He continued his monologue about how everyone is unique, beautiful, one of a kind, and shouldn’t be blinded by anxiety. He had a portion of the audience in tears by the end, and it was absolutely stunning to watch.
There would be no other way to follow this other than to just explode into some Blizzard’s classics and that’s exactly what they did. A raucous cover of James’ ‘Sit Down’ led into two viciously beautiful performances of ‘Trust Me I’m A Doctor’ and ‘Fantasy’. It really is a credit to Bressie’s songwriting as to how well the new material works with the old, and how overall it makes for such a fantastic show. After the encore it all came to an end with ‘Superdrug’, which Bressie said was his Mother’s least favourite song he’d ever written, but the crowd obviously loved it. It was just a stunning display from The Blizzards, who left my ears ringing in the best way possible. Thank you for reading.