Devon rockers The Blend believe they are the catalyst for a well overdue change in the music industry. It’s safe to say the band, who proclaim themselves “the best band in the world” on their Facebook page, aren’t lacking in confidence or self-belief.
Further fueling those claims is the fact that drummer Francis Whitley has been lauded the best drummer since Keith Moon by the former The Who engineers that have been working with The Blend – and they should know.
We went along to see the young four-piece at Proud Camden on Friday night and it soon became evident that the accrued praise, both from themselves and others, is very much justified. That’s coupled with an arrogance and a ‘don’t give a fuck’ mindset a la the likes of Liam Gallagher, which frankly you can’t help but love.
We spoke to lead singer and guitarist Dylan Smith and keyboard player Freddie Smith at the show, and Freddie told us: “It gets people’s attention doesn’t it? To be honest, we probably are the best band in the world because what else is there out there that’s actually any good? Some shit NOWs or the X-Factor and stuff and everyone’s just waiting for that to go, but something new needs to come through and that’s what we’re all about. If the new thing that needs to come through is us then we’re gonna smash it, it’s gonna be a change for music to go back to proper music.”
And by proper music the band mean the days of The Who, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and co, when real bands and real musicians played real instruments and recorded real music. The guys make a really valid point about the current state of the music industry, and have stuck to their roots by recording their music in analog during an age of mass-produced digital drudgery. Indeed, part of the reason I wanted to setup a blog about new bands was because I’m fed up of seeing no-talent ‘singers’ becoming successful because of nonsense ‘talent shows’ on television and mainstream media being full of bland dross music, when truly talented musicians up and down the country are struggling to make a living.
The Blend, who are all between the ages of 16 and 18, tell us they grew up on “proper bands” like The Who and Blondie, which influenced Dylan to want to start playing the guitar. In August they recorded their first album, All Departures, which was produced by former Thin Lizzy, AC/DC and Depeche Mode producer Chris Tsangarides, and then mixed and mastered by Andy MacPherson and Jon Astley who worked with The Who on Live At Leeds and other albums – and they’re the guys who compared Whitley to Keith Moon.
Their music is good old school rock’n’roll, with snarling lyrics, grooving riffs, impressive retro-sounding keyboard and some simply incredible drumming.
They opened Friday night’s gig with their excellent debut single Don’t Waste My Time, followed by another great little tune Cameron’s Motors, both of which are chocked full of great guitars and their really cool, signature retro keyboard sound.
The band further showed off their undoubted musical talent with a series of great rock’n’roll tracks, including the interesting Mr & Mrs Womble and hugely enjoyable City Sirens, the first song Dylan ever wrote, which opened with a cool guitar riff, included a big rock out, funky keyboard slides and guitar solo.
The band signed off in style with a superb extended version of The Flavour, which is split into two parts at the end of their album, then signed off abruptly with Dylan saying “That was our last song, we’ve gotta go now. There’s someone else up next, the Stupid Cunts or something.” The next act on stage was dumbly named the Cupid Stunts, which got its rightful abuse.
The below video clip is testament to the amazing talent of this band, including an epic near two-minute drum solo (from 2:28) during instrumental track All Departures at Friday’s gig:
Dylan told us: “We’re not afraid to say it, it’s fucking good music, and we’re gonna tell everyone that. We’ll do it how we want to do it, if someone doesn’t like it then they can go and find something else – like Elton John with The Strypes. We’re not gonna be messed around by anyone now, the labels can come to us we ain’t gonna go knocking on their doors saying ‘please sign us, please sign us.’ We’re doing what we’re doing and if they like they then they like it, and if they don’t then they can fuck off. It’s simple as that.”
It certainly is as simple as that, but we think you’re going to like what you hear. The Blend are an enjoyable throwback to ‘proper music’ of the 60s and 70s, throwing together cool guitar riffs, raspy vocals, awesome keyboards and unbelievable drumming. They’ll be releasing Stars & Stripes very soon and we’ll keep you posted with more news on this exciting band shortly.
To close on Dylan’s words: “2017 is gonna take off for us I think, so just watch out to all those wannabe bands that are going down the drain because of us, like The Strypes – they ripped us off but they won’t be doing that again and that’s what our new single’s about. So fuck you to the lot of them.”