Author Topic: Gig Review: Inhaler (28 March, Liverpool)  (Read 1393 times)

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Offline 73October

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Gig Review: Inhaler (28 March, Liverpool)
« on: March 29, 2019, 03:13:54 PM »
Inhaler - Thursday 28th March 2019, Studio 2, Parr St, Liverpool. Touts Ireland and UK tour
Lineup: Touts, Inhaler, Monks.
Attendance: approx. 170

So, on a chilly March evening I headed out into Liverpool full of hope and anticipation, expectation and, well excitement over things Hewson.  I found myself at the small Studio 2 venue converted from the old Parr Street recording studios, once owned by Genesis.  A mixed crowd were present.  Some had come to see the first support, local band Monks, who have an avid following; others (maybe largely students - especially from Derry?) to see young up and coming Derry punk rockers Touts on their Ireland/UK spring tour.  Then there were those of us, who seemingly many of which were U2 fans, with a insatiable curiosity with Inhaler.  There were some uber-U2 fans from Wales and, as I understand, a lady from Montana who was staying over in Liverpool and heard Inhaler were in town.

Inhaler took the stage about 8.30pm to a crowd already warmed by the earlier band.  Things kicked off with The Sound, a swirling atmospheric beautiful cacophony of guitar and synth followed by a pounding rhythm section.  Already, vocalist Elijah Hewson was scanning the crowd, looking for faces and a reaction.  Out of the sound came vocals - a desperate, haunting cry that sounded somewhere between Ian McCulloch and, er, Bono. Inhaler are officially a four-piece with an additional stage keys player.  Their Bio states that Elijah, bassist Robert Keating and drummer Ryan McMahon formed Inhaler at school in 2013 (they left school last year) and were joined by lead guitarist Josh Jenkinson a couple of years later.  So this group of three original Dublin school friends together since they were 14 or so (oh, where have I heard scenario this before?!) drive the rhythm forward.  Elijah is a very able rhythm guitarist (during the last minute sound checks, I noted his guitar to be loud in the mix), his timing complimenting Robert's bass, which at times during the set took on quite a Clayton-esque style!  Drummer Ryan was beating the skins off the kit, loaned by main act Touts.  Inhaler indeed were starting to look tight and composed together as a group.

The 30 minute set led into My Honest Face and End Like This, two songs about teenage relationships.  My Honest Face has a soaring lead guitar and synth riff before Elijah's vocals took it off into another place - the desperation in his voice is so reminiscent of another more well known Hewson vocal from a similar life-time.  There's a great "1,2,3,4,5" hook in this song followed by Elijah's desperate yelps.  Dublin in Ecstasy consisted of yet more yelps and whoa-ohs.  Note: the song is called Dublin in Ecstasy and not ON Ecstasy.
Elijah is still scanning the crowd for the reaction. 
By this stage in the set, Inhaler are looking tight and composed - all the members are playing together as one and not outcompeting.  A lengthy instrumental section show this all so clearly.  The audience are now relaxed and appreciative.  I'm now casting my mind back to a time where I was standing in Twickenham stadium a couple of years ago, watching another Dublin band creating their own wall of sound in unison as they gave us "The Little Things The Give You Away" for one of the first times.  Like the better known Dublin high school band, Inhaler are also threading the individual elements of guitar, bass, drums and synths though this wall of sound.
On to Another Like You and against a pounding rock and roll beat, Elijah cries in desperation for "Another Like You".  At this point, it's clear to me that the band are treating this performance as if their lives depend on it.  I can see the collective sense of giving it everything they have.  And Elijah, up front, with all his charisma and charm is showing what it is to be in a household where bearing your voice, heart and soul on stage is not an optional extra.
We are then treated to the synth crescendo that marks the start of the catchy "Ice Cream Sunday" with it's catchy rhythm guitar hook, lolloping drum beat and memorable lines "I'm gonna get it, I'm gonna get it" "as easy as an ice cream Sunday" had the crowd nodding their heads along in appreciation and tapping their feet in time to the steady beat.
Inhaler saved their new single until the end - "It Won't Always Be Like This", which in an earlier incarnation was 540 (see 540 rehearsals on You Tube). This song sounds like Echo and The Bunnymen, U2 and a little Franz Ferdinand.  But original.  Elijah's rhythm drives it forward with Josh's guitar and the additional synth giving things extra fizz.  Add Robert's solid bass hook and Ryan's driving beat and there are the elements to some great layering.  Elijah, again sings his heart out as if every soul in the building and half the street mattered every bit. 
And then it was all over.  7 songs and 30 minutes later, I had witnessed something that I had anticipated for over a year.  And I was not disappointed.  Tight, upbeat, melodic, open and charismatic - Inhaler blazed their way through their set with an honesty and intensity that is the hallmark of that other group of Dublin lads from school exhibit show after show.

I caught up with Elijah after the show and he was down to earth and talkative, intent and listened.  The best was yet to come: I asked him what Another Like You meant, and he came up with the most Hewson of answers - that he didn't really know and it is a work in progress.

So as I headed out into the cold Liverpudlian air, after watching Touts, I knew I'd made up that from childhood I would never have been old enough to see a fledgling band of Dublin school friends play their first shows in Liverpool - including one on my Birthday - and that there is indeed a light and it has not gone out.

Setlist: The Sound, My Honest Face, End Like This, Dublin in Ecstasy, Another Like You, Ice Cream Sunday, It Won't Always Be Like This.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2019, 04:14:43 AM by 73October »



Offline laoghaire

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Re: Gig Review: Inhaler (28 March, Liverpool)
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2019, 08:50:18 PM »
Top review, well done.

They have a frustrating future ahead trying to get out from under a long shadow.

Could happen, though - sometimes it does. Best of luck to them.

Offline 73October

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Re: Gig Review: Inhaler (28 March, Liverpool)
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2019, 11:27:30 AM »
Yes, I hope they do make it.  |They are actually better live in the flesh (so to speak) than via You Tube.  And they all do play consciously.
There are so many comparisons, even if you try not to make them.  Eli has also styled himself on Ian McCulloch.
They are their own band and I hope they make it.  But to have such an influence close to the band will draw the inevitable conclusions.

Offline shineinthesummernight

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Re: Gig Review: Inhaler (28 March, Liverpool)
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2019, 06:29:18 PM »
Good review.  Thanks!

Offline Argo

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Re: Gig Review: Inhaler (28 March, Liverpool)
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2019, 08:15:20 AM »
Thanks for that. Very well done. I heard I Want You last year which didn't do a lot for me but Honest Face and It Wont Always Be Like This are awesome. Really genuinely awesome. Watching some others stuff on Youtube. Cant wait to hear proper recordings of Dublin In Ecstasy among others. Get an album out asap guys.

They have a great sound. Bit heavier than U2 which really suits me but with more keyboards. Works really well.

Offline Tortuga

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Re: Gig Review: Inhaler (28 March, Liverpool)
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2019, 08:23:41 PM »
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Inhaler - Thursday 28th March 2019, Studio 2, Parr St, Liverpool. Touts Ireland and UK tour
Lineup: Touts, Inhaler, Monks.
Attendance: approx. 170

So, on a chilly March evening I headed out into Liverpool full of hope and anticipation, expectation and, well excitement over things Hewson.  I found myself at the small Studio 2 venue converted from the old Parr Street recording studios, once owned by Genesis.  A mixed crowd were present.  Some had come to see the first support, local band Monks, who have an avid following; others (maybe largely students - especially from Derry?) to see young up and coming Derry punk rockers Touts on their Ireland/UK spring tour.  Then there were those of us, who seemingly many of which were U2 fans, with a insatiable curiosity with Inhaler.  There were some uber-U2 fans from Wales and, as I understand, a lady from Montana who was staying over in Liverpool and heard Inhaler were in town.

Inhaler took the stage about 8.30pm to a crowd already warmed by the earlier band.  Things kicked off with The Sound, a swirling atmospheric beautiful cacophony of guitar and synth followed by a pounding rhythm section.  Already, vocalist Elijah Hewson was scanning the crowd, looking for faces and a reaction.  Out of the sound came vocals - a desperate, haunting cry that sounded somewhere between Ian McCulloch and, er, Bono. Inhaler are officially a four-piece with an additional stage keys player.  Their Bio states that Elijah, bassist Robert Keating and drummer Ryan McMahon formed Inhaler at school in 2013 (they left school last year) and were joined by lead guitarist Josh Jenkinson a couple of years later.  So this group of three original Dublin school friends together since they were 14 or so (oh, where have I heard scenario this before?!) drive the rhythm forward.  Elijah is a very able rhythm guitarist (during the last minute sound checks, I noted his guitar to be loud in the mix), his timing complimenting Robert's bass, which at times during the set took on quite a Clayton-esque style!  Drummer Ryan was beating the skins off the kit, loaned by main act Touts.  Inhaler indeed were starting to look tight and composed together as a group.

The 30 minute set led into My Honest Face and End Like This, two songs about teenage relationships.  My Honest Face has a soaring lead guitar and synth riff before Elijah's vocals took it off into another place - the desperation in his voice is so reminiscent of another more well known Hewson vocal from a similar life-time.  There's a great "1,2,3,4,5" hook in this song followed by Elijah's desperate yelps.  Dublin in Ecstasy consisted of yet more yelps and whoa-ohs.  Note: the song is called Dublin in Ecstasy and not ON Ecstasy.
Elijah is still scanning the crowd for the reaction. 
By this stage in the set, Inhaler are looking tight and composed - all the members are playing together as one and not outcompeting.  A lengthy instrumental section show this all so clearly.  The audience are now relaxed and appreciative.  I'm now casting my mind back to a time where I was standing in Twickenham stadium a couple of years ago, watching another Dublin band creating their own wall of sound in unison as they gave us "The Little Things The Give You Away" for one of the first times.  Like the better known Dublin high school band, Inhaler are also threading the individual elements of guitar, bass, drums and synths though this wall of sound.
On to Another Like You and against a pounding rock and roll beat, Elijah cries in desperation for "Another Like You".  At this point, it's clear to me that the band are treating this performance as if their lives depend on it.  I can see the collective sense of giving it everything they have.  And Elijah, up front, with all his charisma and charm is showing what it is to be in a household where bearing your voice, heart and soul on stage is not an optional extra.
We are then treated to the synth crescendo that marks the start of the catchy "Ice Cream Sunday" with it's catchy rhythm guitar hook, lolloping drum beat and memorable lines "I'm gonna get it, I'm gonna get it" "as easy as an ice cream Sunday" had the crowd nodding their heads along in appreciation and tapping their feet in time to the steady beat.
Inhaler saved their new single until the end - "It Won't Always Be Like This", which in an earlier incarnation was 540 (see 540 rehearsals on You Tube). This song sounds like Echo and The Bunnymen, U2 and a little Franz Ferdinand.  But original.  Elijah's rhythm drives it forward with Josh's guitar and the additional synth giving things extra fizz.  Add Robert's solid bass hook and Ryan's driving beat and there are the elements to some great layering.  Elijah, again sings his heart out as if every soul in the building and half the street mattered every bit. 
And then it was all over.  7 songs and 30 minutes later, I had witnessed something that I had anticipated for over a year.  And I was not disappointed.  Tight, upbeat, melodic, open and charismatic - Inhaler blazed their way through their set with an honesty and intensity that is the hallmark of that other group of Dublin lads from school exhibit show after show.

I caught up with Elijah after the show and he was down to earth and talkative, intent and listened.  The best was yet to come: I asked him what Another Like You meant, and he came up with the most Hewson of answers - that he didn't really know and it is a work in progress.

So as I headed out into the cold Liverpudlian air, after watching Touts, I knew I'd made up that from childhood I would never have been old enough to see a fledgling band of Dublin school friends play their first shows in Liverpool - including one on my Birthday - and that there is indeed a light and it has not gone out.

Setlist: The Sound, My Honest Face, End Like This, Dublin in Ecstasy, Another Like You, Ice Cream Sunday, It Won't Always Be Like This.

So much for being received on their own terms.


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Offline 73October

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Re: Gig Review: Inhaler (28 March, Liverpool)
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2019, 02:06:04 AM »
It's apparent from reading the comments under You Tube clips that they have fans all over the world...because...well you know, that whisper that's been going around.
They are their own band and just as people think U2 have gone all bland and predictable, another group of lads from Dublin come up and have captured imaginations (not hard to guess why).  For me, it makes up for missing out on the excitement of discovering U2 in the early 80's.

Offline Tortuga

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Re: Gig Review: Inhaler (28 March, Liverpool)
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2019, 05:35:36 AM »
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It's apparent from reading the comments under You Tube clips that they have fans all over the world...because...well you know, that whisper that's been going around.
They are their own band and just as people think U2 have gone all bland and predictable, another group of lads from Dublin come up and have captured imaginations (not hard to guess why).  For me, it makes up for missing out on the excitement of discovering U2 in the early 80's.

I get the enthusiasm and I think they have produced some really good songs and are probably going to entertain us for years to come.  But I also think the comparisons to U2 are overblown. Yeah there are some similarities to Bono’s early vocals but that probably comes as much as similarities between any two young male singers as much as any father son relation.  If I heard Inhaler on the radio unknown to me, I doubt very seriously I would think “hey that sounds kind of like young U2.”  I think they sound really good and that’s it.  All the comparisons to U2 kind of overshadow that and I think could undermine how good they actually are in people’s minds.  Which is kind of a shame because they really don’t sound like young U2.


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