The Blizzards’ live reputation precedes them. Having won consecutive Meteor Awards for their stage-front showings at Oxegen in 2007 and 2008, they already have the Roisin Dubh crowd swinging from the rafters when State arrives, despite it being a full half an hour prior to the band actually stepping on stage. There’s plenty of buzz about openers Ever27 (who we managed to miss whilst pre-drinking) going about, too. Rumour has it they played a stormer.
Lead singer Niall has evidently been indulging over the past week, and greets his crowd with the words ‘You’re going to help us get through this one. Red Bull only works for so long’. He might be feeling lackluster, but it certainly isn’t showing: down the front a predominantly female audience are pogoing along from the very first note, and Niall, Justin and Co. are doing an remarkable impression of a band who aren’t hungover as hell after their Guinness gig exploits.
A host of tracks from debut A Public Display of Affection are given an airing tonight, including a pulsating -Fantasy’, a lively -Superdrug’ and a heartfelt, slow rendition of -Why Do You Fancy Scumbags?’, dedicated to ‘girls who date knackers – seriously girls, don’t date pricks, okay?’. All are as animated as word of mouth has led us to expect, with drummer Dec bashing away frantically at the back, and keyboard player Lynchie playing with one arm aimed at the stars and egging on a frenetic crowd.
A moment of pure class comes with the band’s insistence that they have to prepare for various friends weddings. ‘Don’t worry, we’re not playing Phil Collins’ Niall quips. Maybe not, but it’s not far off. The Blizzards welcome their tour manager on to the stage to sing some staggeringly impressive vocals on a power pop cover of Huey Lewis’ post-matrimonial classic -The Power of Love’. He’s back in the encore for an equally seductive wedding-related follow up, singing in a playful, jazz-infused voice that warrants far more stage time. The band should seriously consider signing him up as a support act.
Yes, at times it is unrelentingly cheesy, but The Blizzards play with such pounding energy and press their crowd’s buttons to such an extent we have no trouble forgiving them. Newer singles -The Reason’, -Postcards’ and -Trust Me, I’m A Doctor’ (the latter greeted by a bouncing riot down the front) all fly by in a beer-flinging blaze of glory, and State can’t help being drawn in to the exultant frenzy. ‘4 minutes 20 seconds to go’ Niall shouts pre-encore, before Roisin is treated to the loudest rendition of ‘One more tune’ it’s heard in some time. The Blizzards dutifully oblige, and we head home grinning from ear to ear.