The Patriot had an eclectic mix of bands on Saturday. With a continental flavour provided by the headliners, Danish quintet Statement (which you can read about here), Cardiff-based Beth Blade and the Beautiful Disasters and Blind River combined to level the venue.
Beth Blade and the Beautiful Disasters – Blind River
The Patriot, Crumlin – 18 March 2023
Words and Photography: Paul Hutchings
Beth Blade and the Beautiful Disasters
They may have had the shortest distance to travel, but Cardiff-based Beth Blade and the Beautiful Disasters aren’t here to make up numbers. The quartet are intent on levelling the venue with their powerful combination of feisty hard rock numbers bristling with energy and fire.
They start hard with Tonight, I’m With You from their most recent record, Mythos, Confessions, Tragedies and Love. This is a band who have earned their stripes through years of endless touring, and they demonstrate their quality with a thumping hour of honest hard rock.
It’s Beth who is the driving force, her dynamic approach, confidence in her ability and overall likeableness that wins the day. If you’ve not seen them before, it’s something I’d highly recommend rectifying, for they are not only enjoyable but pack a few real hard hitters within the catalogue that they roll out.
Wisely, until the later Halestorm cover, BBATBD stick to the riff fuelled driving songs that see several members of the crowd sloshing beer about, such is their excitement and engagement with the music.
We are also treated to an AC/DC cover in tribute to the assembled MCs. It goes down well, with Beth sliding onto her knees during Down And Dirty, before the band raise the roof one more time with the Lemmy dedication for closing track, Jack and Coke.
Whilst the rest of the band may be less animated, Beth Blade is one powerful lady – watch out, this is a band that are slowly building momentum.
I’m a huge unashamed fan of Blind River. I’ve followed the band for several years, ever since they blew me away with a weekend stealing show at HRH in Pwllheli on the small stage that also featured a band called Those Damn Crows (I wonder what ever happened to them!!). I’ve seen them at Bloodstock Open Air, in seated shows during the pandemic, and at The Patriot on their previous appearances. They are simply untouchable live.
Well, whatever I’d experienced before paled into insignificance because, for 75 minutes, Blind River cast a hard rock spell over The Patriot, which saw the entire venue entranced. They’ve got Mark Sharpless on the drum stool, replacing the beast that was Andrew Esson. Mark doesn’t show any fear and nails every song with a casual ease that is highly impressive.
The band signal the start, crashing into Going Nowhere and explode. There is hair flying everywhere, guitarists Dan Edwards and Chris Charles crisscross the stage, leads tangling on many occasions as they shred for fun. Meanwhile, bassist Will Hughes, as always topless and barefooted, is a swirling mass of hair, beard and sweat, pumping out that rhythm which drives the band forward. There’s humour as well, mind, with their set list scribbled on some paper plates!
And then there’s Harry. Ah, Harry Armstrong, the frontman with the biggest voice and heart in the British hard rock scene. He’s in effusive mood tonight. The Orange Goblin bassist is beaming with praise and thanks for the evening.
He’s ideal for this type of gig. Honest, dirty, down to earth. He thanks the venue and the fans and urges us all to keep live music alive by supporting local venues and small bands. It’s heartfelt, and you can’t help but nod along in agreement. This is what we want.
The band have just completed recording their third album, Skeleton Thief, which is due out on 25 May. They treat us to several new songs, including the drenching groove of Snake Oil, the earworm that is Second Hand Soul and Punk Starter. They sound brilliant, and I’m not the only one in the room excited by this news.
As their set powers by, we are suddenly confronted by the final two songs. Blind River already has anthems in their catalogue, and Freedom Dealer and Can’t Sleep Sober are two of the best. They are dispatched with the style and swagger that only this fabulous band can deliver.
It’s a stunning set, with enough energy to power the venue for a month. One can only hope that Blind River are back again soon. An absolute must-see, this was one of the sets of 2023.