Inhaler put on a live show full of indie-rock anthems that proved to captivate their fans, Music Editor Sammy Andrews writes

MA Shakespeare Studies student
Images by Chuff Media

Inhaler are a band that I have always heard a bit of a buzz about, but have never quite payed much attention to until the release of their debut album this year. It Won’t Always Be Like This reached Number One in the UK charts, and was a really exciting statement of Inhaler’s anthemic indie rock band status. Their show at the Birmingham O2 Institute saw them come out to prove this statement in full force.

Opening acts Dylan Fraser and Wet Leg set the excited atmosphere for the night. I particularly loved Wet Leg, and ‘Chaise Lounge’ was such a fun guitar track that made them a really memorable band for me.

The entire crowd were in the palm of their hands

As Inhaler walked on stage and the opening chords of ‘It Won’t Always Be Like This’ played, the entire crowd were in the palm of their hands. Every person was shouting the chorus: ‘You’re in my head / It won’t always be like this, be like this / Again, honey, I’ll be dead / It won’t always be like this’ back to the band. This was something that their anthemic sound leaned into nicely for their live set, with their guitars and lead singer Elijah Hewson’s vocals piercing out. Songs like this and ‘My King Will Be Kind’ really shone for the elevation that the energy in the venue gave them.

Front-man Hewson clearly thrived off of the crowd’s excitement, entering the crowd to perform the final chorus of ‘We Have to Move On.’ This was a show built for the fans, and they absolutely loved it.  Clear fan-favourites such as ‘Ice Cream Sundae’ and ‘Falling in’ were included in the set quite early on and were met with huge levels of excitement. It did however mean that it became quite easy for the set to mellow into a mesh of indie anthems, and at times I do think that it could have benefitted from a bit of variety.

For example, my personal highlight of the night was the performance of ‘Who’s Your Money On (Plastic House.)’  With a slightly groovier sound as opposed to a belting indie-rock anthem, this song really stood out for me live, especially within such an energetic set. It enabled each member of the band to show off their musical skill, as well as their tightness as a group. But it also served as a lot of fun in a live setting. The funkier guitars are a sound that stand out and I really hope that they lean into this.

It enabled each member of the band to show off their musical skill, as well as their tightness as a group

This is not to say that their anthemic moments were not special within themselves. ‘Cheer Up Baby’ has always been a favourite of mine since I first heard it, and it was so much fun to hear live. The opening guitar riff sent the crowd wild, and as the chorus burst open the song elevated itself beyond its studio recording.

Inhaler closed the night with one of their early singles ‘My Honest Face.’ This was the perfect end to a night full of energy. The opening gritty guitar hook filled the venue and the chance for fans to shout the lyrics ‘it’s just a certain culture when you’re young’ felt extremely cathartic. Singles such as this and ‘Cheer Up Baby’ really elevated the show and closing on such a moment felt like a final bold statement of passion from the band.

Overall, Inhaler’s live show was an affirmation of their status in the indie-rock scene. With a set full of anthems, Inhaler proved to keep fans excited and keep energy levels high. Whilst at times this for me became a little familiar, I cannot fault the tightness they held as a band, and when it worked, it really worked for them. They had their fans in the palm of their hands, and after a year and a half without live music, that is one of the best things you could ask for from a live show.

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