I first saw Fizzy Blood in April 2017 when they played 2Q Festival in Derby. The festival was located across several venues, so an organised itinerary was essential. They were playing in a unique venue, The Silk Museum, and I wanted to see them purely on the strength of their band name alone; they didn’t disappoint.
Since then, I have followed them from a distance. Watching with interest as they have increased in popularity and their confidence and music has developed steadily and consistently. From the time they formed in 2014, they have supported bands such as, Dinosaur Pile-Up, While She Sleeps and most recently, Spring King. They have already performed at numerous festivals including, Download, Reading & Leeds and SXSW. Quite an achievement for a new band.
The Leeds-based five-piece are: Benji Inkley (lead vocals and guitar), Paul Howells (guitar and vocals), Ciaran Scanlon (bass guitar), Tim Malkin (keys, guitar and vocals) and Jake Greenway (drums and percussion). Their music style has a solid rock ‘n’ roll structure but with additional intricate layers given them an edgier depth. Initially you are lulled into a false sense of security by the familiar retro sound, with catchy, singalong melodies, before been thrown off balance as each song explodes into a raucous crescendo. Their musical influences are varied, ranging from Iggy Pop and Arctic Monkeys to Frank Ocean. Heavier influences such as Queens of the Stone Age are recognisable in some of their songs, for instance, I’m No Good and Animals.
I managed to catch them at Camden Assembly, London, which concluded their short run of debut headline dates. Camden Assembly, is a bar located on the corner of Chalk Farm Road and Ferdinand Street with a live music room upstairs. It holds a capacity of 200, incorporating the best sound quality I have heard in a small venue in London, so far. Around 200 light bulbs and Fizzy Blood’s banner formed the backdrop to the compact stage. Support was from local band, Mantra and Forever Cult from Leeds.
Set List: I’m No Good, CFO, ADHD, Haunted, Patience, Queen Of Hearts, Summer of Luv, Pink Magic, Black Sheep, Pawn, Animals, January Sun.
Fizzy Blood took to the stage at 9:15 pm and set the theme for the evening starting with, what I believe to be, their most mature song, I’m No Good. An extremely infectious, melodic tune, initially with a rock ‘n’ roll sound before it changes direction and builds to a climax of heavy guitars, strong bass and pounding, dense drums. The first song in, and with all four guitarists jumping around it was evident the stage was too small to contain their energy. All members of the band used regular eye contact to engage with the crowd and encouraged them to sing louder and dance faster. Benji is a great front-man and he got the crowd involved from the start and kept their attention throughout. His vocals were outstanding especially during I’m No Good and Black Sheep. Guitarist, Paul, was captivating to watch, always smiling he engaged with the audience with bouncy, energetic jumps whilst playing guitar and contributed considerably with harmonising vocals. Paul and Ciaran fed off each other’s energy on stage. Ciaran must be one of the most energetic bass players in a band. He couldn’t keep still and moved around the stage a lot but took centre stage for a large percentage of the gig. Already well known for his highly exaggerated facial expressions, with eyes and mouth wide open and emphasised body movements. Guitarist, Tim, created balance on the opposite side of the stage, with similar jumping and backing vocals to Paul. Jake’s drumming was phenomenal, he had similar exaggerated facial expressions to Ciaran. During the song, ADHD, a mosh pit developed with a handful of loyal fans. Not surprising because the bridge in that song is colossal, you could feel it pounding through your chest. After a few lesser known but equally raucous songs such as Haunted, Patience and Queen of Hearts the mosh pit increased to the tempo of Jake’s outstanding drumming to Summer of Luv. Singer, Benji, then informed the crowd of a new song, Pink Magic, while he hinted it could be their next single. Paul and Tim sang the harmonies which complimented Benji’s vocals and it was an instant hit with the audience. Next up was Black Sheep, which I personally had been looking forward to hearing live because I think it’s one of the songs that promotes Benji’s vocal range and I love the lyrics. “A dance with the devil and a chance to tell the tale, prescriptions from physicians will keep him on the rail. A worthless piece of shrapnel, among a murder of crows, keeping his enemy close”. A steady, thumping, progressive song but at the same time quite dark, menacing and moody. The atmosphere increased to the intro of Pawn, a much more punkier song and fast-paced throughout. Highly charged with its theme of frustration towards the music industry. Consequently, the mosh pit increased in size and velocity. Animals was next, a real crowd-pleaser with dedicated fans singing the lyrics back to the stage. Starting with a heavy bass-line, the song builds to a huge bridge which escalates to an aggressive climax. Their encore was January Sun, initially melodic with catchy lyrics, the fans knew all the words. Benji asked the eager crowd to crouch down as Ciaran and Jake continued to play bass and drums and Tim turned his microphone towards the fans. Benji then instructed the audience “You know when it fucking kicks in!” Everyone remained crouching while they sang “Dead, your body’s in my head, one-hundred needles to a thread, it’s just a game, always ends the same.” The crowd and band then simultaneously jumped into the air as they screamed back “A.M. the night has come and gone again, just like an old forgotten friend, no time for me, doing as we please”. Immense drumming and a manic frenzy of guitars concluded the song. A perfect finish to a fast-paced, relentless and energetic one-hour set.
We wait with great anticipation for Fizzy Blood’s debut album, but in the meantime, you can purchase their 2 EPs, Feast (released in 2015) and Summer of Luv (released in 2017) from their online store Fizzy Blood Official Store. The band have recently been given some well-deserved airplay on Huw Stephens – BBC Introducing. Their most recent song, ADHD, was written to describe guitarist, Paul’s experience of being diagnosed with attention deficit hyper-activity disorder when he was 21. The accompanying video features an unusual 360O virtual reality music feature (see link below).
This band, more than any other that I have seen recently, need to be awarded with the recognition they so rightly deserve. I hope all their hard work and dedication pays off, because it would be brilliant to see Fizzy Blood evolve over time and become much more successful.
Fizzy Blood Twitter Page
ADHD 360 degree video
Fizzy Blood – ADHD video:
Fizzy Blood – January Sun video:
Until the next adventure…