Live Report: INHALER – Electric Ballroom, London

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INHALER’s upward spiral continues as the Irish indie rockers wrap up their ‘Cuts & Bruises’ tour with an astounding show at North London’s Electric Ballroom. A confident, high-powered show, the sold-out concert appears to mark the next chapter in the Dublin group’s career, one that could see them take over larger venues. 

Sweaty, intimate shows have served the four-piece well up to this point, but let’s face it, the anthemic nature of INHALER’s repertoire more than lends itself to venues of the more lofty kind, and the final date just happens to display the self-assured form to justify a need for such an upgrade. 

Just back from a string of North American dates, it does not take long before a fresh live zest is detected, the moment comes as soon as they take the stage, as bouncy set openers ‘These Are the Days’ and ‘We Have To Move On’ act as ignition points before the more subtle ‘Totally’ follows suit. 

The flow of energy persists throughout the gig, and never drops one bit, it’s a quality that is difficult to master, irrespective of genre or stage in an artist’s career, and what’s also clear is that their fans have not just turned up to demonstrate loyalty, they are here because they would hate to miss out. It’s a magnificent crowd expectant of entertainment, and that is exactly what they are in for.

The prominent blend of guitars and synth has roots in the ‘80s, yet this show could not percolate a more contemporary vibe, with sonics that seem designed for Saturday nights out. Frontman Eli Hewson is authentic, he’s just right for the part, shared ownership of the running order is taken, and the quartet make the rendition of each song from the 12-track setlist, plus an encore of two, look fun and easy.  

Mid-set, tender instants such as ‘Valentine’ and ‘Dublin In Ecstasy’ are more reflective, they signal introspection, while jumpy crowd pleasers ‘When It Breaks’, ‘Cheer Up Baby’ and ‘My Honest Face’ can, and will, set off a mosh pit no matter when or where they are played. As a production it ticks at least a couple of boxes, there’s enough value, without being stylised, and the lightly choreographed show looks entirely natural.

The evidence of INHALER’s high potential has been there all along, and somehow this live performance cements how much they deserve the accolades they have been getting, because they all work incredibly hard, and play even harder. There’s a lot to be said for that. 

Words: Susan Hansen
Photo Credit: Lewis Evans // @lewsvans